I pose the question respectfully. I understand that not all Deaf people think interpreting is easy, but I know several Deaf people who never realized how hard interpreting was until they tried to do it themselves. Case in point, a Deaf colleague of mine recently wrote:
I remember attending a CDI [Certified Deaf Interpreter] workshop with several Deaf participants. After several interpreting exercises, most Deaf participants arrived at a realization – that interpreting is not easy…
I have heard this time and again, and for this reason, I wish all Deaf consumers of interpreting services took a Deaf interpreter workshop! (Unrealistic as that wish might be.) I thought about saying “all consumers” (Deaf and Hearing), but I’ll tell you why I didn’t. It seems to me that most Hearing consumers think interpreting is hard because they see us doing something they are mystified by— signing. Yes, they hear us speaking their spoken language when we interpret from signed language, but even then I believe they think it must be hard to understand “that sign language.” I also have had more Hearing than Deaf consumers say with doubt, “I don’t know how you’re going to interpret that.” Deaf consumers, however, live in a world full of Hearing people, and they know what spoken and written language is capable of. Almost all Deaf people are bilingual—and some Deaf people are more literate than their Hearing counterparts—so to Deaf people, spoken language is not as mystifying as signed language is to Hearing people. I think that might be why Deaf people would think interpreting is easy. What do you think of my theory?
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