2019 Preview

Here are some of my resolutions and plans for 2019:

This evening I started teaching my beginning course of American Sign Language, ASL I or SLG101 as they call it at Paradise Valley Community College. After teaching at the Maricopa Community Colleges during the day for the past five-and-a-half years, I am finally teaching an evening class. It will be interesting to see how it goes. One benefit will be that it will not interfere with my interpreting schedule. One change I notice is that I do not have as many concurrently enrolled high school students as I get during the day; I have a few of them, though, and the rest are very young, with one or two exceptions. I am looking forward to teaching this course through May. I do not know whether I will be teaching an ASL II course this summer to immediately follow through with my ASL I students or I will be teaching both ASL I and ASL II next fall. Usually we teach ASL I in the fall and ASL II in the spring, but my division chair wanted me to teach an ASL I class in the spring, and it is just about full! Obviously students don’t care whether it’s the fall or the spring; they just want to start learning ASL. I look forward to another good year of teaching in 2019.

I plan to continue giving workshops in 2019, including all the workshops I have taught before plus a new workshop I have developed to introduce people to trilingual (English-Spanish-ASL) interpreting and the special demands of interpreting in Spanish-influenced settings. My goal is to educate those who are in charge of hiring interpreters for these settings as well as interpreters who already work in these settings or are interested in doing so. Having done a fair amount of bilingual interpreting with Spanish-English interpreting partners as well as trilingual interpreting on my own and with other trilingual partners — and having attended the trilingual interpreting track at a conference last year — I feel ready to share what I have learned with those who can serve our Deaf clients, their Spanish-speaking loved ones, and the English-speaking people they communicate with.

In terms of trilingual interpreting, I will retake the Test of Spanish Proficiency and, if I pass it (which I think I will), the Trilingual Interpreting Exam. I believe I might actually pass it after one or two tries this year. Wish me success! (I would say luck, but it’s really all about hard work.)

On the friendship front, I am so happy to say that I met a guy at the end of 2018 who I have gone out with several times over the last three weeks. It is new and exciting, and although a long-distance Spanish conversation partner of mine told me not to get my hopes up, I told him I am going to enjoy this moment. I know that not all relationships last, but I also know that all we have is the present. There are never any guarantees that our loved ones will be with us in the future; they could die at any moment or leave us for unforeseen reasons. For instance, I know our old dog will die in the not-too-distant future, and it grieves me to think about it, but I shut it out of my mind and enjoy every sweet moment with her while she is still with us. I will likewise enjoy every fine moment with a friend, come what may.

Travel will come later this year with a South American cruise. We booked today, and will be joined by our dear friends from Quebec. Aside from the cruise we met on, it will be our first cruise together; actually it will be the first cruise we’ve ever taken with friends. I am sure we will not always want to do the same things for two weeks on end, but I look forward to all the good times we will share.

As far as resolutions are concerned, I would have to say that something I resolved to do last year, say less and mean more, is a continuous goal. I will also continue to work on being a good friend and having a good friend (or a few good friends).

Thank you for reading, and I wish you the best possible 2019.

2018 Review

Overall

I would have to say 2018 was a good year! I stayed busy as an interpreter and teacher, continued to branch out into more legal and trilingual interpreting, enjoyed entertainment, rest and recreation, and did some wonderful traveling. My health and that of my loved ones was not bad, and no one in my family died. Yay! I continued to work on making my fives look nothing like sixes, and I put myself out there a bit more in search of friendship— an important endeavor I will write about in another post.

Teaching

I taught several interpreting workshops locally and one in South Dakota, and I taught several ASL classes at local community colleges, including an ASL II course I designed online. Teaching is gratifying, and my students seem to enjoy learning from with me.

Trilingual Interpreting

My trilingual interpreting is improving and increasing slowly but surely. I made a business trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico to attend all the workshops of the trilingual track at the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Region IV conference. I also made a business trip to Austin, Texas to take the Board of Examination of Interpreters (BEI) Test of Spanish Proficiency (TSP) and Trilingual Interpreter Performance Test. Oddly enough, although I earned an 87% on the practice test in the TSP study guide, I only earned a 65% on the actual test. You need to earn a 68% (which I thought was a low bar) to take the performance test, so I wasn’t able to move on. I have heard that even native Spanish speakers have failed the TSP, but I have been unable to get the BEI to tell me what the pass rate for the TSP is. The most recent data published on the BEI Testing Pass-Fail Rates page (2014) shows that only 60% of test takers passed the Test of English Proficiency (TEP), so unless 40% were non-native English speakers, which I doubt, the indication is that even native English speakers are unable to pass the BEI language proficiency test. Hm…

Regardless of how long it is taking for me to master it, I continue to practice Spanish three hours a day, listening to music and commentary on the radio, listening to Duolingo Podcasts, Radio Ambulante Podcasts, News in Slow Spanish, and Audible audiobooks such as Cuando Era Puertoriqueña by Esmeralda Santiago and Cien Años de Soledad by Gabriel García Márquez. The most recent learning tool I have discovered is the Busuu app. I highly recommend it! I like it much better than Duolingo, whose premium subscription I let lapse in favor of a premium subscription to Busuu. I have learned much more from Busuu and feel confident that I could pass the TSP now. My current CEFRL level is between B2 and C1, depending on what online test I take on what day. The highest level is C2, so I am approaching proficiency. My Spanish-speaking, English-learning conversation partners around the world, with whom I speak through HelloTalk and WhatsApp, give me excellent opportunities to practice speaking and listening in conversation. Everywhere I go, I speak Spanish with anyone who will speak it with me.

I continue to serve as the webmaster for Mano a Mano, and am proud of the improvements I have made to the website, including making it mobile friendly and more bilingual. I made sure the domain name and social media account names were all the same, manoamanoinc. I am gratified to see how it has come along. I have helped on the bylaws committee as well, and have been attending meetings even though I am not a voting officer.

Legal Interpreting

In 2018 the agency I work for, Arizona Freelance Interpreting Services, kept me pretty busy with legal interpreting work, sending me to interpret in courts throughout the greater metropolitan Phoenix area as well as in other towns throughout Arizona. In addition to interpreting in courts, I interpreted in jails, police precincts, and legal offices. My legal interpreting mentor who lives in Austin is always very helpful and excited to talk with me about legal interpreting. I finally met her in person when I went to Austin to take my BEI Court Interpreter Performance Test (in addition to the TSP and trilingual tests). I felt I did well on the performance test, but I have still not received the results after waiting for five months. I hope I get them soon and find out I passed!

Rest and Recreation (R & R)

Recreation was equally as much of an accomplishment in 2018. I spent at least two hours a day on the loveseat with my husband and pets watching TV, which gives me a break from doing, is very entertaining, and is quality time that we all need. If we don’t spend time with the pets, they become restless and come to us like, “Why aren’t we cuddling on the couch? I need to be with you!” It is also exciting that we live in a time of so much great television on the networks and streaming services. We walked the dogs every day, and I excercised fairly regularly by walking and dancing— mostly salsa alone at home, but recently on a cruise!

Traveling was also very fulfilling in 2018. We went to weeklong visit in Quebec, hosted by good friends for a whole week in October, and took a weeklong Mexican Riviera cruise in December. We also took day trips, such as to Sedona in March and Queen Creek in September. We made several trips to local museums and went hiking on a couple of nearby mountains as well as on Mont Orford in Quebec and along Rio Pitillal in Puerto Vallarta.

The World

Without getting into politics, let me just say that I was able to sing the following Christmas carol with more hope this year:

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong will fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

—”I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”, words by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow