Interpreting in Today's World

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Have you seen President Biden's interpreter? She is deaf! She is watching a hearing interpreter off camera who is using standard signs and/or a more English-style of signing and then converting that into a form of American Sign Language (ASL) which is so unclear as to be understood by very few deaf individuals. Nevertheless, this interpreting arrangement appears to be the current accepted procedure.

As I understand it, the deaf leaders of today have convinced interpreters and deaf service agencies to adhere to the following policy. When a deaf client asks for an interpreter, before service is provided, both a hearing and a deaf interpreter must be summoned. The deaf interpreter will first do an assessment and then decide whether or not the client would understand better using a deaf interpreter. In effect, the authority to make that decision is transferred to a third party who stands to gain employment by requiring his own services. Isn’t that a conflict of interest?

In any case, the current atmosphere seems to be one of distrusting both the deaf client, himself, and his hearing interpreter to decide whether or not a deaf interpreter is needed or necessary.

Does this make sense to you?