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From:  Cecelia Smith
Date:  Fri Jan 8, 1999  3:29 am
Subject:  Re: Interpreting

Hello Dana;

I am not the person that wrote you, but I want to add my two cents. I am a
certified interpreter but currently not working in the field while I pursue my
degree in Linguistics.

Interpreting is a very hard field. It is stressful, and full of tension, and
lots of times you will wonder why the hell you are doing it. This is true of
just about any real career worth having. Why? Because life gets in the way.

Having said that... I would like to say that being an interpreter is one of
the most rewarding and enjoyable professions going. It is fun, ever changing,
and constantly challenging. I think it is a blast and am glad I have pursued
this field.

The trick to it is... you not only have to be VERY good at the language... not
just conversational, but fluent, but on top of that, you have to be trained in
interpreting. Just being able to sign fluently is NOT enough. I know many
very fluent signers who can't interpret worth anything. They do not have the
skills. Moving quickly and "effortlessly" between two languages and
cultures requires a special set of skills and talent that are not innate. And
for us Sign Language Interpreters, we are going between two languages, two
cultures, and two modes of communication.

The closest analogy I have would be a spoken language interpreter that can
listen to French and simultaneously write in Japanese. (and write
grammatically and culturally correct Japanese!)

Its hard, but rewarding work. You won't get rich from it, and you wont get
famous. Depending on where you live, you may find it hard to pay rent or you
might live fairly well.

Your best avenue for advice is to contact the Deaf community in your area...
find out who or where the interpreter referral system is (if there is one) and
talk to some interpreters. Find out where there is an ITP (Interpreter
Training Program) in your area or state, and see what they require.

We always need new interpreters, and in my opinion, the more of us there are
that know about and support SignWriting, the better!

Good luck
Cecelia Smith

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