Tuesday, June 19, 2012

When You Jump Off from The Point

I used to wonder if interpreters always interpret what I say  the way I want to. Mostly, they do really well and sometimes they make great sentences from my loose signs. But today in one of my classes there was a discussion and I was commenting. I wanted to say “Because of today’s economic globalization ,  cultures are spreading and people are becoming more accepting of other cultures”. But the interpreter interpreted as “In the summer people tend to be accepting of any culture and interact with people all over.”  The interpreter mistook my sign "because" for  "summer". Then there was a little silence in the class, because the professor’s question was not about summer. The professor repeated his questions, and I repeated my answer trying to clarify.

Sometimes I feel embarrassed when I make comments that are unrelated to what we were talking about. Have you ever experienced with that? This is part of having communication issues. In fact, it takes a lot of energy to keep following a conversation in academic classes. While hearing people can just listen what is going on when they are setting on their chairs comfortably, the deaf have to pay more attention to catch a conversation. They have to get their eyes and brain on alert. If you are deaf who uses interpreters for classroom you probably have noticed that you pay more attention like a soldier in a front line when there are interesting discussions, and you wanted to participate.

I wonder if  interpreters have to say always what they think  deaf is saying even if it is off the point. What I mean  sometimes deaf students in classes try to comment, and it is possible that they make a comment which is not relevant to the current discussion. Because they may misunderstand what the discussion was about. I noticed, it is not easy to follow when there are so many people commenting on a topic. I remember couple of times that I jumped off from the point, but always interpreters understood.  And sometimes, they asked me what I was talking about before they voiced it.

I totally understand that interpreters are human, and it is not their fault if they misinterpret sentences like my above sentence. Interpreting is not an easy job. I am not posting this to blame interpreters or make them guilty when they misunderstand. I am just sharing my experience. I always have gratitude and respect for interpreters because they are the ones that make us break communication barriers. They are the one that make possible for deaf student like me to have their voice heard in their classes and succeed academically.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Fun Deaf Festival at Rochester

Today I went to Rochester Deaf Festival at Ellison Park in Rochester, New York. It was  first time that I attend kind of that festival since I moved to Rochester  last year. Thousand of deaf  people came to the festival. Pride and smile of their face could have been noticed.

I was volunteering at the festival and most of the time I spent helping people to find parking. It was interesting to see the facial expressions of some hearing people who came to the park for other events. When some of them were trying to find parking and I signed “ do you need to find parking?” some of them were like huh? what the heck is he  saying?!. Sometimes those who were very frustrated  would try to talk to me hurriedly, and when I don't understand them well and ask them to repeat, They would just drive away . They did not realize that today was Deaf festival. They must have got amused by  seeing thousand of Deaf people at the park..

Rochester is famous for its deaf culture present. in Rochester, you could find deaf culture everywhere. You might find someone who can communicate with you  with American sign language everywhere such as: restaurants, fast food and even car repair shops. I remember the other day I was getting oil change at Volvo Line and there was a guy who knew sign language. He helped me understand well when I could not understand what other guys were saying. 

Me with Matt Hamill

The festival organizers did great job. The traffic flow was well organized and everything went so smoothly.  The committee worked tireless making sure that everything went well.The vendors and other exhibitors had good booths. Matt Hamilon was there. He gave a good speech and shared his experience.. Some deaf comedian played a great play; lots of laughs!.I think having this kind of festival is great way to show deaf culture pride. I hope next festival, there would be thousands more people coming to the festival.