Over the past several months, the sign language interpreter at my church has remained constant. This is a change from the multiple intermittent interpreters that have sat in the chair next to the stage that I’ve gotten used to. Now there is one man, every week, and we sit on his side of the main worship center.
My eye is drawn to him every week. During worship, the sermon, the announcements.
He’s good. He’s expressive. He’s passionate. He smiles and scowls and makes all the right facial expressions for sarcasm and candor and encouragement. He’s probably a believer; at least I would assume that to come to a church every week with the direct intention of translating emotional, exhorting, passionate speech into authentic American Sign Language that people believe, one would be much more effective if they believed it themselves.
I used to work as a relay agent in a Communication Services for the Deaf (CSD) call center, translating voice calls into teletype devices and vice versa. Part of the gig is promising that you will authentically translate tone and emotion. This means I had to describe how the speaking person sounded to the deaf person with text, and relay with my words anger, happiness, boredom, sarcasm, etc. within the context of the conversation.
As you can imagine, these FCC-protected conversations could get interesting. I remember all sorts of calls happening around me… some that were extremely awkward… […]