Back to School for Interpreters


Classes started last week here at Ohio State. I am in a unique position this semester: I am teaching a course and I have a student who is Deaf, which means I’m on the other side of the interpreting process. Of course, the advantage is that the student can talk directly to their instructor – me – which has the potential of making it a better experience for this person. And yeah, I love it, too. One day perhaps I’ll ask the interpreters to voice for me and I’ll sign the lecture.

I have also been thinking about the thousands of ITP students across the U.S. who are starting out on a journey of becoming an interpreter. My thoughts were reinforced the other day when I had a conversation with a terrific colleague who teaches at an ITP. She reminded me of the opportunities and challenges of teaching. Training future interpreters is an invaluable contribution to the world, and everyone who spends their energy on such a mission deserves praise. Equally valuable are the many students who invest time in developing a hard-to-teach and hard-to-learn skill like interpreting. With all the negativity out there in the field, perhaps we need to thank our teachers and students.

Thanks, teachers. Thanks, students.

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