Since I think the ways we talk about things have a great deal to do with dynamics, I was fascinated by some of the anecdotes and jokes about certain terms. For instance:
RSC – originally known as the “reverse skills certificate” was renamed the “relay skills certificate” at least partially because RID wanted to maintain the same initials. (Thanks to Betty Colonomos for sharing this historicial tidbit with us.) Eileen made a joke about driving in reverse as an example of the kind of metaphor, or implied meaning, might have been “hidden” in the original term. (Now the certification for Deaf persons who are trained as interpreters is CDI – Certified Deaf Interpreter, which Betty also let us know has its problems: the linguistic construction in English indicates that it is the “deafness” that is being “certified”; not the interpretation skills!) Betty suggested, when one is trying to explain to hearing interlocutors why a Deaf interpreter is needed, describing them as a “specialist.”

Non-language specific mediation – Wow. This one blew my mind. Eileen used this as a way to talk about people that are often (usually?) described as having “minimal language skills” or “low verbal” skills. What a great way to get around the oppressive stereotypes that MLS or LV tends to signify! In the Discussion part of the workshop at the end someone asked Eileen about the term, and I think she said she got it from someone else but I missed who it was. 🙁 Anyway, she suggested a way of the interpreter taking responsibility for the sometimes lengthy interactions that are necessary to ensure understanding is to say something like, “I don’t know their dialect.” 🙂 I really like that. It conveys authority (I know the language, but there are some variations I’m not familiar with), and it doesn’t demean the deaf interlocutor at all.
Models of Interpreting: I noticed that Eileen added a qualifier to her list of the chronological list of models for hearing interpreters and models for Deaf interpreters. She called them “service models.” I don’t remember that emphasis before:maybe it’s always been there and I just didn’t notice? I think there are some implications that it might be useful to identify. Anyway, the last one on the list was “Ally,” and this one is going to get it’s own post! Someone asked for an example, and Eileen said, “I’m not prepared to discuss this now.” We did, though, a little. 🙂

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