I had a great day working today. My teammate was (is!) awesome. 🙂 We had the best conversation at lunch, about her workshop on discretion (which gets as much of a plug as I can give it), and a quasi-update on where I am with the research on role.
Our conversation was fascinating because it was going along just fine, full of investigatory questions and comments, and then it got tense! Why? It was right before we had to get back to work…..and then didn’t come up again….but was really on my mind. Why? Was I presenting my hypotheses and tentative findings in an ethnocentric or oppressive way? It worked out that we walked to our cars together, and the moment arose for me to ask if she’d felt the conversation get tense. (Maybe it was just me?) Yes, she had noticed! And she thought it was about something she was doing! Being too questioning or too …. something (I can’t recall her word – persistent, maybe).
Fascinating! We both sensed the tension, and both of us thought we were the cause of it! I thought I must be doing something “wrong,” and she thought she must have been doing something “wrong”!
Hmmm. That really got me thinking. I have a partial/quasi/VERY tentative hypothesis – that it wasn’t about “us” as individual persons at all (although we don’t know each other well even though we’ve known OF each other ever since I moved to VT….twelve years ago) – but rather, about the discourses each of us was invoking/enacting. Really, I am just plumb guessing, but as we “de-briefed” the tension, what seemed to be the point of most affect was (what I can only describe as) a “contest” between the current/contemporary most “fashionable” discourse about the interpreter’s “role(s)” (term used advisedly) and responsibilities, and a …. oy, how to characterize this ….
A “new” discourse that seeks to question some of the hitherto unquestioned assumptions about the interpreter’s role. Such as whether or not the reproduction of a “monocultural” environment for Deaf interlocutors is really “the best” or most ideal Vision for what we ought to produce.
AND – this is the key (I think!), it didn’t seem to be the whole discourse or even the specific question itself (might a bicultural model of/for interpreting be a more appropriate and/or effective model than the monocultural one?) but the fact that there’s no answer for what this “alternative” might look and feel like!
I think what this means (based on my huge sample of one, grin) is that it is the unknown itself that is scary (and not the notion that maybe the current “ally/cultural mediator” model isn’t the full or ultimate answer).
Gosh. I’d LOVE it if my team would like to respond (!) and of course if anyone else wants to chime in…..