It wasn’t anything like that Christmas performance The Plastics put on for their school’s talent concert, mind you. But we were a lot more awesome!
Since I started university, I’ve always had a posse. Me and my group of Auslan interpreters. I’ve had a posse since Day 1…starting at the University of Southern Queensland. How they managed to find 3 interpreters (albeit one not accredited by NAATI – now that’s another story) in the small town of Toowoomba, I’ll never know.
Students and teaching staff quickly figured out if the interpreters weren’t in the room, that meant I wouldn’t be attending. It’s funny when you think about it. Students have commented how entertaining interpreters are – they pay more attention when there are interpreters! Heck, if a lecture consisted of sexual and inappropriate words, everyone would pay 100% attention to interpreters and try to pick up on “dirty” signs.
Throughout my undergraduate (and one postgrad semester) career, I’ve worked with numerous interpreters. They come from all walks of life. They came with varying life experiences. They made my university experience a lot better.
They’ve seen me succeed and fail. They’ve seen me fuck up. They’ve seen me make a fool out of myself. They’ve seen emotions coursing through my facial expressions and signing. They’ve gotten to know the real me. They’ve invited me into their lives. They’ve loved me. They’ve hated me. They’ve laughed at and/or with me. They’ve shared their stories with me. They’ve shared their wisdom with me.
I’ve shared my life with them. I’ve trusted them with my whole life. I’ve put them into sugar comas. I’ve made them angry. I’ve made them laugh. I teased them. I smiled at them. I encouraged them. I told them not to worry if they were doing a shitty job because I still understood them. I’ve held their babies. I’ve swapped books with them. I’ve partied with them. I’ve graduated with them.
When you work with interpreters for so long, they become a huge part of your life and you cannot imagine living your life without them.
Now that I’m an off-campus student…it feels so weird. Instead of Auslan interpreters, I now have a posse of captioners. I don’t know what they look like. I don’t know their life stories. I don’t know if they’re a hippie or a bogan. I don’t know if they’re young or old. All I know is that they’re sitting in front of their computer screens, wearing a headset and listening to the lecturer so they can live caption for me.
Don’t get me wrong. I think they’re awesome, especially for giving up their nights to caption online tutorials and I’ll be forever grateful.
Without interpreters, I feel naked. I’ve become too attached to my interpreters…is that worrying? I think I should be worried, but then again, I’m Deaf and I need interpreters! Haha.
The other night, I was typing my answer during an online tutorial…and I had the whole answer mapped out in my head, but I felt stuck. I wanted to sign it out, but alas, no interpreter so I had this daunting task of translating it into English and hoped everyone would understand what I was talking about. Lucky for me, they did…but it wasn’t the same, you know?
You see Kermit up there? Yeah, I’d be like that and my interpreters would understand exactly what I was talking about
When you’re a student at TAFE, college or university, be grateful you have your own posse, be it of interpreters or captioners. They’ll become a huge part of your life before you realise it.
It beats being Regina George and The Plastics. Heck, we would be able to pull off that hole in shirts prank a lot better…!
Over and out,