Wednesday, April 20th, 2016
Sometimes my mind likes to play tricks on me. When I think I am ready and prepared to do something it seems as if my mind is constantly seconding guessing itself. Then in return I start to wonder if I am truly capable of doing the assigned task. I know I’m not alone. I’m sure this has happened quite often to new interpreters just getting their feet wet in the interpreting field.
In moments like these I am reminded of two things: ‘Be the Duck’ often said to me by my college professors and ‘Calm Down’ often said to me by God.
In most programs interpreting professors use the phrase ‘Be the Duck’. A duck swimming in a pond seems calm, serene, and peaceful; however, underneath the water the duck is paddling like crazy to stay afloat. On the outside I am supposed to act in a calm and professional manner, but on the inside I’m constantly worrying about if I will be able to correctly relay the information at hand. When that happens I turn towards God and ask for peace. In return He tells me to calm down.
My experience as an intern interpreter this past weekend at a Christian women’s retreat was a test of both facets of the duck. Calm, cool and collected on the outside, while fervently paddling in my mind to keep up with what I needed to interpret. Entering the women’s retreat I was excited to see what was in store for me throughout the weekend. I went through the rituals of interpreting a getting to know you activity, the message, and even some songs. However, the most eventful experience was interpreting for deaf participants at the high ropes course.
I was excited and terrified all at the same time. This was not a small task because the interpretation could mean life or death. And here it was, all in my hands. What if I missed a few key points? I knew my mentor, standing in the crowd of participants, would be there to assist, but she was there take on the high ropes course. I knew that the interpretation was in my hands. I reminded myself ‘Be the Duck” and to ‘Calm Down”. I gave my best interpretation. I even provided a picture of my work.
As the trainer began explaining the correct way to handle the safety clips, the harness and how to interact with the high ropes, I believe I provided a conceptually accurate interpretation. The participants walked up to the practice portion of the course to make sure they could successfully insert the key into the clip which was attached to their belt and then onto the cable. As my heart was racing I stood from afar to watch and wait to see if they needed my assistance. I realized they didn’t need my assistance at all! A peaceful easy feeling settled over me as I realized that I had accurately conveyed all of the information conveyed by the instructor.
No matter what type of information comes my way, I remember ‘Be the Duck’ but more importantly to do what God as always told me…#CalmDown. I can do this.
My tip to new interpreters is to have faith in yourself. Mentally prepare yourself to know that you WILL do a good job. If you set yourself up to fail then you will. If you set yourself up to succeed then you will!