learning on the job

I was asked to fill in for one of the regular interpreters this week, which was really amazing and humbling for me since I have much less experience than they do. I still mostly only signed the songs, but I signed all of them rather than having someone else take over for me at any point.

I also learned from the interpreter who was at the service about a very important part of the job. The past few weeks I had been relying on something I have seen other interpreters do, looking to their partner for the sign for an unfamiliar word or concept. I learned today that this is a technique known as ‘feeding’ and that it is one even highly experienced interpreters use.

The interpreter I was talking to, Pamela, said that this was one of the first techniques she learned in her interpreting classes, and that it is extremely helpful for beginning learners like me. That made me much less shy about looking to her for help when I didn’t know a word, and I learned several new signs today.

It’s nice to be reminded that interpreting isn’t a solo effort and I don’t have to go it alone, especially while i am still do inexperienced. Working with professionals is definitely helping me hone my skills and the regular practice encourages me to keep learning at a steady pace. So far, it’s been a great summer, and I am very excited to see where I will be at the end of it!


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