It must be hard.
And I want to know, would if I was one of you, would I hold them accountable?
Because here is the thing, when I have left my doctor appointment, my meeting, my conference... I don't know how you act with one another. I really don't. I don't know the inner workings, the intrigues, the political back channels.
I know what it is like to be your client, but I don't have the slightest clue what it is like to be among you when you are among yourselves.
Do you guys hold one another accountable? Do you approach folks and let them know they are out of line? And if that person-to-person feedback does not work, what do you do? Not what can you do. Nor what should you do. But what do you ACTUALLY do.
Because if I have not made it clear, if Deaf folks have not made it clear to you . . . we expect you to hold one another accountable. We expect that if personal one-on-one feedback is not effective, that something more is done.
I suspect, because it is your job, you know far more interpreters than I do. And you come across far more bad interpreters than I do. Most Deaf folks are alone in the room with one or two interpreters and hearing non-signers. But we're not using interpreters every day. You however, are working several times a week, if not almost every day.
Sometimes I see a really wonderful interpreter, someone I admire, paired with an interpreter who is terrible. And afterwards a conversation occurs:
Good Interpreter: So. How did that go for you?
Me: Okay. You were fine. They were not.
Good Intepreter: Yes. I noticed. I am sorry.
Me: I will let the (whoever) know not to hire them again.
Good Interpreter: That's a good idea. I encourage you to do that.
But they do get hired again. Just (hopefully!!!) not for me.
And while I appreciate the check-in I do wonder... why are you not saying something to your team? Or maybe you do? Do you do it later when I am not around? Do you let the agency know? They hearing folks who were in the room with me know? Or is it just on me, always? Because it shouldn't be. This is your profession. I would hope, and I do expect that you maintain oversight over quality control too. That you hold one another accountable.
Because it would be really nice to see you call out your team when they suck, in front of me and the hearing non signers. It would be nice for me to see this conversation play out:
Good Interpreter: So how did you get this job?
Bad Interpreter: They agency sent me.
Good Interpreter: I think you were not qualified and not a good fit to take this job. I encourage you not to take these kind of (medical/theater/legal) jobs again. It's unethical. I will not work with you again.
And this conversation:
Good Interpreter: Excuse me every one. My team is unable to do their job properly right now and is not qualified for this job.
I know right? WHOA. That sounds hard. It really does. But Deaf folks can't be the only ones policing the interpreting field. We all need to hold one another accountable, together. Otherwise it's just really hard and accountability becomes a buzz word we say but don't practice in the real world.
I am tired of being the "angry" Deaf client. The one who is always complaining about their access or lack thereof. I would like you to be the angry interpreters and hold one another accountable, in the moment, in front of us so we know it is happening. And keep doing it when we are not around.
Because no matter how much I respect you personally, no matter how much I may regard you as a potential ally... if you are not visibly and diligently holding folks in your profession accountable, it makes it difficult for me when I do go to the agency and when I do let hearing folks know. I wish my word was enough, but often it is not. I need your help too.
You need to clean your house. Get rid of the cobwebs and dust, and haul out the trash. It's long overdue. Someone needs to open up the windows and air the stench out. You've collected too many bad interpreters in your profession. They need to go.