Posted by: Christine Johnson | October 30, 2008

Things I’m Grateful For

That I no longer interpret in cold weather.  I really felt for the two interpreters at the rally on Monday.
Being an interpreter really can be a thankless kind of job at times, especially when you do so under the circumstances those two ladies did at the Palin rally earlier this week.  It’s nice to be thanked, though, which brings me to this side story:
Back in my former life, I worked with an interpreter who kept a note of thanks pinned up to her office wall.  (She was the coordinator for student services at the college I was contracting with at the time.)  The note was from President George Bush.  It seems that when he was campaigning in Orlando, my friend was tapped to interpret for him.  Background checks were done, etc., and she went to the event and did her thing.  She was not introduced to him, did not shake his hand – nothing.  You see, an interpreter for the Deaf must be there simply to facilitate communication.  We are not really “there,” so to speak.  We’re merely conduits for the words of the speakers to reach the audience who needs us.  And we really don’t complain about it because we know this going into the job.  It’s a part of the Code of Ethics.
So when the event was over, the Secret Service wisked the president away and she went home.  About a week or so later, she received the note from the president.  He thanked her – by name – for her service at the rally.
What that meant was that he purposefully sought out her name and contact information, sat down and hand-wrote a personal note, and had it mailed to her.
No matter what you think of his policies, you have to admit that this shows incredible class and compassion.  And I’ve never forgotten that he did that.  He had to go out of his way to do so, and let’s face it, the president was nothing short of busy in 2004.  
 

Christine

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