Wednesday, August 17, 2011


There is a certain give and take in the Deaf community regarding how the deaf work with the interpreters. One of the ways that a Deaf signer can acknowledge that he or she understands what was just said is the old-fashioned head nod.  This doesn’t just take place with interpreters, but whenever conversing in sign. It’s kind of like the equivalent of  the “Uh-huh,” “Sure,” and “Oh,” used in verbal conversations.

When I’m out chatting with a fellow deafie, that comes natural to me. But it’s never really come natural to me with interpreters. Well, I guess it depends on what’s being talked about.

Just as some hearing people have a hard time keeping their eyes open in a long church service, I often have a difficult time nodding incessantly during the sermon. Yes, I understand. Yes, I understand. Yes, I understand. AAAAHHHH!!!!! It drives me crazy!

Yesterday, I was at an appointment for my daughter. It was her, my hubby, and me, and then there was an interpreter. I’ve worked several times with this particular interpreter, so she kind of knows that I tend to just sit there sometimes (usually when my brain is fried from too much external stimuli). However, the professional we were with had never used an interpreter before. At least I’m assuming.

Not only did she stop quite often to explain to the interpreter things she didn’t need to know, but, after virtually every one of her sentences she would stop and look at the interpreter. Then, when the ‘terp was done signing, the pro would turn and stare at me. She was looking for…you guessed it…a head nod.

So basically, yesterday I was forced to nod my head more than I usually do. I’m very sore. I think I need a chiropractor. I don’t know which was more painful, nodding my head every 45 seconds or pretending I was listening when I really wanted to take a nap. (Some of us deaf folk are pretty darn good at sleeping with our eyes open.)


  1. I've had this very same experience, time and again. When I had an interpreter for my last appointment, I told her I would let her know if I DIDN'T follow something, or catch something, and she told the person I had the appointment with the same thing. It went very well. It took all the guess work out for them wondering if I was following or not. It worked well and kept things moving. I only had to ask for clarification a couple of times. Then I went home and took a nap. :-)