Always be prepared to interpret

Jeff (standing), interprets for the Deaf patient.
Jeff (standing), interprets for the Deaf patient.

As the famous scouting slogan states,

Be prepared.

So too is a sign language interpreter. Whether it is impromptu, pinch-hitting or even just by-standing; if there is a Deaf person in need, then an interpreter is always “on-call”. Now being paid for your services or not should be considered as a matter of your service or “calling”. 🙂

Last Saturday, our school was invited to participate in a whole-day medical and dental mission organized by Korean Christian group under the Alpha and Omega Deaf Ministry. Dr. Lee-Tae Hee, a medical professional from a general hospital in Korea, was the main doctor who attended the deaf patients. This was their second time to hold this event. More than 100 deaf people came, double compared from last year. Almost half of those who came were from MCCID. The activity was a great blessing for the Filipino Deaf community especially those who are indigent and can’t afford to get medical help.

Me (left) reverse interprets for the Deaf signer Rev. Seung Ho Kang.
I (left) reverse interprets for the Deaf signer Rev. Seung Ho Kang.

Jeff and I expected that we are there just to accompany our deaf students. Since he is a former worker of that ministry together with his Deaf uncle, Mr. Nehemiah Cortez, he is familiar with the church and so he led us to the place.

What the organizers did not expect was many deaf would come. What Jeff and I did not expect is that we will interpret for them. As we were taking care of our deaf students, we heard one of the lady dentist worriedly walking around the place asking for persons who can explain to the deaf about the rules and prohibitions for tooth extraction. Nobody was assigned to interpret for the dental team. So I immediately volunteered to assist together with Jeff. I explained the rules to the deaf patients waiting for dental treatment while Jeff interprets for the dentists.

We know that Ms. Bethzaida was the hearing interpreter assigned for the ministry. But she has her hands full, so to speak, interpreting for the medical group. So she cannot multitask for the dental patients. She was also relieved by Jeff during her break times. I was again tasked to interpret during the lecture part in the afternoon.

Jeff apologized to me saying that I tired myself interpreting even when I’m not expected to. Well, I replied, there is nothing to be sorry about. I already expected this. In my 17 years of serving the Deaf, every time I attend any of their gatherings, I should always expect to be there to lend a helping hand, gratis et amore or not. I encouraged him to be more patient because this will always be part of our service as SL interpreters. Special thanks to Alpha and Omega Deaf Ministry for the successful activity! 🙂

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