Humor and stories for interpreters: For IEP (ITP) students

David Bar-Tzur

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Interpreting students signingInterpreting student signingInterpreting students signing

(The images above are from Columbia College Chicago: ASL - English interpretation.)

Illuminated letter Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.

- Leonardo DiVinci

And where the spirit does not work with the hands, the message is lost.

- David Bar-Tzur

Illuminated letter Twenty ways to maintain your mental health

1. At lunch time, sit in your parked car with sunglasses on and point a hair dryer at passing cars. See if they slow down.

2. Page yourself over the intercom. Don't disguise your voice.

3. Every time someone asks you to do something, ask if they want fries with that.

4. Put your garbage can on your desk and label it "In."

5. Put decaf in the coffee maker for 3 weeks. Once everyone has gotten over their caffeine addictions, switch to espresso.

6. In the memo field of all your checks, write "For sexual favors."

7. Finish all your sentences with "In accordance with the Prophecy."

8. Don t use any punctuation

9. As often as possible, skip rather than walk.

10. Ask people what sex they are. Laugh hysterically after they answer.

11. Specify that your drive-through order is "To go."

12. Sing along at the opera.

13. Go to a poetry recital and ask why the poems don't rhyme.

14. Put mosquito netting around your work area and play tropical sounds all day.

15. Five days in advance, tell your friends you can't attend their party because you're not In the mood.

16. Have your co-workers address you by your wrestling name, "Rock hard."

17. When the money comes out of the ATM, scream "I won! I won!"

18. When leaving the zoo, start running towards the parking lot, yelling "Run for your lives, they're loose!!"

19. Tell your children over dinner. "Due to the economy, we are going to have to let one of you go."

20. Send this e-mail to someone to make them smile.

It's called therapy...

Illuminated letter Top ten ways to cope with stress

10. Jam miniature marshmallows up your nose and sneeze them out. See how many you can do at once.

9. Pop some popcorn without putting a lid on it.

8. When someone says, "Have a nice day!", tell them you have other plans.

7. Make a list of things to do that you have already done.

6. Leaf through a National Geographic and draw underwear on the natives.

5. Read the dictionary upside down and look for secret messages.

4. Write a short story using alphabet soup.

3. Put your toddlers' clothes on backwards and send them off to preschool as if nothing were wrong.

2. Make up a language and ask people for directions.

And the number one way to cope with stress is... Fill out your tax forms using Roman numerals.

Illuminated letter Finals week is tough, but remember...

This life is a test.

It is only a test.

If this were your actual life, you would have received better instructions.

Illuminated letter On the topic of the difference between knowing two languages and interpreting between them, my mother grew up speaking Polish and continued to use it to speak to her mother who never become very fluent in English and to have secret conversations with her sisters. She wouldn't help me learn the language, which was disappointing. After I became an interpreter, she would always ask me how my teaching was going. I tried to describe the difference between teaching a deaf person and interpreting between a hearing teacher and a deaf student, but to no avail.

When my mother developed Alzheimer's, I took her to Las Vegas (which I loathe, but she loves) and we were playing the machines. A woman came up to me and started to speak to me in what I thought was Russian, also gesturing that she was having trouble with her machine. Since Russian and Polish are relatively similar (my mother used to tell me that she could understand Krushchev when she heard his voice in the background of the voice-overs), I asked my mom if she could help the lady out.

It turned out that the woman was actually speaking Polish. We called over someone who helps with the machines and my mother acted as interpreter. She did consecutive but you could see the mental strain of trying to figure out how to say it in the other language although she was fluent in both. When all was resolved I turned to my mother and said, "You know that interpreting you just did between English and Polish? That's the kind of thing I do with deaf people." Unfortuantely she couldn't remember what just happened. Oh well, two years too late!

- David Bar-Tzur

Illuminated letter I may nurse someone back to health, but that does not make me a nurse. I may doctor someone's wounds, but that does not make me a doctor... I interpret for my friend... does that make me an interpreter?

- Faith Powell

Illuminated letter DOLPHIN STRESS TEST

It's a simple test designed to indicate whether people have too much stress in their life. It's a picture of two dolphins. The two dolphins appear normal when viewed by a stress-free individual. This test is not accurate enough to pick up mild stress levels. It's quite simple. If there is anything that appears different about the dolphins (ignore the fact of the slight color differences) it is often an indication of potential stress related problems. Differences, if any, may also indicate the source of your stress.

Sit upright and viewing the screen head-on, take a deep breath, breathe out and then open the picture and look directly at it. If there is anything out of the ordinary then you should consider taking things a little easier..

Click here.

Cartoon of a duck with the caption: An interpreter should be like a duck - above the surface look calm and unruffled, below the surface paddle like hell.

Illuminated letter It's not the load that breaks you down - it's the way you carry it.

Illuminated letter A matter of degree

The graduate with a Science degree asks,

"Why does it work?"

The graduate with an Engineering degree asks,

"How does it work?"

The graduate with an Accounting degree asks,

"How much does it cost?"

The graduate with an Interpreting degree asks,

"How can I best express that in the target language?"

The graduate with a Liberal Arts degree asks,

"Would you like mustard with that?"

- Adapted by David Bar-Tzur

Cartoon of a person as an interpreting students and as a working interpreter with before and after comments.

Adapted by David Bar-Tzur

Illuminated letter The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.

- Alvin Toffler

Illuminated letter Frustrated by so much homework and testing? Hopefully when you have all this behind you, you will look back and say with Harlan Ellison:

"I curse the lesson and bless the knowledge."

- David Bar-Tzur

Illuminated letter My cousin was teaching a beginning Sign class and got a sign going the wrong way. Instead of "early" she signed, "We were so excited about sign language class we arrived 'naked'".

- Norma Lawson

Illuminated letter Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted.
Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world.

- Hans Margolius

Man babbles away, remembering every detail of when he met this person 10 years ago.

Illuminated letter How to write a paper.

1. Sit in a straight, comfortable chair in a well-lit place with plenty of freshly sharpened pencils.

2. Read over the assignment carefully, to make certain you understand it.

3. Walk down to the vending machines and buy some coffee to help you concentrate.

4. Stop off at another floor on the way back and visit with your friend from class. If your friend hasn't started the paper yet either, you can both walk to McDonald's and buy a hamburger to help you concentrate. If your friend shows you his paper, typed, double-spaced, and bound in one of those irritating see-thru plastic folders, drop him.

5. When you get back to your room, sit in a straight, comfortable chair in a clean, well lighted place with plenty of freshly sharpened pencils.

6. Read over the assignment again to make absolutely certain you understand it.

7. Check your e-mail; reply to everyone who sent you letters.

8. You know, you haven't written to that kid you met at camp since fourth grade. . . You'd better write that letter now and get it out of the way so you can concentrate.

9. Go look at your teeth in the bathroom mirror.

10. Listen to one side of your favorite tape and that's it , I mean it, as soon as it's over you are going to start that paper.

11. Listen to the other side.

12. Check your e-mail again.

13. Rearrange all of your CDs into alphabetical order.

14. Phone your friend on the other floor and ask if he's started writing yet. Exchange derogatory remarks about your teacher, the course, the university, the world at large.

15. Sit in a straight, comfortable chair in a clean, well lighted place with plenty of freshly sharpened pencils.

16. Read over the assignment again; roll the words across your tongue; savor its special flavor.

17. Check your e-mail to make sure no-one sent you any urgent messages since the last time you checked.

18. Check the newspaper listings to make sure you aren't missing something truly worthwhile on TV. NOTE: When you have a paper due in less than 12 hours, anything on TV from Masterpiece Theater to Sgt. Preston of the Yukon is truly worthwhile, with these exceptions: +Pro Bowler's Tour +any movie starring Don Ameche +Star Trek

19. Catch the last hour of Soul Brother of Kung Fu on channel 26.

20. Phone your friend on the third floor to see if he was watching. Discuss the finer points of the plot.

21. Go look at your tongue in the bathroom mirror.

22. Look through your roommate's book of pictures from home. Ask who everyone is.

23. Sit down and do some serious thinking about your plans for the future.

24. Open your door and check to see if there are any mysterious, trench-coated strangers lurking in the hall.

25. Sit in a straight, comfortable chair in a clean, well lighted place with plenty of freshly sharpened pencils.

26. Read over the assignment one more time, just for the hell of it.

27. Check your e-mail.

28. Scoot your chair across the room to the window and watch the sunrise.

29. Lie face down on the floor and moan.

30. Leap up and write the paper.

31. Type the paper.

Illuminated letter The whole drift of my education goes to persuade me that the world of our present consciousness is only one out of many worlds of consciousness that exist.

- William James

Illuminated letter If you feel frustrated with your teachers, the following mental exercise may be of use.

Picture yourself mentally near a stream.

Birds are chirping in the crisp, mountain air.

Nothing can bother you here. . .

No one knows this secret place.

You are in total seclusion from that place called the "world".

The soothing sound of a gentle waterfall fills the air with a cascade of serenity.

The water is so clear . . .

that you can easily make out the face of the person whose head you are holding under the water.

There now. . . feeling better???

Illuminated letter It is the first of all problems for a man to find out what kind of work he is to do in this universe.

- Thomas Carlyle

Illuminated letter Stress test for interpreting students

Relatives that have been dead for years come visit you and suggest thatyou should get some rest.

You can achieve a "Runners High" by sitting up.

You say the same sentence over and over again, not realizing that you have said it before.

The Sun is too loud.

Trees begin chasing you.

You can see individual air molecules vibrating.

You begin speaking in a language that only you and Channelers can understand.

You say the same sentence over and over again, not realizing that you have said it before.

You keep yelling "STOP TOUCHING ME!!!" even though you are the only one in the room.

Your heart beats in 7/8 time.

David Lynch comes up to you and says: "Hey!, can I film you?"

You and Reality file for divorce.

You can skip without a rope.

It appears that people are speaking to you in binary code.

You have great revelations concerning: Life, the Universe, and Everything Else, but can't quite find the words for them before the white glow disappears, leaving you more confused than before. . .

You can travel without moving.

Antacid tablets become your sole source of nutrition.

You discover the aesthetic beauty of office supplies.

You begin to talk to yourself, then disagree about the subject, get into a nasty row over it, lose, and refuse to speak to yourself for the rest of the night.

Teddy bears begin to bully you for milk and cookies.

You have an irresistible urge to bite the noses of the people you are talking to.

You type the same sentence over and over again, not realizing that you have typed it before. . .

You type the same sentence over and over again, not realizing that you have typed it before. . .

You type the same sentence over and over again, not realizing that you have typed it before.

Illuminated letter In order to see birds
it is necessary to become
a part of the silence.

- Robert Lynd

Illuminated letter Let your fingers do the talking

We all know that hand gestures can spice up a story or punctuate an idea. But now it appears that waving hands and pointing fingers may actually make our speech more articulate, too.

Columbia University psychologist Robert Krauss, Ph. D., videotaped 41 students as they described action-packed excerpts from Road Runner cartoons. Half of the students were allowed to move their hands while talking, while the rest were permitted to use only words. The gestures, it turned out, were more eloquent in recounting the coyote's foibles, at least when explaining spatial relationship between objects or characters -- for example, "The coyote is perched on a rock." They also spoke more quickly, were less likely to repeat themselves, and emitted fewer "ers" and "ums." The reason, suggests Krauss, is that gestures act as a mental bridge between spatial concepts and words, making it easier for us to think of the right phrase quickly. While the study may shed light on speech disorders, it's also a potent reminder that communicating is a full body affair.

- Haley, H. (March/April 1997). Let╩your fingers╩do the talking.╩Psychology Today, 24.

Illuminated letter From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.

- Arthur Ashe

Illuminated letter My husband is learning sign from me and we communicate any way we can think of. About three months ago he wanted to let me know he had put some chicken on to boil. He and I both did not know how to sign but he signed to me this way he acted like a chicken then he grabbed his leg then made a rolling motion with his hands. This was really quite funny to see but he got the message across to me.

- Fay Miller

Illuminated letter What we hope ever to do with ease, we must learn first to do with diligence.

- Samuel Johnson

Illuminated letter For those of you how are staying awake with coffee to study for those final exams, a test to see if you've been overdoing it:

You Know You're Drinking Too Much Coffee When. . .

* You answer the door before people knock.

* Juan Valdez named his donkey after you.

* You ski uphill.

* You get a speeding ticket even when you're parked.

* You speed walk in your sleep.

* You have a bumper sticker that says: "Coffee drinkers are good in the sack."

* You haven't blinked since the last lunar eclipse.

* You just completed another sweater and you don't know how to knit.

* You grind your coffee beans in your mouth.

* You sleep with your eyes open.

* You have to watch videos in fast-forward.

* The only time you're standing still is during an earthquake.

* You can take a picture of yourself from ten feet away without using the timer.

* You lick your coffeepot clean.

* You spend every vacation visiting "Maxwell House."

* You're the employee of the month at a coffeehouse and you don't even work there.

* You've worn out your third pair of tennis shoes this week.

* Your eyes stay open when you sneeze.

* You chew on other people's fingernails.

* The nurse needs a scientific calculator to take your pulse.

* Your T-shirt says, "Decaffeinated coffee is the devil's blend."

* You're so jittery that people use your hands to blend their margaritas.

* You can type sixty words per minute. . . with your feet.

* You can jump-start your car without cables.

* All your kids are named "Joe".

* You don't need a hammer to pound nails.

* Your only source of nutrition comes from "Sweet & Low."

* You don't sweat, you percolate.

* You buy 1/2 & 1/2 by the barrel.

* You've worn out the handle on your favorite mug.

* You go to AA meetings just for the free coffee.

* You walk twenty miles on your treadmill before you realize it's not plugged in.

* You forget to unwrap candy bars before eating them.

* Charles Manson thinks you need to calm down.

* You've built a miniature city out of little plastic stirrers.

* People get dizzy just watching you.

* You've worn the finish off your coffee table.

* The Taster's Choice couple wants to adopt you.

* Starbucks owns the mortgage on your house.

* Your taste buds are so numb you could drink your lava lamp.

* You're so wired, you pick up AM radio.

* People can test their batteries in your ears.

* Your life's goal is to amount to a hill of beans.

* Instant coffee takes too long.

* You channel surf faster without a remote.

* When someone says. "How are you?", you say, "Good to the last drop."

* You want to be cremated just so you can spend the rest of eternity in a coffee can.

* You want to come back as a coffee mug in your next life.

* Your birthday is a national holiday in Brazil.

* You'd be willing to spend time in a Turkish prison.

* You go to sleep just so you can wake up and smell the coffee.

* You're offended when people use the word "brew" to mean beer.

* You name your cats "Cream" and "Sugar."

* You get drunk just so you can sober up.

* Your Thermos is on wheels.

* Your lips are permanently stuck in the sipping position.

* You have a picture of your coffee mug on your coffee mug.

* You can outlast the Energizer bunny.

* You short out motion detectors.

* You have a conniption over spilled milk.

* You don't even wait for the water to boil anymore.

* Your nervous twitch registers on the Richter scale.

* You think being called a "drip" is a compliment.

* You don't tan, you roast.

* You don't get mad, you get steamed.

* Your three favorite things in life are. . .coffee before, coffee during and coffee after.

* Your lover uses soft lights, romantic music, and a glass of iced coffee to get you in the mood.

* You can't even remember your second cup.

* You help your dog chase its tail.

* You soak your dentures in coffee overnight.

* Your coffee mug is insured by Lloyds of London.

* You introduce your spouse as your coffeemate.

* You think CPR stands for "Coffee Provides Resuscitation."

- AMOM Carol

Illuminated letter Let us so live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.

- Mark Twain

Illuminated letter It won't be too long before you will have to be writing resumes and cover letters. Let's hope you can to better than these real examples taken from resumes and cover letters. The spelling is exactly the way it appeared in the original documents.

1. "I demand a salary commiserate with my extensive experience."

2. "I have lurnt Word Perfect 6.0 computor and spreadsheet progroms."

3. "Received a plague for Salesperson of the Year."

4. "Reason for leaving last job: maturity leave."

5 . "Wholly responsible for two (2) failed financial institutions."

6. "Failed bar exam with relatively high grades."

7. "It's best for employers that I not work with people."

8. "Let's meet, so you can 'ooh' and 'aah' over my experience."

9. "You will want me to be Head Honcho in no time."

10. "Am a perfectionist and rarely if if ever forget details."

11. "I was working for my mom until she decided to move."

12."Marital status: single. Unmarried. Unengaged. Uninvolved. No commitments."

13. "I have an excellent track record, although I am not a horse."

14. "I am loyal to my employer at all costs... Please feel free to respond to my resume on my office voice mail."

15. "I have become completely paranoid, trusting completely no one and absolutely nothing."

16. "My goal is to be a meteorologist. But since I possess no training in meteorology, I suppose I should try stock brokerage."

17. "I procrastinate, especially when the task is unpleasant."

18. "As indicted, I have over five years of analyzing investments."

20. "Personal interests: donating blood. Fourteen gallons so far."

21. "Instrumental in ruining entire operation for a Midwest chain store."

22. "Note: Please don't misconstrue my 14 jobs as 'job-hopping'. I have never quit a job."

23. "Marital status: often. Children: various."

24. "Reason for leaving last job: They insisted that all employees get to work by 8:45 a.m. every morning. Could not work under those conditions."

25. "The company made me a scapegoat, just like my three previous employers."

26. "Finished eighth in my class of ten."

27. "References: None. I've left a path of destruction behind me."

- Fortune, July 21, 1997

Illuminated letter Eyes are vocal, tears have tongues,

And there are words not made with lungs.

- Crashaw

Illuminated letter The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.

- Marcel Proust

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