Humor and stories for interpreters: Mental health interpreting

David Bar-Tzur

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Man with downcast eyes and head resting down on hand

[The image above is from (VERDICT's homepage) which is no longer extant.]

Illuminated letter THE TWELVE STEPS (for interpreters)

1. We admitted that we were powerless over the tendency to blurt "Count me in! I'll do it!", and that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. We have come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. We made a decision to turn our skills and our lives over to the care of the Interpreter Coordinator, as we understand him/her.

4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of our skills.

5. We admitted to our colleagues, to ourselves, and to the Interpreter Coordinator the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. We were entirely ready to attend workshops to remove all defects in our interpreting ability.

7. We humbly ask the Deaf to have patience with our shortcomings.

8. We made a list of all the Interpreters we had harmed, and we became willing to make amends with them all. [Editor would substitue "Deaf people".]

9. We made direct amends to such interpreters whenever possible, except when doing so would injure them or others.

10. We continued to attend workshops and when we made an Interpreting Error, promptly admitted it.

11. We have sought through workshops, feedback, and mentoring to improve our contact with the Deaf (as we understand them), asking only for knowledge of the Code of Ethics and the stamina to prevent Overuse Syndrome.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we have tried to carry this message to other Interpreters, and to practice these principles in our profession.

- Dan Parvaz

"Illuminated letter Hello, and welcome to the Psychiatric Hot Line. If you are obsessive-compulsive, please press 1 repeatedly. If you are co-dependent, please press 2 for someone else. If you have multiple personalities, please press 3, 4, 5, & 6. If you are paranoid-delusional, we know who you are and what you want. . . just stay on the line so we can trace the call. If you are schizophrenic, listen carefully and a little voice will tell you what number to press. If you are depressed, it doesn't matter which number you press. . . no one will call you back."

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