Humor and stories for interpreters: You can pick your assignments,
and your consumer can pick his nose,
but then you can't interpret your consumer's assignment.

David Bar-Tzur

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Man is having his nose picked by a woman off camera

{The image above is from (More mind control) which is no longer extant.}

Illuminated letter I had a consumer that I interpreted for several hours a day. Setting: higher education. S/he would doze half-way through the lecture regularly. I never could understand this because my interpreting was pretty fascinating to me :-) and since I'm the center of my little universe, my consumer's world must be revolving around me. Ergo, *I* must be the cause of their every action.

This is quite a responsibility. I had a few choices:

1- Use all the guilt at my disposal to hone my skills to a Louie Fantish monofilament, and lash myself with shame every time my client looked even remotely bored. I'd be brilliant, but miserable.

2- Chew the consumer out for daring to fall asleep during the very zenith of my interpreting career. I'd feel really good about myself but I'd be out of work.

3- Pull my head out of my ego long enough to accept responsibility for *my* actions, and not for everything the consumer may or may not have gotten. I'd be imperfect, but it'd be a good, clean, *human* Imperfect.

I like option 3. Of course, there's always the consumers who pick their noses. That's where I have to draw the line.

- Dan Parvaz

Illuminated letter Clip joint (reply to Dan's comments above)


Add this one to those strange happenings like nose picking. What about a deaf student who decided during a college trig class that he will take off his shoes and clip his toenails? Needless to say, I kept interpreting because he would occasionally look up. Boy, did he and I get strange looks that day, but it never bothered him. I was a little red-faced - my problem.

- Bev in Tennessee

Illuminated letter I was interpreting for an adult in a business situation, and the client was a. . . well how should I put this. . . a. . . nose picker. After oh say the first TEN minutes of continuous picking I offered the client a kleenex. It was refused. Other than that I didn't know what to do and suffered through the rest of the assignment very disgusted while the client continued to show more interest in his nose than what was happening around him.

- Summer Carlson

Illuminated letter I was working in a Lamaze class one time with a client who used her blouse as a kleenex. I mean the neckline not the sleeve. We'd be interpreting and she'd pull up the neckline of her blouse blow her nose and then let it drop!


- keri brewer

Illuminated letter LOL. Been there done that. And it was a wonderful opportunity to test my self-control and my guts limits. I often terp for a Deaf client X in important meetings. Sometimes another Deaf employee Y was here too. So when X started his nasal exploration, I just had to change my eye gaze from X to Y. Easy. But after some months (Pygmalion effect they call it), Y started competition with X in how deep they could explore their respective (not mutual phew lol) noses. Well, I started to interpret and stare at the hearing people in the audience (really felt stupid doing that, but at least did not vomit on the meeting table.)

After several meetings using such a cowardly strategy, I decided it would be fun to use it as a wonderful opportunity to test my limits and boost my professionalism, and I 'forced' myself to still stare at the nose-picker while doing his 'chimney cleaning'. Oh boy, that was not easy at first, I had to proceed step by step, but I'm proud to say that now I CAN DO IT. I would have never dared proposing a kleenex. I suspect it would not have been considered as a mark of kindness from the interpreter lol. What if i would have stuck one of my fingers in my nose while going on interpreting with other hand? It would be perfectly symbiotic interpretation! Somebody here already tried this scenario? Feedback? Grin. Now let us be positive, Summer, it did not happen to you in tactile interpretation with a Deafblind person. Ewwwwwww. LOL

- Sandrine, French SL Interpreter in Paris, France [Editor: Also in response to Summer above.]

Illuminated letter Hey! I just got an idea! On Rosie O'Donnell they were trying new jelly beans on blindfolded kids. One of the new flavors is 'BOOGERS'!!!!! 'Tis the season to be jelly, er, I mean jolly. Why not send him a little gift or better yet, if you are in the same predicament in the future, offer the jelly beans! Personally, I would not mind them picking their noses, but I HATE when a patient starts "blowing chunks" as my 15 y.o. son would phrase it.

- D. V. Lopez [Editor: And the thread continues, believe it or not.]

Illuminated letter In the past, I have had to endure an adult college student who constantly chewed tobacco and spit the juice into a Pepsi bottle. To me that is even more gross than "nosey" situations. To add insult to injury (or should I say to nausea?), the student, who could/would normally voice for him/herself, would use me as voice interpreter whenever his/her mouth was full of tobacco. I considered refusing to voice under such conditions since "tobacco-chewing" was not technically a disability, and not the reason I was hired. It took some practice for me to be able to interpret and maintain eye contact during the class' (spitting sessions?) with this student.

- Cathy Metcalf

golden marble bulletFinal word: The booger movie.

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