Video Transcript: Why I became an ASL interpreter

PAULINE: Hello, hello, hello! My name is Pauline Rose Moore, my sign name is Pauline. And I wanted to share how my journey to this field of interpreting began. Everyone who is, it doesn't matter if you're a beginner or if you've been a seasoned interpreter, you have been asked how did you begin? Why did you begin? Why did you become an interpreter? And so I enjoy sharing my story because my story is just kind of, it's just it's interesting.

Many interpreters who are of color or black, they begin in the church. And so my story is not that. I really began inside of the classroom. 2002 I took my first ASL class and the journey began. I graduated 2005 and then immediately went to work. I know, right? It sounds like that easy, but there's a little bit of background information that I want to share with all of you too. When I was 10 years old a woman came to my church, beautiful woman, aw, man. I can still see her standing there in front of the church ready to minister an ASL song. And before she began, understand she was hearing, but her parents were deaf. But she said something that when I was thinking about moving to North Carolina, went to UNCG and that's the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. But she said something, and she said, "I know that when you look at me, you see ASL songs "and you believe that they're beautiful. "But there's a message inside." So that memory from the back of my mind came to the front of my mind when I was thinking about moving to North Carolina for school. I don't know. That memory made me realize that perhaps, maybe interpreting for me or maybe just interpreting period is not just a job, it's really a calling. And that was my calling. Because that memory transformed my life.

My first degree was in Computer Information System Technology Business Programming Systems from the University of, well at that time, of Farmingdale University. It's a state college. It had a different name, so now it's, I think it's, I can't remember. (laughing) At that time it was SUNY Farmingdale, had a different name, and so now, I believe it might be Farmingdale State College. I think so. But anyway, during that time, it's, I was there, I wanted to study, I wanted to work with computers, I just, very passionate about technology and computers, and so, leaving one profession, computers, and then to another, as an interpreter, that was just weird, you know.

My mother, she told me that my, maybe, mm, in 2009, she told me, she's like, you know, honestly, when you shared that you were moving away to North Carolina from New York, I thought that, I did not realize that that was a real degree. I did not realize that until I went to your graduation. And I'm like, what? So you never thought that, you know, interpreting, working with deaf children, that was a real degree? She's like, no. And so I was shocked. I'm like, how could you think that? But if you understand anything about culture, you know, many people thought that, oh you work with deaf people, oh, that's so sweet. There's this pity thing of oh, you're doing something so sweet for the deaf people, or the deaf and dumb people. And it wasn't to say that that was their attitude, or they felt, you know, negative against deaf people. Mm-mm.

But that's what they were taught, and so I learned through my mother that deaf and dumb was something that people believed, and it was my job as this new interpreter, this new educated woman, who knows about deaf people, deaf culture, because now I am a part of the community, to share the truth about deaf people. And so I was excited to share with her, Mom, you don't understand. Deaf people are educated. They have doctors and lawyers, and you just haven't met them yet. And so my mom was blessed to have an opportunity to stay with me while I lived on Gallaudet's campus for two weeks. For the first time, she stopped saying deaf and dumb, and it became deaf. She's not accustomed to the whole hard of hearing thing, she still hasn't, you know, figured that out. And in truth, it doesn't even matter because she now has a new mindset about the people I am blessed to serve with, because it's a team. I need deaf people to have a job, right? To have this profession, but deaf people need me for access, and it's a beautiful thing.

So I just wanted to share that because if you are a new student who's learning sign language, and you're afraid of deaf people, don't be. They don't bite. Well, not all. Not all. (laughing) No, I'm teasing, but deaf people are accepting, and they're forgiving when you mistakes, cause right now, I'm sure I've made, I don't know how many, but just accept the call. Yes. Accept the call. It's an honor.


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