Interpreting takes…. Let me back up. In becoming an Interpreter, one must be proficient in both the Target language and the Source language. For ASL interpreting, that generally means having a fluid understanding of both English and ASL. That is why we as interpreters work in teams of 2 and switch off every 20 minutes. We are working in 2 languages at the same time and our brains get tired!
When I begin preparing for a concert or play, I then need to become fluent in ASL, English, and Music. For every interpreter the process is different. Each of us are talented and work hard for clarity, character, rhythm, and subtext. My process is as follows: I will spend many hours listening to the music from the artist. I listen in the car, during lunch breaks, before bed, and during any down time I have until I can sing along to the songs with limited mistakes. While listening I scour the internet for interviews, articles, fan posts, and lyric dictionaries looking for the meaning behind the lyrics. At the same time I’m listening and researching, I print out the lyrics to the top 20 (or more) songs from each artist. Often we are not provided with set lists for the shows we are interpreting. When we do, we throw a party! After I have gotten the lyrics printed, the research to the songs and artists, and begun memorizing the English and rhythm of the songs, I begin to find the equivalent meaning in ASL.
This is generally called Prep work. It can take 100’s of hours. Each artist generally performs a 90 min set. The set tends to consist of 20 – 25 songs. The process is the same for each song. Personally, with music festivals, I can have upwards of 4 performers. The more time and information we have before the concert date then the more thorough and equivalent of a visual product we can provide.
I love my job. I love that I GET to do this kind of work. It is not something I do for the money. I believe that equal access is not only a hashtag, but rather a reality we need to make happen. #equalaccess #Terplife #realtalk