Darlene Snelson, CI and CT
Where is your hometown?
How long have you been a member of RID?
I joined RID when I was a first year student in my ITP. I have been a member now for 11 years.
How did you become interested in the field of interpreting?
I needed to take a second language requirement for my Bachelor’s degree. One of my teachers at the time mentioned that I learned visually and that I might want to take ASL for my language requirement. I thought ‘why not, let’s see what happens.’ From the first day I stepped into the classroom and met my Deaf teacher, I fell in love with the language. My ASL teacher at the time decided at the end of ASL 1 class that I was going to be an interpreter. I thought s/he was nuts because I had no idea what interpreters do. S/he brought me to the interpreting unit at the University of Minnesota where I met the staff interpreters. After that day I signed up for an intro to interpreting course just to ‘see’ what this interpreting stuff was all about. When I completed that short course, I knew it was the right profession for me and the rest is history. The funny part of this story is that exactly 3 years to the date, I had completed my ITP and was hired as a staff interpreter at the University where my first job was working with the teacher that told me I would be an interpreter one day.
What is the most rewarding part of the profession?
The most rewarding part of this profession is the opportunity to be involved in people’s lives from the most intimate of settings to the most public and everything in between. The variety of places we can work is truly amazing!
What is the most frustrating part of the profession?
The most frustrating part of the profession is having to reeducate people over and over again about what we do.
Describe your most memorable moment.
Seeing myself on the jumbotron at the RID National Conference in San Francisco. I was ten feet tall! I always wanted to be taller than I am.
What advice do you have for new graduates entering the field?
Find an experienced Interpreter and Deaf mentor. We all have so many questions when we are new. Having the opportunity to talk with mentor/s who have experience and that you trust makes all the difference in the world to your success as a professional.
Who is the interpreter(s) you admire most?
I admire so many interpreters in this profession. If I had to pick one, the person who I have always looked up to most is my mentor Susan. She has hung in there with me through thick and thin and never gave up on me even when I was ready to give up on myself. She is an amazing teacher, colleague and friend!
What is something members would be surprised to learn about you?
I am an amateur Gardner. I have 16 perennial gardens of various sizes, plans for three more next year, and by the time you read this, I will have finished building a waterfall in my back yard.