David Turner, CI and CT, NIC Master

David Turner_B&W

Where is your hometown?
Toccoa, GA

How long have you been a member of RID?
21 years

How did you become interested in the field of interpreting?
I needed a place to stay. Deaf folks took me in and gave me a place to live. They then proceeded to share their world with me. It was a life-altering experience.

What is the most rewarding part of the profession?
I have the honor and privilege of using American Sign Language every day.

What is the most frustrating part of the profession?
People who are a part of the profession but maintain poor language skills throughout their career frustrate me; interpreters who have no true commitment to the communities we are supposed to serve frustrate me beyond belief; interpreters who are primarily motivated by money and getting their own dysfunctional needs met on the job are also horribly annoying.

Describe your most memorable moment.
Chatting with Margaret Thatcher and Christopher Reeves.

What advice do you have for new graduates entering the field?
Ask yourself, “Do you feel lucky, punk?” We’ve gone from being a grassroots effort to being a very competitive field. Mind your P’s and Q’s and err on the side of caution. Always try to put yourself in the shoes of your consumers and tread lightly!

Who is the interpreter(s) you admire most?
Nancy Holdren. She is one of the most gifted sign language interpreters I have ever had the privilege of knowing. She takes her job seriously. She has done so much good for the Deaf community, and in spite of many challenges, she is constantly giving back. The integrity and Deaf perspective that she brings to her work is the best I’ve ever seen. She is thoughtful and kind. She is everything that an interpreter should be. Nancy is a CODA and grew up here in Georgia’s Deaf community. She is truly poetry in motion. She makes me proud to be a sign language interpreter.

What is something members would be surprised to learn about you?
I am a twin. I grew up on a farm. I’m much more comfortable barefoot and in overalls.