Jaclyn O’Keefe


Where is your hometown?
I was born and raised in Staten Island, New York.  Since then I have moved around a bit.  I have lived in Maryland, for two years, and now have been residing in Los Angeles, California, for the past year and a half.

What is your membership category/certifications?
I am an Associate Member.  While I am not yet certified, I did pass the NIC Knowledge Test, and am currently preparing myself to take the NIC Performance Test. Wish me Luck!

How long have you been a member of RID?
I have been a member since September 2007.

How did you become interested in the field of interpreting?
In college, where I majored in Theatre Arts, I was required to take a language.  Since my college offered American Sign Language, I jumped at the chance to take it.   After just my first class, I feel in love with the language and culture, and to this day the love and respect has only gotten stronger.

What is the most rewarding part of the profession?
To have so much support from the Deaf community.  I have meet some of the greatest people and am just honored that I am allowed to have access to this amazing community.  Ever since I was a student, I have had nothing, but complete support and encouragement from everyone that I have meet.  It makes me feel so privileged to be doing what I am doing.  Also, I have such a love for interpreting in Post Secondary Educational settings.  It is an honor to be able to interpret for these students, as they embark on their own journeys, in their careers and education.

What is the most frustrating part of the profession?
That people think that I, and interpreters in general, are so nice, because we are  “helpers” to the deaf community.  It is frustrating to have so many people not understand that this is a community of amazing people, with such an incredible culture.

What advice do you have for new graduates entering the field?
To just do it!  Go to workshops, video tape yourself, volunteer, go to different events, find a mentor, ask for feedback, read books, watch the many vlogs/videos online.   The more you put yourself out there the more you will get back in return.

Who is the interpreter(s) you admire most?
I had the absolute pleasure of working with a group of interpreters, at Montgomery College, in Maryland.  This was where I got my start as a professional interpreter.  They were absolutely the most supportive, patient, funny, professional.. I can go on and on, but they truly left a huge impact on myself.  It was because of them that I am who I am today.  I have saved every piece of paper that has feedback on it from them, and still utilize it to this day.  I worked there for about a year and half, and I do not think that they realize what an impact and impression they made on me. So now this is my chance to say Thank You and show how much I truly enjoyed working and learning with such amazing interpreters.

What is something members would be surprised to learn about you?
I love Theatre, which may not come as a surprise, being that I did note that I majored in Theatre Arts, but I do hope to interpret and just be more involved in the Performing Arts aspect of it.