July 2018 Member Spotlight! Nayshunda O Burke

NIC, Ed:K-12

Atlanta, GA

Region II

Why the passion to interpret?
To be used as a vessel of communication and exposure to different networks of individuals.
Where does your passion lie? Is it in being a bridge between hearing and deaf constituents? Is it the love for the Deaf community? Is it in interpreting itself? Is it the “Aha” moment when those you interpret for reach the intended level of understanding made possible through your interpretation?
My passion lies in learning from the various experiences during interpreting.
Is there a golden rule to maintain longevity in this profession? What is it?
Never stop learning, training, be nice to all you encounter. I have a quote I reference sometimes, ” Some days you are the eagle and other days you are the statue”. After I remind myself of this, I just keep, keeping on and remember to pay it (wisdom) forward when I can.
What was your first official interpreting experience?
My first official interpreting experience was at Ben Hill United Methodist Church, where I took classes from Thai Morris and later become chair of Deaf ministry.
When did you know “This is for me!”?
I’m not exactly sure, but after putting in all the work at GPC, I was determined to make it in the field, especially after watching many of my peers return to their previous places of employment or putting their skill set on the back burner. By that time, I had a daughter and rent.
How did you learn of interpreting as a profession?
Introduced to ASL as a daughter of a mom who had dated a guy with d/Deaf parents and was curious about the language, she dragged me to classes at the Fulton County library downtown. Later met my first Deaf person in college and couldn’t pay attention to the professor due to watching the interpreter. After becoming good friends, graduating and gaining employment as graphic designers, the job I had at a Print/Design company went “belly up”, my Deaf friend/mentor Marc Bowman, told me to interview with Christine Smith at Georgia Perimeter College. He said, if she lets you in, you will be an interpreter, if not that means you figure something else out and no, I can’t help you with rent. That was about 13 yrs ago.
How has interpreting provided opportunities for you?
I guess the best way to answer this is to say, I’ve met sooo many wonderful people during this journey and had the opportunity to be “a jack of MANY trades and master of SOME”. I also enjoy being an independent contractor.
Describe your training experience?
My training experience includes self-studies, socialization, college, workshops, webinars, seminars, membership in related organizations, mentorship, and prayer.
What words of encouragement do you have for a person like yourself, who is interested in becoming an interpreter?
Trust yourself, lean not unto your own understanding – get a mentor, immersion in the community not only for gain but for friendships, study, train and stay open to learning.

See previous issues of VIEWS in our archives, located HERE