October 2018 Member Spotlight! Royce Carpenter
** Be sure to check out Royce’s upcoming article in November VIEWS titled, “Diversity in Higher Education: Starting the Discussion”. Coming out November 15th, 2018! **
Why do you have a passion for interpreting?
My passion for interpreting comes from two things. The first reason comes from my grandmother who worked and retired from the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. She shared her love for the Deaf students with me and as a child I just liked playing with my friends that were Deaf. As I look back as an adult I understand those childhood experiences with the Deaf community shaped a part of who I am as an interpreter and as an educator. The second reason I am passionate stems from my love of a Deaf child that has grown into a wonderful young man. My friend’s son Brice. My friend knew no sign language when Brice was born so we took a sign language class together. I wanted to share language with him and support his mother in learning the language she would be able to share with her son. I continue to love the beautiful language that I have been granted the privilege to learn and utilize from the Deaf community I respect and cherish.
Where does your passion lie? Is it in being a bridge between hearing and deaf constituents? Is it in your love for the Deaf community? Is it in interpreting itself? Is it in the “Aha” moment when those you interpret for reach the intended level of understanding made possible through your interpretation?
My passion ultimately lies in the love I have for the Deaf community who inspire me daily and Sign Language that continually challenges me to grow and learn the various nuances of the language that I uncover every single day.
Is there a golden rule to maintaining longevity in this profession?
Never stop learning!
What was your first official interpreting experience?
My first official interpreting experience was with a wonderful senior Deaf woman who showed me kindness (knowing it was my first day as a “professional”) and corrected me when necessary in the most loving way possible. I will never forget that experience or that beautiful lady!
When did you know, “This is for me!”?
I knew it was for me when I was in school and my teacher Tina Perry brought her family in to class. There was her mother, two aunts, and her father all Deaf. The three sisters told us stories, argued about whose sign was right all while her father was calm and shook his head at them again and again. Tina made it clear that she wanted to bring them in so we all understood that interpreting is not a game and real people and their lives will be impacted by us as interpreters. Her words were something my grandmother also told me when I told her I wanted to become an interpreter. Tina’s words just seemed to be a confirmation for me of the path I was on and the lives I would touch.
How did you learn of interpreting as a profession?
When I went to Columbus State Community College to take one ASL class in support of my friend I found out it was a whole program. As I continued in that class and loved what I was learning I decided to change my career profession.
How has interpreting provided opportunities for you?
Interpreting has provided me with the opportunity to meet the most amazing people, Deaf and hearing, and to do something I am blessed to love for a living.
Describe your training experience…
I have an associate degree from Columbus State Community College in interpreting/Transliteration and a Master’s degree from Western Oregon in Teaching Interpreting Studies. Both were great training grounds for skills, theory, reflection, and support.
What words of encouragement do you have for a person like yourself, who is interested in becoming an interpreter?
Anything of value requires hard work and dedication including learning sign language. The beauty is that the journey and the connections made during and after the educational process is well worth the struggle. As a Black interpreter there were challenges that I know were different from my peers in school and different from my peers now, but I am able to use those experiences to help, support, and push someone who looks like me and has had a shared experience to never give up. I know whomever you are that reads this and can relate to my story can also do what I have accomplished and so much more!