I Have A Built-In Interpreter
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Sometimes, people will say, “Hey, you have a built-in interpreter,” when they find out I have a hearing child. I laugh and joke about it.
I created an interpreter and she is going to interpret for free!
On a serious note, that is not my plan for her. She is NOT a built-in interpreter. She is not going to speak or interpret for me.
Often, people expect deaf parents’ hearing children to interpret even in those extremely inappropriate situations. Why? I don’t know. Maybe because it is convenient. Maybe because they are lazy and want to take the simple way out. Maybe because they assume it is the reasonable thing to do.
Of course, it may seem harmless to you… However, imagine the burden on the hearing child. Imagine asking a hearing child to interpret a legal issue conversation. Imagine how often people do that to the hearing child. That is a tremendous responsibility on a hearing child to make sure he/she is interpreting accurately.
Statistics show that about 90% of deaf parents have hearing children. How many of those hearing children become a built-in interpreter for their deaf parents? How many of those hearing children resent their deaf parents for giving them no choice, but to interpret adult conversations. This creates a role-reversal responsibility, the hearing child taking care of his/her parents instead.
A typical child with hearing parents would not be required to do that. That child is left to just be a regular child. Why can’t that be the same for hearing children with deaf parents?
So, if a person attempts to use my daughter as an interpreter, I will ignore his/her request. I will tell that person to write it down. The same thing with not using my daughter to interpret what is being said between several people, since I want to eavesdrop.
Sometimes, the hearing child will get tired of interpreting and decide to make up stories just for funsies. So, relying on a child to interpret is clearly not reliable.
I will not use my daughter to order food for me. I will not use my daughter to say something to a person when I am in a hurry. I will not have her relay what my doctor says. I will not have her interpret the parent-teacher conference. I will not have her to interpret a saving account conversation between the banker and I.
She shouldn’t responsible for taking care of her deaf parents. She shouldn’t have to grow up quickly. She shouldn’t be involved in adult conversations. I don’t want her to resent me in the future for not giving her a say in this. Her only job as a hearing child is enjoying her childhood without adult responsibilities just like all other typical children.
Any comments or thoughts about this?