A New Semester - Name Challenge

“What in the world is their name?” is a thought that I have regularly. You see, I have been working at the same university for 8 years and in that time I have met a lot of people. I have also seen the faces of a lot of students without the formality of an introduction because I am standing in the front of the room interpreting. They see me. I see them. No names.

My challenge is this: to memorize the names and faces of everyone in at least two classes.

At the beginning of a semester, teachers typically call roll. I then have to fingerspell each name to the class and see who raises their hand, which is the perfect time to match names with faces. They typically only call roll in the first few weeks of the semester, so this challenge has to happen now, at the beginning of the semester.

Now, I am typically pretty bad at remembering names, so this is going to be quite a challenge for me. I wrote a blog post earlier about having a fixed mindset and remembering names is one of those areas where I have had a fixed mind set for a long time.

Are you good with remembering names and faces? If so, please leave tips in the comments for how you remember people's names. I will need all the help I can get.

Assessing Ourselves and Measuring Success

During a workshop today, the presenter asked the question, "What is interpretation?" to a room full of interpreters. He split the room into groups of people who have been working 1 - 5 years, 6 - 10 years, 11 - 24 years, and 25+ years.

Each group discussed among themselves then gave an answer to the question. Each answer was different.

The point he made was that assessment is pointless if we don't know what we are assessing. If we can't define it and agree on the definition, we cannot develop metrics to measure it.

The same goes for the more personal question, "What is my purpose?"

If I don't have an answer to that question, I cannot assess if I am indeed living my life according to its purpose.

Now, I am not saying we need to know what we will be doing for the rest of our lives, but in the moment, in the today, What is your purpose?

It is only by understanding ourselves and our design that we can begin to assess if we are indeed living up to it. Once we can answer the question, "what is my purpose?" then the goals that we set, and the measurement of those goals, will help us develop further into who we are, instead of possibly leading us away from our purpose and design. 

What are thoughts on purpose and assessment?

The Perception of Others at Work

How do other people perceive me? That is the question that came to mind while I was attending a workshop at work this week about professionalism. 

When seeing an individual for the first time, people do, in fact, perform Sherlockesque deductions and form an impression of them in their subconscious. It is an impression that is hard to dispel once imprinted, even when presented evidence to the contrary.

How many times have you met someone and immediately known the type of person they are? I am guessing quite often. 

The ability to make snap judgements about a person makes me wonder, should I spend more time crafting my appearance? I usually take the typical guy approach of, if-it-is-clean-wear-it which is probably not for the best.

The difficulty for me is in not knowing what to wear. Apparently there is something called men's fashion, go figure. I sometimes get advice from my wife and sister-in-law, but it is something that I have almost actively avoided. Maybe it is time I open up the dialog with them and log into my unused Pinterest account. 

Learning My Voice

At work today, I attended a workshop that probably will change how I view the rest of my life. It focused on the way we perceive ourselves and what it means to have a strong voice.

The presenter described the term voice as the confidence we have in our decisions, competencies, and authority. Trusting our voice allows us to make decisions with confidence while owning the consequences because we are confident in our abilities and authority. 

The discussion of developing a strong voice helped me realize how I have been letting fear rule my personal and professional life. I have been doubting my competencies and authority.

In the workshop I learned that being confident in my voice is a choice. I can choose to recognize my competencies and authority given to me or not.

So I choose to be confident. I choose to recognize my competencies and authority. This is going to be a process a constant process of choosing over and over again to be confident in my voice, but if this workshop taught me anything, it taught me that it is possible.

We don't have to live in fear of making choices.

Interpreting Words

I currently work as an interpreter and one of the things that we often do is try to come up with large lists of words that can describe one concept. Doing this will give us more wiggle room when trying to come up with an equivalent interpretation. Interpreters need wiggle room because we don't interpret verbatim and languages don't have a one word for one word correlation.

Instead we interpret the concept and meaning of what someone says, not necessarily the words. If I were to say, "Don't make me ask you again." What does this mean?

Well, it can mean a lot of things depending on context and tone, but let's throw out a few options:

"Stop it."
"I will not repeat myself."
"Clean your room."
"I am getting upset."
"Please can we go to Hawaii."

These are just a few of the various meanings that could be conveyed by the phrase, "Don't make me ask you again." I am sure you can come up with a lot more.

Interpreting can be quite squishy because languages are squishy. The process of interpretation changes depending on the participants, environment, and noise and languages change depending on participants, region, and culture among other things. 

All of this to say, words are only a representation of an abstract thought in our heads. The more words and languages we know, the more clearly those thoughts can be communicated to another human being.


The slightly unstable coffee incident

This morning was our first day back at work after our two week thesis vacation. The day began well, we set goals for the month, drank coffee, and listened to classical music. When we got to work I had two interpreting assignments back to back. The first assignment went well. The second assignment went like this:

The teacher had the students line up at the front of the room for an introductory ice breaker. It was a small classroom and a tight squeeze. The students lined up in the front of the room, which put me in the middle of the desks with the teacher. This was to keep sight lines clear and for me to be close to the source of information in the room (the teacher).

While interpreting I tried to take a small step backwards...

This is when I thought, "Everyone is looking at me," as I stumbled on the backpack that decided to eat my shoe like a leech. I tried to catch myself by putting my right hand down towards the desk, only to find my hand did not find a desk, but a cup of coffee left on the desk by one of the students.

The coffee tipped and wobbled, but I was able to keep it from falling over. I would call that a win, except for the small bit of coffee that sloshed out of the lid onto the desk. Now, in normal circumstances I would clean it up, but since I was interpreting I could not. I had to settle for a quick apology and continue interpreting what the teacher was saying.

It was one of the times I thought, "Great first impression," and then laughed about it later.

Have you ever made a first impression that you laughed about later?