Often when clients are looking for a music interpreter, they’re not sure where to begin. While a quick web search will pull up thousands of results, most of what you’re seeing in those lists are agencies who have a wide web presence.
Here’s a few things about the viral Deaf interpreter you saw on TikTok last week and the other hearing interpreters that you’re mistaking for talented.
ASL Interpreting for Music
Many agencies talk about their ability to staff for large events like concerts and music festivals but still don’t know the first thing about interpreting on stage. When they source ASL interpreters for a music festival, they rely on the person they think might vibe with the music the most. They rarely do their homework to find the interpreter who can do the best interpreting in the music industry. Those people are often Deaf performers and Deaf interpreters.
The process bu which interpreting happens is usually through a system involving interpreting mic pacs or FM systems, preparation with lyrics and multiple meetings of the interpreting team for the music performer to ensure that all needs are met. It is only by doing our due diligence that we can provide an accurate interpretation of any artistry happening on stage. The idea that an artistic sign language interpreter from a hearing background can somehow handle a show on their own, is simply misleading.
The Myth of the Viral ASL Music Interpreter
When you see the videos with thousands if not millions of views of interpreters, it’s easy to be amused by their presence online and their animation. What many folks looking for an ASL interpreter don’t realize is that the wide majority of them are hearing and do not represent Deaf talent within the community.
As a company that centers our clients in every sense, we work incredibly hard to enable entrance to the stage for the wider Deaf community. We bring Deaf performers and Certified Deaf Interpreters to every music gig we accept. Within those bookings, we supply a feeding or supporting interpreter to ensure access while keeping the community we service in the spotlight.
We always want to ensure that the voice of the Deaf community is seen loud and clear in these spaces. Together, we can increase representation while keeping the interpreting process available and accessible to all.