Every time when I see on TV a woman making gestures that I personally consider highly questionable by using her face, hands and fingers to say things that cannot possibly mean all of the complicated things the person standing next to her is saying, I am asking myself this question.
Have you ever seen a guy on TV interpreting for the deaf the lies that politicians dish out so skillfully for hearing people who just survived a hurricane, tsunami, nuclear reactor explosion, or another Wall Street bailout?
You have not, because the only sign language that guys do is when they give you a finger after they cut you off on the highway or stole your parking spot.
I once had a lunch with a sign language interpreter to thank her for referring a translation job to me, since all she did was sign language interpreting. But I mostly did it because I was curious about her as I never met a sign language interpreter.
It turned out that she was a lesbian. I am not quite sure what conclusion should I draw from that particular incident.
There are some men who interpret spoken language, which is very similar to signing, without the weird, incomprehensible gestures. But most of them are translators of written documents who interpret only when they have nothing else to do. Interpreters who mostly interpret and translate written languages, somewhat reluctantly and only when no interpreting work is available, are always women.
According to this study that I found on the Internet, there are two reasons why almost all sign language interpreters are female “…. the first reason is that women are biologically predisposed to being able to master the complex task of interpreting. Interpreting requires the ability to multitask – listening, analyzing, and signing simultaneously. The second is that the field of Sign Language interpreting is viewed as a helping occupation, which has traditionally been seen as women’s work. ”
So, let me get this straight, men are not biologically predisposed to being able to master the complex task of sign language interpreting ….. because it requires the ability to multitask, which means to be able to do three things – listen, analyze and sign – at the same time?
But that cannot possibly be the real reason. I am a man and I love to multitask. I can’t be happy unless I am doing at least three or four things at the same time, such as 1. translating, 2. listening to music, 3. thinking about a new post for my blog, and 4. doing the laundry. But I sure would not be caught dead using my face, hands and fingers to say, for example, the things that I am saying in this post.
And what is a “helping occupation”? What’s that even supposed to mean? As far as I know, a butler is always male. Isn’t that a helping occupation?
No, the real reason must be different.
Could it be that these women just want to be on TV? They are usually young and kind of cute. Maybe they originally wanted to be actresses but after a while realized that they don’t really have enough talent to make it in the movie business and learned the sign language instead. It was their plan B.
I know that signing language interpreters often have non-hearing people in their own family, which is how they initially learned to sign. But that does not explain why men too don’t learn to sign when they could help somebody in their own family.
I think that the real reason why these women who go to the trouble of learning how to sign and learn it well enough to get paid for it has nothing to do with multitasking. Women decide to become sign interpreters because becoming a sign interpreter is one way how to become the center of attention. And once in a while they can even be on TV so that the whole nation can admire how skillfully they wiggle their fingers and roll their eyes!
Women will do just about anything to become the center of attention. They spend hours trying on clothes and putting on makeup because they want everybody to watch them.
Us men, we don’t really care that much about our appearance, and we sure don’t want people all over the country watching us wiggle our fingers, make faces and do stuff like that.
Which must be the real reason why men don’t become sign language interpreters.