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Theatre Interpreting Blog

On Wednesday the 11th of June, I interpreted my very first theatre production of the play 'The Great Gatsby'. Great Gatsby follows the story of a heartbroken man back from the war who is willing to go through any lengths to win the girl of his dreams back from her tyrannical husband. The main female hero of Daisy was played by Deafinite's very own Laura Nichol who caused more than one broken heart on stage!

I have always been a theatre buff! Always getting involved with school plays, pantomimes and amateur operatics. I love the excitement, the lights, performing in front of others and making them laugh/cry.

Because of this, I have always been in awe with interpreters who take on the feat of interpreting drama on stage. I go and watch them whenever I can! Having seen interpreted performances from Shakespeare, satyrs, avant garde and local pantomimes I thought I had an idea of what to expect when I accepted my very first! However, it was unlike any job I had ever done before.

I also had to think about much more than just the translation! What you wear, how you stand, lighting and even being able to move around in the dark back stage is worth considerable thought! Most of the time you don't even know who your clients are!

However, the amount of support I received from interpreters, Deaf clients and the theatre company was amazing! Having Laura acting for this group was a real gem. We supported each other through line learning and translation issues. Everyone in the office was so lovely and supportive, giving tips and holding my hand! Clare Seal, who has many years experience interpreting in theatre productions was just spectacular and changed the way I look at preparing for an assignment of this kind. Big thanks to her!

When I first walked out on stage I was so nervous. I've been interpreting now for roughly 4 years and I never thought I'd be as nervous as I was then! I was so nervous I almost fell of the stage, it was lucky I wasn't hearing heeled shoes! After a few minutes I was enjoying it so much I didn't want to leave! What a change of emotions! However, by the end of the play, I was completely drained! Interpreters usually don't work for longer than about 30 minutes by ourselves so two full hours was exhausting but satisfying.

Although the experience was tough to say the least, I really enjoyed the challenge. Whenever an interpreter starts a new domain, there is always a steep learning curve. Next step is to enroll on a TheatreSign course in London and polish up these new skills. Hope to see you in the audience soon!

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