Oliver Hardy was one half of the comic duo Laurel and Hardy, famous in the late 1920 through to the 1940 for their slapstick antics. Oliver Hardy often summed up his feelings of the duos comic calamities with his famous catch phrase.

Now imagine the following scenario; you are interpreting away, it’s all going well and then it happens, your deaf client looks at you with that expression that says “Yeah, and?”, you hear the laughter, your co-worker shrugs sympathetically, your shoulders slump, your confidence drops to your toes, you glance at the speaker and think “well here’s another nice mess you‘ve gotten me into”:  What happened - humour!

image from http://www.laurel-and-hardy.com/home/PICS/l&h2.jpg

Humour inhibites your effectiveness as an interpreter. When it comes to humour, I have often asked myself why, oh why do they do it! And what can I do about it. 

Humour is the subject of many an academic paper and having reviewed some, it seems that humour has a range of functions; it can be use to express solidarity, or power, as a defence strategy or as a coping strategy or simply to amuse. It would seem that these functions can be further subdivided to give an understanding of the strategy a speaker may use. By looking at some of the techniques used to create humour I have been more prepared for when it does happen, but what techniques do people use? Here is a partial list to get you started:

·         Self- effacement and in-jokes

·         Sarcasm, tongue in cheek comments

·         Wit

·         Exaggeration

·         Comic comparisons

·         Anecdotes

(Kahn 1989, Hay 2000, Holmes 1998, 2002, Lee 2006, Lynch 2002, Rogerson-Revel 2007, Thomas et al 1997). Humour is complex and diverse and as an interpreter I have to cope with all forms. Some kind of humour awareness is necessary and recognising why it is being used is the first step to being able to respond to it.  

This is a topic that I will return to again and again.


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Welcome to Reverie – An interpreters Blog

The idea behind reverie is to share some interesting morsels from my reflective journals, they are quite an eclectic mix, but it all relates to my work as a sign language interpreter, honest.

It was an interesting article in issue 73 of Newsli, July 2012 (Newsli is the magazine for ASLI) about how reflective writing can improve your interpreting practice, which got me started.  I found that writing things down helps me organise my thoughts and develop solutions. You know the old saying “a problem shared is a problem halved” even if you are only sharing with yourself. Starting this blog is just taking my writing one step further, and I think I will probably learn more from reviewing my journals, second or even third time around! 

I am sure you are aware that there are some issues within interpreting and professional practice to which there are no easy answers.  Some problems take longer to solve. Hence reverie – daydreaming, the title of my blog. It is about reflective thinking, contemplation, allowing my subconscious to be working away on the issues around interpreting. This is a good thing, creativity and the generation knowledge cannot be rushed!

What can you expect to find on Reverie? It’s an eclectic mix, but it will be about sign language interpreting, professional practices, and my personal experience from the areas where I work, which are mainly medical, education, and religious domains. The relationship between interpreters and client is confidential. No confidences will be broken and no secrets will be revealed here.

Thank you for reading my first post, you are welcome back anytime.