Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Carol Patrie and The Terp Students: A Love Story

Any interpreting (ASL/English) major from the east coast to the west coast, knows the name Carol Patrie. She is the one who creates the bulk of our interpreting curriculum, and most of our lovely homework assignments come from her workbooks.  Such workbooks are comprised of interpreting exercises that would probably make any seasoned interpreter run for hills. From complicated and sometimes ambiguous directions, to obscure topics like sailing and installing a roof...Carol Patrie covers it all.  Everyone of us has a love/ hate relationship with this woman, whose face we only know from the back our books. I first became acquainted with Carol Patrie my sophomore year, during our cognitive processing skills set. Little did I know that this woman would be responsible for the blood, sweat and lots of tears that would make up my interpreter training.  But before you get the wrong impression, Carol Patrie is also largely responsible for our success and triumph in the interpreting program. Even though we spend most of our time complaining about our Patrie assignments, we all know deep down that were are better because of her; which brings me to a story my friend Jim told me our junior year.
                    Jim is the only guy in our graduating class of 15 interpreting majors. He is also very talented, and devoted to the interpreting field. (I'm not just saying it because he's my friend and he drove me to the emergency room yesterday.) Last year he attended a conference for interpreter trainers, where he in fact met Carol Patrie in the flesh; the woman behind our work books.  He told me later that his first thought was to say, "hey thanks for making our lives so difficult and frustrating" but before the words cam out, Carol said to him how happy she was that we were benefiting from her books and how proud we make her and so on.  Jim was so touched by this completely kind and adorable woman he couldn't bring himself to tell her that her challenging exercises made us crazy.
                   So the moral of this story is this. The path of least resistance is not the path that's going to make you the best interpreter.  The path of Carol Patrie is.  So the next time you're trying for figure out "How to Get to Deep Creek" or "Sailing" and you want to cry, remember the adorable woman who just wants us to be the best interpreters we can be. One day you will look back on your interpreter training and realize that you're a better interpreter because of Carol Patrie. Food for Thought!

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