A sign language interpreter has written a short story featuring deafness, which can be read today on our site.
‘I have always enjoyed languages and have been a sign language interpreter for 26 years. As much as I have a love of signs, I also have a love of words and have written on and off for most of my life. Earlier this year I completed my first novel, “Dixbury Does Talent” (awaiting publication) and since then have focussed on writing pieces of flash fiction.This particular piece was inspired by, although not based on, my Deaf husband, Malcolm. It’s a story that is all too familiar for many Deaf people who find themselves on the edge of family life.’
Falling on Deaf Ears
“Dad has passed away.” I managed to read my sister’s shimmery pink lips. She has a habit of speaking slowly and precisely to me – she thinks it’s the right way to talk to a deaf person. Ten days after that I was standing in the front row of the draughty church looking at the space where a sign language interpreter ought to be. Sadly for me, this particular interpreter was stuck in traffic.
Disregarding my communication needs (‘no disrespect, we just need to keep to time,’ my brother told me) the service commenced. I wasn’t particularly cross or upset – or surprised – it’s happened all my life. I’m consistently on the outside, always getting half a story, never really part of family decisions or conversations.
Lip-reading the vicar was hit and miss, so when the congregation broke into laughter I just assumed it was a funny story about my dad and laughed along. In truth I didn’t have a clue. With minutes to go before the funeral finished, a ruffled interpreter, signing his apologies to me, appeared.
My father’s funeral summed up my life; no one ever intends to exclude me – it’s just the way it is.
The following week we met for a family meal to read the will. My dad had left the house to my mum, but everything else he’d surprisingly bequeathed to The British Sign Language Society. My mother happily respected his decision, whereas my sister and brothers were disappointed and downright angry. They said many things; mainly bitterly complaining about their lack of inheritance, violation of their rights and the complete injustice of the situation.
At least, from where I was sitting, I think that’s what they said.
The Limping Chicken is the UK’s deaf blogs and news website, and is the world’s most popular deaf blog. It is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.
Please note that the views of the writers are their own, and not necessarily the views of the Editor or site as a whole. Read our disclaimer here.
- Phonak: innovative technology and products in hearing acoustics
- Ai-Media: Remote captioning. Check out these captioning fails!
- Bellman & Symfon: home alerting solutions
- Deaf Umbrella: sign language interpreting and communications support
- Clarion: BSL/English interpreting and employment services
- Appa: Communication services for Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing people
- Signature: Find out about the Signature conference here.
- SignVideo: Instant BSL video interpreting online
- 121 Captions: captioning and speech-to-text services
- Hearing Direct: Online hearing aids
- The National Theatre: Captioned and BSL accessible theatre in London
- Doncaster School for the Deaf: education for Deaf children
- SignLive: Online video interpreting for Deaf people
- RAD Tax Advice: Tax and Tax Credit info for Deaf people
- Deaf Independent: Deaf care and support services
- Signworld: online BSL learning and teaching materials
- Performance Interpreting: BSL interpreting at concerts
- National Deaf Children's Society: The leading charity for deaf children
- DCAL: Find out how to study at the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre, London
- cSeeker: Deaf-led educational communication support service
- Signed Culture: Advocating for BSL access to arts and culture
- Sarah Gatford: BSL interpreting, training and consultancy
- SignHealth: healthcare charity for Deaf people
- CJ Interpreting: communication support in BSL
- Sign Solutions:, language and learning
- Action Deafness Communications: sign language and Red Dot online video interpreting
- BSLcourses.co.uk: Provider of online BSL courses
- British Society for Mental Health and Deafness: Promoting positive mental health for deaf people
- deafPLUS: Money advice line in BSL
- Happy: Microsoft Office courses taught in BSL and SSE by a Deaf trainer – all abilities catered for
- Hamilton Lodge School in Brighton: education for Deaf children
- Lipspeaker UK: specialist lipspeaking support
- Ozen: Australian hearing aid specialists
- Elmfield School, Bristol: Inclusive education for Deaf pupils
- Exeter Deaf Academy: education for Deaf children