This weekend, at my church, we had a guest pastor preach for us. I guess it was completely exhilarating for him to have an interpreter share the stage with him. However, his excitement quickly turned into mockery. Sadly, I was not there to read people's faces first-hand or show my displeasure with what was going on.
It was told to me by 2 different accounts that the guest speaker was throwing out any words he thought could make her move in funny ways... like a puppet. And being very young and sweet, she did everything he said.
Sadly, I think he got away with an awful mockery of the Deaf's language. Can you imagine if a pastor got on stage and made fun of tribal languages? What if a pastor made fun of other leaders while they did their ministry work? It's just wrong.
When we are on that stage, we are there to communicate God's Word first. Secondly, we are WORKING, sifting out words needed and those not needed. I am in eye contact with full communication happening. It is the same reason why you don't run up to a service dog and pet it. They are working. Please don't make interpreters become puppets. Thirdly, what we do is stressful and requires 110% concentration in translating what is said without any pauses for us to catch-up. I once had a pastor start to make a joke my way and I was so busy signing, I almost missed that it was about ME.
I also once had a pastor who spoke about castration. Just as a warning, don't go there unless you want all the kids on the front row to see a completely visual language!!! Some signs don't require any training to understand.
That is my word of advice to all pastors new to having interpreters.