How Lindsay Created (and Keeps Building) Her Career in ASL

By Sara Porcaro | Jul 14, 2021
American Sign Language, Internship, Interpreter, ASL, Deaf, DHOH, Rhode Island, Disabilities
ASL Interpreter Coordinator Lindsay Mullowney

The importance of language--and being able to access language--is something we often take for granted. From something as simple as understanding the waiters asking for our orders at our favorite restaurants, to something as crucial as understanding our doctor's instructions on how to improve our health, and the many moments in between, we trust that we can express ourselves, our wants, and our concerns effectively with virtually everyone around us. But for some of our community members, the need for effective, clear communication isn't always so easy to fulfill--especially for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Rhode Islanders.
Often, members of the DHOH community will need skilled interpreters in certain situations to bridge the gap between American Sign Language (ASL) and English. As a result, the need for talented, passionate interpreters is always growing, with students graduating from degree programs, getting certified to interpret in Rhode Island, and joining teams like Perspectives to make sure individuals are heard and understood. That's why today, we're taking a moment to recognize the success of ASL Interpreter Coordinator Lindsay Mullowney for passing her certification exam to become a fully certified ASL interpreter!
"I feel very lucky to have had the chance to take the exam," Lindsay says, "and I'm glad I passed. It's a tough skill, interpreting--but I love it, and given my life journey, I feel like this is what I'm meant to do."
"It's a tough skill, interpreting--but I love it, and given my life journey, I feel like this is what I'm meant to do."
Lindsay, who has been working with Perspectives on and off since 2008 while pursuing her studies and discovering her career path, has certainly had many nudges towards the DHOH community. She started with the agency as a lifeguard for a now discontinued summer camp program, working with youths to ensure their safety throughout the camp hours, and some years later, she returned to be an ASL intern while studying online at Valdosta State University. As someone who was always interested in ASL--and whose husband is a member of the DHOH community--Lindsay has been drawn to the world of ASL from the start, and she uses it daily in her home life. As she strove to find her place in the professional world, it seemed that ASL and interpreting were to be a cornerstone of it, and she's excited to see where the future takes her with the Perspectives ASL Interpreting Team.
"I have such a great team around me at Perspectives," Lindsay says. "They helped me learn so much about interpreting. Not every day you get to work with peers as cool as this team!"
Especially as they're a team that wants to see everyone thrive and do their best by the individuals we serve. Rhode Island is one of the states that requires all interpreters to be certified in their work, which Lindsay appreciates, because she knows that what goes into interpreting is far more than simply translating words. It's interpreting emotions, mediating tough situations, maintaining good relationships between parties, and responding to scenarios professionally. With interpreting more standardized, it's important that individuals have interpreters they can rely on to relay accurate information and express their responses in kind, and both the state and the Perspectives team take it seriously, helping each other grow into their roles and excel.
"It's tough work," notes Lindsay, "especially having to interpret in real time. But everyone provides great feedback here; they're so loving and supportive, never harsh when they have criticism. This is a fantastic team, and such a great place to work, and after COVID-19, with so many opportunities for interpreting in virtual events, we've definitely got a lot of great work to do."
And the team is continuing to press ahead, finding more ways every day to not only foster a DHOH-friendly space for professionals at Perspectives, but also work to bring their skills to the greater community. From webinars to COVID-19 briefings, internal meetings to interpreting for individuals we support at important appointments, their work is critical, and Lindsay's achievement is absolutely one to be proud of. Congratulations on your certification, Lindsay; we're looking forward to seeing where you take your skills next!


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