My Name is Not "Tell Her"

I was going to blog about a different topic but I’ll save it for another day since it requires a certain level of thinking that I’m not capable of at 2am.

I was heading to bed and happened to see this video of Marlee at the 1998 Oscars.

If you do watch this, please do not do what the reporter/interviewer does.

One of my pet peeves is when people constantly say “tell her.” I don’t mind when a person is not used to using an interpreter nor do I mind it if it happens every once in a while. (I’ve been guilty of this myself.) It’s a whole different story when someone does it constantly after I’ve explained that they don’t need to. They can just ignore the interpreter and talk directly to me. Most of the time I ignore it unless it’s with people that I interact with on a daily basis.

Why is it important to me? I would say a lot of it has to do with respect. I could go into more details here but it’s 2am.

Since a post is not complete without an example:
I was on my high school gymnastics team one year. For some reason there were a few girls along with my coach who never quite understood not to say “tell her” when talking to me even though I gently reminded them from time to time. One day I was talking to a teammate while we were rotating on the bars and every fifth word she said seemed to be “tell her.” I finally could no longer resist the urge (those of you who know me know that I like to joke around) and with a smile I said “my name is not tell her, it’s Kelly.” Unfortunately, this girl completely missed the hint and continued to say “tell her.” 🙂

So, for those of you who aren’t used to using an interpreter…I have 2 suggestions that many deaf people will greatly appreciate and will make the situation more comfortable for both sides.
1) Maintain eye contact with the deaf person when possible. You may find that the deaf person you’re talking to may not make eye contact with you as much because she/he has to watch the interpreter also. So, don’t take it personally. 😉
2) Avoid saying “tell her/him.”

If you happen to forget to maintain eye contact or if you accidentally say “tell him/her.” No worries, we won’t bite you. We’ve been guilty of doing the same thing when talking to a hearing person through an interpreter.

Hopefully tomorrow I’ll remember what I originally wanted to blog about.

4 thoughts on “My Name is Not "Tell Her"

  1. Before we had dinner with you when you were in town, Chris was telling me, “I feel bad b/c I can’t sign and I’ve never actually talked to anyone who’s deaf before…” The first thing I told him was “talk to her, NOT to me. I’ll interpret, but remember you’re talking to her, not to her through me.”

  2. It’s probably the same story with a lot of deaf people. I get that a lot when I make relay calls…but for some reason I never really noticed anyone using “Tell him” with me frequently in person. Probably because I usually talk back to the person using my own voice when the interpreter has relayed the message. Most likely made it easier for the hearing person to be reminded that he/she’s talking to me, not to the interpreter.

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