Cheryl Thomas, CI and CT, NIC Master, SC:L, NAD V

Region IV: Cabot, AR

How long have you been a member of RID?

17 years (Ack!  That aged me!).  Thank goodness you didn’t ask how many years I’ve been interpreting!

Describe a favorite assignment or accomplishment you’ve achieved as an interpreter. 

The greatest accomplishment I have as an interpreter is an ongoing one.  I love to train interpreters and work with those who are new to our field, or those who are pursuing a new challenge in their careers such as specializing in legal interpreting.  When someone gives me a call for assistance or says, “thank you” and I see that special look of success and pride in themselves, I have accomplished another goal.

What are your professional goals as an interpreter?

As a CODA (Heritage Signer), an interpreter, and person, my goal is to make sure to say, “thank you”.  It sounds like a weird goal, but over the years I have learned that it is not ME who interprets for my family, it is my colleagues.  Those interpreters allow me to be just another family member.  They’re the ones interpreting for my family when I’m away and they come into their lives during the most intimate situations and do no harm.  My colleagues give up time from their families and their own lives to interact with mine.  They take a little bit of my family with them and leave a little bit of themselves behind with us.  In return, I have the blessing and the honor of being allowed into the lives of others, sometimes at their most vulnerable moments.  In this manner, we are all intertwined; CODA, Deaf and hearing no matter where we live or where we travel.

It is my goal to ensure that I can work with interpreters (both spoken and sign language) in a positive and supportive manner to aid each one I meet in order to better their skills and to see them believe in themselves in way which will allow them to grow and learn.

I carry a number of certifications (NADV, CI, CT, NIC-M, SC: L, EIPA K-12 5.0 performance, and my BEI Court).  I always joke that RID was having a fire sale and I was ON IT!

The certifications are indeed nice to have and the pay check that goes along with them does not hurt my feelings.  Although I did earn them,  I must always remember how and why I did.  I have been successful because the Deaf and interpreting communities give of themselves, and I am able to incorporate their teachings into my professional and at times, my personal life.  Whether or not the interaction is positive or negative, it is an opportunity to learn from and grow with each other.

Every time I speak of or mull over these things, it brings tears to my eyes. Thank you all for what you do and how much you give.

Tell Us Any Fun Facts About Yourself! 

(Hobbies, favorite vacation spots, etc…)

I am a Canadian citizen who happens to live in Cabot, AR. My husband and I have four children and six grandchildren whom we love to bits and pieces.

I ride a Honda Interstate 1300 motorcycle for relaxation and fun, and we ride with the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association.  We do this for camaraderie, fun, and to give back to our community through the many volunteer opportunities it provides.  We are a military family (both Canadian and American) and we currently have a son serving in the U.S. Navy.

When we have the opportunity to vacation, you will find us on a mountain road, by a campfire or laying on a beach.