Tag Archives: identity

Eliza Greenwood: Interpreter with Bright Focus

Eliza Greenwood
ASL Interpreter, Artist & Social Entrepreneur
Owner of Greensoda Productions

Eliza in Hawaii, December 2013

Hawaii, December 2013

The thing I most love about my interpreting work right now is being in the middle-school environment. I enjoy the rush and chaos of students in the hall and tween angst in the classroom. I find millenials so interesting and worthwhile. I am lucky to be at a school with a DHH program where there are other DHH staff to support our students and each other. Each of us strives to strike the balance in our interpreter-educator roles, which vary based on our backgrounds and the needs of each student.

Eliza, Rocky Mountains, bike lesson with brother, May 1988

Rocky Mountains, bike lesson with brother, May 1988

Having a good life-balance at work, I believe, helps me have “juice” for my arts/creativity in my own business and helping others with their endeavors. When someone comes to me with a unique business dilemma, I am eager to help solve it, like a puzzle. I enjoy interacting with other creatives and feeling like I am helping to make a difference in the world. I am a “social entrepreneur.” Navigating this is sometimes tricky, because my altruist-self would love to simply give away the work for free, but my entrepreneur-self (the one who sees that the studio lights stay on) recognizes that being mindful of business is key. I am proud of how I have worked towards this balance through the long and challenging journey of creating and distributing my award-winning documentary.

Eliza, with award for Best Film that Breaks Down Stereotypes from the International Disability Film Festival "Breaking Down Barriers" in Moscow, Russia, November 2012

Eliza, with award for Best Film that Breaks Down Stereotypes from the International Disability Film Festival “Breaking Down Barriers” in Moscow, Russia, November 2012

My identity as an artist and social entrepreneur has also informed my interpreting work, certainly. For example, when tutoring students, it can enhance the learning process to swap stories. They are interested to know what it is like to help secure film festival sponsors and travel internationally, for example. On down-time, I have also helped obtain equipment for the classroom by drafting/editing grant proposals with my boss. I share this now with the understanding that it fits my particular circumstance, but for many other interpreting situations, it might not work at all. I like the below image because it reminds me of the cautiousness and tension between our compartmentalized/neutral interpreter roles and how we bring ourselves into our work.

If I were to give advice about managing these varied aspects of our lives as interpreters, I would recommend being mindful about the balance between our own input and output. You see, we act as message/information conduits, so the flow of communication energy can blur into our own. In the past, one tendency for me has been to lean towards being more outspoken and visible. Lately, however, it has manifested inward. I’ve been reading books and making time for one-on-one friendships. I have also found it helpful to do vision boarding on Pinterest as I recalibrate my input/output frequencies. The below bike in the tree image speaks to this for me; we inherently leave imprints with our service (as interpreters, artists, activists, whatever), and the work affects us, too.

Bike in tree, Vashon Island

Vashon Island, WA

This is the fifth post in a series on interpreters who are putting their hearts back at the center of their work. To read other stories and get inspired toward the life of your dreams, click here. If you’d like to be featured or know an interpreter who’s doing something great please email me!