Monday, November 9, 2009

Student recalls the late Dave Still, one of the ‘grandfathers of interpreting’

Sign Language Interpretation instructor Dave Still (above) passed away suddenly in August. Second-year student Kevin Layne recalls “the Dave button” and what it was like to learn from “one of the grandfathers of interpreting.”

By Kevin Layne, 2nd year Sign Language Interpretation

Dave Still was an outstanding instructor. One attribute that will be remembered about Dave is that he had the ability to be at your level. Whenever we had a problem, Dave was there with support. Huge workload or not, Dave still found the time to sit with us and talk about concerns we had or share stories. He made a huge impact in our lives even though most of us only knew him for a short amount of time, which says a lot about who he was. He has touched our lives personally and as a group.

Dave would listen to our opinions with an open mind, and would accept feedback even though we are students. In class when we practiced with the Still Learning DVDs, we would ask to view his version of the interpretation. We called this button on the DVD the “Dave button” (mainly because it says “Dave”), but it became a running joke. Dave would hesitate because he would analyze his work, even though completed and burned to DVD, which showed us that it’s not important what level an interpreter is at, analysing your work to improve is always necessary and at times nerve-wracking.

Dave taught us that we have to consider the issues and “trust the process.” Without the process, interpreting can go astray, and students would constantly worry.

There was a side of Dave we were lucky to see – the humorous side. In our classes, there were many laughs from Dave poking fun at us, or students teasing Dave. It was as though we would feed off the energy Dave had, not the other way around. He had a way of getting us back into a rhythm even in the last class of the week.

We are lucky to have had a chance to learn from one of the grandfathers of interpreting and a role model for male interpreters. It seems the ones that impact our lives the most are here for a short time, perhaps to show us the path to inspiration. Thank you for the time you have given us, David Still. Your life and teachings will always be remembered in the hearts and hands of many.

A memorial for Dave Still is taking place on Saturday, November 14 from 1-3pm at the Royal Westminster Regiment Warrant Officers and Sergeants Mess, 530 Queens Avenue, New Westminster. People are encouraged to come and share their stories – interpretation will be available. Kevin Layne's post first appeared in the September issue of the WAVLI Ripple For an instructor perspective on Dave's legacy, see inside douglas.