What do you think of Deaf Courfeyrac and Video Relay Combeferre? (AKA, the one who translates speeches and news programs to sign language)
Okay, my understanding of all this isn’t necessarily the best and there’s really only so much research I can do at midnight, so please be kind. Anyways, my first thought was the sort of VRS stuff you get with a phone service? Like where Person A is d/Deaf and speaks over camera through an interpreter to Person B who’s hearing.
A(speaking English) <—-> C (speaks both, interpreting) <—–> B (speaking ASL, has a camera and a screen so that they can see C and C can see them)
this case we have Person B as Courf, and Person C as Combeferre.
this actually made me laugh so hard when I first saw it??
Because the thought of how this goes from “professional,
disconnected strangers” to actual friends is just beautiful.
this is Combeferre’s job. He is good at it. He – is –
professional. He loves the very real challenge of getting up every
day, going into a completely new, random situation, and needing to
translate two completely different languages in real time so that
they maintain nuances and the conversation can be successfully
carried out between two people. Sometimes it’s bizarre or exciting
or unsettling, though often, when it comes to the conversations
themselves, it’s sort of dull. And maybe today has been
relayed one conversation that was basically twenty minutes of two
people discussing how much the other’s children have grown. One was
about a very unfortunately placed rash that someone has. One
involved an older hearing person who Combeferre really wished knew
ASL because her hearing was going and he ended up needing to repeat
the same recipe for oatmeal-raisin cookies to her about four times.
He is genuinely going out of his mind with boredom and all he can
think about is the book in his bag which he really wants to take out
he gets connected onto another call. And suddenly he has this face
full of a quite young, quite attractive
young man with this huge, dimpled smile and curly hair and really
Combeferre is a professional. So he tells himself.
he’s waiting for this discussion to be, oh I don’t know, talking to
his mom about who’s turn it is to take the dog out, or about
homework, or something equally dull because that has been his day.
Instead the hearing person on the other line sounds like they’re
voice is literally made out of fire and they start having this
intensely passionate political debate and it’s all Combeferre can do
to stay detached and professional and relay the message without
putting his two bits in. It is easily the most fun call he’s had all
day – probably all week – because his Deaf client (called
Courfeyrac by the hearing one who answers to Enjolras ) has just the
most beautiful speech,
he talks with his entire body so enthusiastically he’s repeatedly
nearly throwing himself out of his chair, and Combeferre is genuinely
loving trying to interpret for the man called Enjolras because he
speaks so passionately that it feels like it takes all of
Combeferre’s energy to properly translate it.
brief interlude: imagine Combeferre trying to pronounced Enjolras’
name when Courf finger-spells it at him. Or imagine him trying to
figure out how the fuck you spell “Courfyerac” when Enjolras says
it – are there protocols for that? Or is it the Starbucks’
yeah, despite everything else Combeferre ends that day very happily.
He goes home that evening still thinking about Courfyerac, and even
finds himself looking up some of the topics him and Enjolras were
talking about later that evening instead of reading more of his
it was a one time thing, it was fun, but like any other job it passes
and he moves on to new conversations between new people.
all of a sudden he’s faced with Courfeyrac fiddling with his camera
again. This time it’s not Enjolras he’s talking to but a man called
Feuilly and they’re trying to make plans for a rally they’re
apparently having soon and once again Combeferre is completely
that could have been called a coincidence, until, a few weeks later,
he connects to another call and is once again faced with Courfeyrac.
And once again has to dredge of every little bit of his schooling and
experience to stay professional.
Because holy shit Courfeyrac is actually the cutest boy to ever sit
in front of a camera. And once again he goes home and fucking
daydreams about this
random client and his wonderful views on politics and how clever he
is and how charming he is and how Combeferre really, really, really
wants to actually talk to him, not just relay someone else’s words to
him from the other side of a screen.
then it happens a fourth time, and
Combeferre has a complicated relationship with religion but in this
moment he is now certain that some sort of greater being exists
because it or he or they are clearly trying to torment him at this
point. Except this time he’s on a late shift, and he’s tired as fuck
and has been chugging coffee like it’s water, and Courfeyrac has
called up a person called Grantaire. Grantaire is not a fun person
to interpret for because he seems to write a novel just to say a
sentence and laces that novel very heavily with obscure metaphors and
references. He is also a wonderful person to interpret for because
he has a fiendishly clever sense of humour that has Combeferre’s lips
twitching in amusement. But jokes and puns do not translate easily,
especially from ASL where puns are physical. So, exhausted and
amused and just thrilled to see Courfeyrac again, when Courf tries to
tell Grantaire a particularly bad joke that he’s desperately trying
to figure out how to translate, he can’t help it, he cracks. He just
doubles over and starts howling with laughter because good lord that
was so terrible it was actually the worst joke he has ever
heard and that does it he is absolutely in love.
he’s finally able to compose himself again (and feeling awful, shit
shit shit, that was really unprofessional, he is not supposed to do
that, he’s not supposed to be involved in the conversation, not if it
involves interesting politics or bad jokes or even cute boys) he
straightens and just sees Courfeyrac grinning
at him so hard it has his eyes all crinkled up – it may be the only
smile in the world that can truly and accurately be described as
beaming. It’s like
then Courfeyrac signs So this is probably super weird but
I’m pretty sure I’ve had you do some of my other calls before and you
probably don’t remember me at all but can we get coffee sometime?
Please?? Except, shit, I don’t know where you live. Cyber coffee?
We could sit in our own houses and Skype drink coffee?
Skype drink coffee together two days later.)
(also: Courf definitely noticed the really cute VRS operator he kept getting connected to because he’s never seen anyone manage to sign Enjolras’ speech quite that well. Plus, he keeps getting this little crease above his eyes like he’s genuinely thinking about what they’re talking about, or his mouth’ll quirk a little at the jokes like he’s trying really hard not to laugh and dang it Courf really wishes there was some way he could just break the fourth wall and make this operator talk because he really looks like he has something to say and Courf really want to hear it.
When he got that last call with Ferre, it was because he’d convinced R to join him in his VRS operator hunt which basically involved him repeatedly calling and hanging up until he found the right one, and then being a sarcastic little shit with R since the interpreter seemed to be a sucker for clever jokes and Courf will break him.)