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December 23, 2004

Eat, drink and be fingerprinted

From: News & Observer - Paleigh,NC,USA - Dec 23, 2004

By ANNE BLYTHE, Staff Writer

No one posed bare-bum on the basement copy machines.

But Deaf Access Inc. workers did line up at their holiday party intent on leaving body-part impressions. Marie Guernsey, president of the interpreting services company, insisted.

So as a Christmas tree beckoned upstairs aside a table laden with Swedish meatballs, mini-quiches, deviled eggs, veggies and sweets, 20 signers and transliterators lingered merrily.

They wisecracked. They slid up sleeves of glistening blouses, snazzy sweaters and other seasonal finery, then stopped talking long enough with their hands to get fingerprinted.

New licensure laws take effect soon. Guernsey had visions of convenience dancing in her head when she offered her 100-plus freelance and staff interpreters a chance to get their fingerprint cards and license photos at the annual bash.

"My husband was saying on the way here, 'You know, it seems kind of like one of those stings,' " Karen Magoon, a staff interpreter, jested. "You just imagine this big truck parked outside with all this electric equipment monitoring everything."

Dennis Morgan, a retired special agent with the eyeglass to detect distinctive finger swirls, was in the spirit. In a burgundy lab coat, he pressed 200 fingertips into an ink pad, rolled them on personalized cards and quipped about his unique invitation.

All in all, a night of digital fun.

200: fingers printed

10,412: members of national Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (as of July 2003)

24/7: hours and days that interpreters and transliterators are needed in the Triangle

© Copyright 2004, The News & Observer Publishing Company, a subsidiary of The McClatchy Company