At a young age, Sophie Macey learned American Sign Language to communicate with her deaf cousin, Yasmin, and forged lasting friendships with other deaf children throughout her time in school. Upon graduating, Sophie’s aunt encouraged her to pursue an ASL career and follow her passion of bridging the gap between the deaf and hearing communities.
Sophie became ASL certified in 2008 and interpreted in various industries. While interpreting at an elementary school, she witnessed the high turnover and poor quality of interpreters working with the students. Sophie knew something had to change.
In 2017, she took matters into her own hands and opened Bayou City Interpreting, an ASL interpreting agency dedicated to providing classrooms with quality interpreters. After a successful semester, Sophie hired six interpreters to meet the needs of her clients. Unfortunately, that was the same time Hurricane Harvey hit and the school districts closed. With bills and employees to pay, Sophie wasn’t sure how her business would survive.
“They weren’t processing our invoices,” Sophie said. “We were in a hard place… We were denied by our bank and our credit union. [Our business was] only nine months old, and even though we could show them hey, we have money coming in, it just isn’t here yet, nobody would lend to us.”
Sophie continued searching for funds and found LiftFund through her local Chamber of Commerce. “I was approved literally the day before payroll was due,” she said. “It really was like a Christmas miracle.”
Today Sophie and Bayou City Interpreting are doing what they do best: connecting students and communities through high quality and dedicated sign language services. “It is my dream to one day be able to take on other school districts,” she said.