Saturday, 4 January 2014

Not all signers are hearing interpreters..

From an article/blog by Susan Sacco, reflecting on the fact no-one oversees the accuracy, or real qualifications of signing interpreters, or, the fact many deaf are using no-one qualified at all, but hearing family members, maybe that is where they should start ?  

If deaf approve the use of amateurs and prevent professional interpreters coming in, then who is at fault ? Clearly, deaf people, whether ASL or BSL-using, are architects of their own deprivation of proper support. What we saw in S Africa was the level of sheer ignorance of sign language, or anyone apart from a deaf signer knowing what was said, so, anyone could step up and do it !  We can claim no such ignorance. If only deaf people in the USA/UK were so outraged at their own reluctance to ensure they can follow... and dedication to old habits and reliances, instead we complain African doesn't...

One sobering statistic should shock but doesn't, 78% of hearing families of UK deaf (Including children), support them, not professional interpreters, so we got no demand to lobby for, I wonder why we then complain ?

Several weeks ago, a story broke out about a fake interpreter in South Africa working at Mandela's funeral. Several days later, people would ask me how I felt about this as it was all over the news and people were outraged by this.

This happens often, and even in the Quad-Cities. All too often, hearing people in hospitals, courts, police departments, treatment centers and doctor offices will make a call for an interpreter. Once that person shows up and starts signing, the hearing person feels that they have done their job and that is good enough. Unfortunately, there are many times the "interpreter" is what I call a "signer," someone who knows how to sign. Or it could be an interpreter who is not qualified or licensed for that situation.

As a result, that deaf or hard-of-hearing person goes without quality communication, mis-communication or even no communication. That a deaf or a hard-of-hearing person gets the wrong treatment, ends up in jail, goes without services or even worse.

I hear stories of our hospitals and courts with no interpreter or an unqualified interpreter. It is sad to say, but it doesn't make the news or get reported on CNN.