Monday, 6 May 2019

Wearing two hats?

Interpreters must interpret it's a violation of privacy to act any differently in the UK.  They are not allowed to advise or to help any form of decision-making.  

Not even when the client has other communication issues, the same should but doesn't, apply to the family too.  One suspects the issue is no social services there, this has created privacy issues in the UK too.

To wear a teacher’s hat or an interpreter’s hat?

If you are a sign language interpreter in the Philippines, there is almost 100% chance that you are also a teacher for the deaf. Although there is a significant upsurge of interpreters due to an increasing number of institutions that teaches sign language lessons, still, the most readily available place to seek their services are in schools for the deaf even though only quite a handful of them is experienced and qualified.

With these conditions, situations may arise wherein you are compelled to wear either a teacher’s hat or an interpreter’s hat. It is certainly not at the same time. But what if you are in a situation where you want to wear both hats or even switch hats in midstream?

A month ago, one of our former deaf teachers in MCCID messaged me requesting for an emergency interpreting for our former deaf student. To protect his privacy and for ethical concerns, I will try not to mention anything that might reveal his identity.

Our teacher explained to me that the student’s mother died a few days earlier and is on the funeral wake. His father died a few years ago due to complications from alcohol abuse. Since the deaf is an only child, his aunt together with his uncle were the ones who took care of the funeral preparations. The aunt and uncle are siblings of his mom. They are also doing the legwork in processing their sister’s benefits and claims. His uncle and his family started living in their house when his father died. The deaf needs to know what is the cause of her mother’s abrupt demise and more importantly, what will happen to his future. Since no one in his family knows sign language, he is at a quandary. He needs someone to interpret for him clearly what was going on. So he requested for my service.

In our school, we conduct personal home visits to the families of our deaf students. As my former student, I am familiar with the situation of his family. When I went to the funeral the next day, I was greeted by his aunt and some of his relatives. She was very happy that I came and very relieved that finally, she can explain to her nephew about his situation through a sign language interpreter. With this, I safely wore my interpreter’s hat.

Monitoring deaf kids

Let's talk about deafness

Talking about ASL culture and language, not about deaf or Hard of Hearing people! There is, NO one language, NO single culture, No one 'right' education, or one size fits all either. It is all about the experience of the individual, so, there is no deaf community either if you capitalise it or not.  Since 2 people constitute a bona fide culture and 3 a community, the concept is meaningless in the scheme of things.  10m in the UK with hearing loss, less than 30,000 profound deaf and even fewer of them part of the 'community' and 'culture'.  The USA is no different. They are talking less than 2% of the hearing loss population, however, born deaf aren't included in that statistic 'loss' being the driving point.

The biggest issue holding back people with hearing loss and deafness are, those who try to stereotype them. Mostly under the guise as some 'oppressed' area.  Aka, they do it themselves mostly.  Just be yourself and accept that people are actually diverse I don't mean politically or via dogma but by respecting people as themselves and not as a label to be tagged with.

The biggest stereotype deaf are endorsing is that of the deaf culture, and deaf language, when no numerical statistic extant supports it.  It's a case of believing the hype, not the fact.  It's of concern young people are well-meaning but pretty confused on identities too, to the extent they allow others to define it and go public endorsing it creating more uncertainty with vulnerable people.  In the end, it promotes D for 'Division' not difference or diversity.