Friday, 15 July 2011

Do we agree on the role of the Deaf interpreter? - Robert Adam

Several research has been conducted on Deaf interpreters. For example, Ladd (2001) calls it a collective community. Dr. Christopher Stone (2005) states that there are deaf and hearing interpreters in the deaf community and also deaf people have undertaken a variety of translation and interpreting roles (Stone, 2006).
Boudreault (2005) refers to this when deaf people interpret in the classroom.

So in the deaf club situation it means an exchanging of skills. So a person is good at certain skills and another in other skills, that is where the exchange will take place. For example, translating English letters or documents.

Deaf people who have the role of a deaf interpreter are bilingual in the spoken and written language.

People do often not know what deaf interpreters do exactly. What is it that do differently from hearing interpreters? People need to understand where deaf people are from and their background education. People understand the role of the hearing interpreter, but not the role of the deaf interpreter. But now people over the world are starting to realise the importance of a deaf interpreter.

Interestingly deaf and hearing people have different views on the deaf interpreter. Robert Adam provided an overview of the different terminology that can be found in the literature, such as relay interpreters, intermediary interpreters or ghostwriters (deaf people performing translation taks for other deaf people...).

What is a deaf interpreter?
  • A Deaf bilingual with skills in a spoken and asigned language
  • Deaf people wo work between two sign languages
  • Deaf people work with one sign language (ie deaf interpreter mirroring, working as a facilitator, working with deafblind persons)

There are many situations a deaf interpreter can be used. Such as written translation, tv translations, working with deafblind persons, etc.

According to MJ Bienvenue it is sometimes difficult for the hearing interpreter to ask for support of a deaf interpreter. But deaf interpreters are needed for a number of reasons such as when required by law, particularly in legal and medical settings, or for example mental health. Or you could use a deaf interpreter with a not yet qualified hearing interpreter.

A deaf interpreter must also learn the skills and the ethics wich are needed to carry out the profession.

We must acknowledge that deaf and hearing interpreters have different roles but that we must work closely together.

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