Sign language interpreters, mediators to help deaf conduct business and access services


A souvenir photograph of the group of people who have been trained with Mrs Gendrot outside the court house

Officials from government ministries and departments conducting official business with deaf people, doctors who have difficulties understanding deaf patients, the media wanting to interview a deaf person can also seek the professional expertise of an interpreter and mediator.

All this is being made possible now that a group of eight people – four hearing and four with hearing impairment – have already completed the first part of a training conducted by Monique Gendrot from an institute for the deaf in Paris, France.

Mrs Gendrot carried out the training programme, which is being funded under the 10th EDF grant, between the month of October and November. The second part of the training will be done next year.

The chairperson of the Association for People with Hearing Impairment (APHI) and project coordinator Anita Gardner said Mrs Gendrot has used a technique that sign language interpreters can apply to communicate and inform deaf people, especially those who are not using the formal sign language.

Those taking part in the training spent a lot of time in court.
“The delegates enjoyed the training. We spent a lot of time in court as the training concentrated on interpreting court sessions. We had to learn about the whole operation of the judicial system," said Mrs Gardner.

Mrs Gardner said providing proper access to necessary services to deaf people is in line with Article 9 of the UN convention for the rights of people with disabilities.

“Using an interpreter will give deaf people full access to all services and also provide a protective cover for service providers,” added Mrs Gardner.

She says many people take communication with deaf people too lightly.
"Some people say they understand us and we understand them. This is fine as long as everything goes well, but when and if things go wrong then many problems can arise,” Mrs Gardner pointed out.

She said it is a right for a deaf people to request for an interpreter whenever he or she feels there is a need.
On behalf of Aphi and all deaf people, Mrs Gardner expressed her heartfelt thanks to everyone who have made the project possible and the court personnel for all their support.

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