BEHIND THE INITIATIVE
Deaf people working as sign language interpreters is a relatively new professional field. Deaf Interpreters are typically used as relay interpreters to interpret for consumers with special linguistic needs, or as interpreters between two signed languages or between one sign language and international signs.
The need for deaf interpreters is growing, but the provision of training and education specifically designed for deaf interpreters have not kept pace with the growing demand. In recent years only a few deaf Interpreter training programs have been set up in Europe, research into the area is scarce, and we still lack appropriate assessment tools for assessing the skills of deaf interpreters.
We are a cross sectorial partnership, consisting of five partners, representing Higher Educational Institutions undertaking deaf interpreter training, as well as national and European NGO’s in the field: Hamburg University, Coimbra Polytechnic Institute, Humak University of Applied Sciences, European Forum of Sign Language Interpreters, and Danish Deaf Association. Each partner will contribute to the project with their key staff members in this area of competence (primarily teachers and researchers within linguistics and sociology).
The main objective of the project is to enhance the quality, relevance and provision of deaf interpreter training. The long term objective is to contribute to removing barriers at the labour market for deaf interpreters.
Major obstacles for deaf interpreters today are lack of official training options and lack of recognition of the profession. Giving (future) deaf interpreters access to high quality training and certification will go a long way towards recognition of the profession, but also the findings of the research are expected to contribute to a better understanding and definition of the specific competences of deaf interpreters.
The findings of the project research will thus also contribute to the documentation needed, to pave the way for deaf interpreting as a profession in the future.
The partnership will in cooperation undertake surveys, studies and research into deaf interpreting in order to produce a description of the profession from various angles: primarily sociological and linguistic.
Furthermore the partners will develop a set of common recommendations for a deaf interpreter curriculum that will be applicable at various levels of education throughout Europe