RECOMMENDATIONS FOR A CURRICULUM FOR DEAF INTERPRETERS
(IN INTERNATIONAL SIGN & ENGLISH)
The curriculum for Deaf interpreters has been developed through European co-operation during 2016-2018 via an Erasmus+ project.
A report on professions and educational levels of Deaf interpreters (DI) in Europe was completed during the project (see: Sommer Lindsay 2016). According to the report there are very different approaches to the education and profession of Deaf interpreters.
There are long traditions for the education of hearing sign language interpreters, but the education of Deaf interpreters is still ad hoc in many countries...
LEVEL OF EDUCATION
The interpreting profession is an expert profession and thus the level of education, as well as the levels of teaching and learning, should be appropriate. This curriculum is planned as a BA degree, which in our opinion is the minimum requirement for the educational level of interpreters.
The learning outcomes have been set at level 6 of the Common European framework, defined in chart 1 below. Our basic premise is that the education of Deaf interpreters should be on the same level and last as long as the education of hearing interpreters within the same country...
PLANNING AND STRUCTURING A PROGRAM
The education consists of five domains that we recommend be utilized. Respectfully each domain consists of several topics. The extent and focus of these topics can be modified according to the needs of each educational institution..
STUDENT ADMISSION AND ACCESIBILITY
The student admission criteria varies nationally, so it is hard to give comprehensive recommendations. Interpreter educations often measure e.g. language skills, suitable capacity and qualities to work as an interpreter. There are, in our experience, some general issues to address regarding Deaf students, and we will provide some insights to them in the following. The issues range from education politics to defining “Deaf”...
RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING
The system of recognition of prior learning (RPL) is used in varied ways in different European countries. With the help of the RPL-system the students can utilize previously acquired learning and skills as part of their degree. The learning could have been acquired in informal or formal (i.e. institutional) surroundings. The RPL-system enables the students to move forward with their studies without having to study things they already master...
There are some specific issues to consider when teaching Deaf interpreters: training deaf and hearing together, professional identity, assessment, language politics, and qualifications for teachers. We will cover some of these issues in the following.
When deaf and hearing students are trained together training must be equal. Deaf students should not become the study objects of hearing students, and The majority of the subjects studied and skills honed are similar...
The primary meaning of assessment is to give tools for the students to develop their know-how. Students need to get feedback (“feedforward”) about their strengths and areas of development. The students also need guidelines for their development.
The learning outcomes of this curriculum are competence based. It is possible to analyse and assess the students’ performances based on defined learning outcomes. The evaluation criteria can and should be devised according to the respective system of evaluation of the country and/or educational institution in question.
Education can be realized in different learning environments. The learning environments should be considered with care to find an appropriate environment for each entity...
INTERNSHIP (WORK-BASED LEARNING)
The aim of internships is to develop students’ abilities to apply their theoretical know-how to different real-world tasks and situations. The intent of practical training is that during the internship the theoretical knowledge combined with practical experience yield learning, know-how and expertise. It is always recommendable to connect literature and other materials with internships.
In the beginning of studies students observe and familiarise themselves with the working life professional field. From merely observing, the students gradually proceed to doing. At the end of studies they should be able to operate in the professional field, and they should also be able to evaluate and develop their own functions and the field...
DISCUSSION AND FURTHER POSSIBILITIES
Deaf interpreters are typically used as interpreters between two sign languages or between one sign language and International Sign, or as interpreters who modify language for consumers with distinct linguistic needs.
These consumers could be deaf people with mental, or cognitive disabilities, deaf immigrants, deaf seniors, or deafblind people. Those groups are among the most marginalized within the Deaf communities, and their limited access to interpreting services greatly impedes their integration into society...