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Shortage of sign language interpreters

Avneel Chand
Monday, October 30, 2017

THERE is a shortage of sign language interpreters in the country, says Fiji Association for the Deaf's project co-ordinator Krishneer Sen.

He said the association was trying to train more interpreters to meet the demands in hospitals, the police force and the courts, with education being the main focus.

"Our biggest challenge now is the lack of not only just sign language interpreters, but lack of professional sign language interpreters," he said.

"A lot of times it is difficult to find available ones.

"Now what we are trying to do is we are trying to provide sign language classes so that we have people who are interested and we actually identify competent ones.

"Then we train them so that they can be competent at university level, court.

"So at the moment we are trying to develop a proper course for at least the sign language level.

"So we are trying to work with the Government if they could support us on the need for increase of professional interpreters in Fiji.

"We are trying to work together with the Government in establishing a course, a curriculum for the sign language interpreters to provide this training through the universities that we have today like USP and to establish a standard pay so that we could lure in more people to work on this field."

Mr Sen said the demand for sign language interpreters increased as more deaf people continue to seek education, saying that it was difficult to cater for the demand with only 20 professional interpreters.

"We have only a few who we can say are professional interpreters and the demand for deaf people moving up in their education levels is increasing and trying to meet the demand for interpreters is actually very difficult now."

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