Coimbatore - Interpreter Training Course Number 3
on Jen does Delhi with VSO (India), 13/Oct/2010 08:00, 34 days ago
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There are always some ups and downs in the first few days of the interpreter training. You rock up in a strange new town, unpack and prepare yourself and the trainers for what is to come. You take a long look at the list of names, their backgrounds and talk about their potential.Some of the people that you thought had promise and you were excited about just don’t turn up on the day: illness in the family, changed minds, live too far away, think because they have done a sign language course they don’t need to learn about interpreting. The last reason is the most disappointing. The primary aim of the training is giving specialised interpreter training to those that have language skills whether they are bilinguals by virtue of having Deaf family or friends or because they may have learnt some sign language already. Sign language and interpreting skills: two different things people.It’s great when you get random people turn up, those that you thought may never come and they transform over the week into knowledgeable, committed and passionate people. Being in an immersive environment for 9 straight days with members of the local Deaf community, learning from Deaf and interpreter trainers about linguistics and Deaf perspectives makes people’s ISL skills and use of specialised signs shoot through the roof.We’ve had tons of people having light bulb moments. The guy with a Deaf friend who thinks that Deaf people don’t know very much – he’d only met one Deaf person who’d had a terrible education. A couple of days with our brilliant Deaf trainer and he was a changed man. The teachers are often the best to see. In Coimbatore we were lucky to have three teachers of the Deaf attending. All had worked for a few years and some had a basic level of signing. One broke down and cried on day one. She said going through the sign language assessment that she realised how difficult it is to understandin a different language and how bad it was that she hadn’t used signing with the children for four years. I’ve found that these light bulb moments are the turning point for people. They improve dramatically and often go on to be the strongest advocates of Deaf people and sign language.As this was the last course I’ll be attending I have spent most of my time refusing to deliver or facilitate sessions in order to watch and play a more supportive role. I’ve been in the background watching, advising and providing input where necessary which gratifyingly has been hardly at all. I was struck down by fever oneday and took to my bed in the Deaf Centre in the next room. From there I could hear them all happily role-playing away. When I popped my flushed bedhead into the room to see if everything was ok I was sympathetically told to go back to bed!After two previous courses and an evaluation process it seems the changes we have made have left ASLI with a course that can be delivered for months to come to many potential or existing interpreters in India. I’m chuffed and really proud of the course content. Dramatic changes occur to participants over the nine days and it amazes me every time I see it. I can’t wait for the day when India gets much longer interpreter training programs. Just imagine the results that will be possible then.