SLIANZ Conference 3-5 July 2015: Novotel, Christchurch

For those who couldn't make it to our annual conference this year, or if you would like a comprehensive recap of the amazing workshops and presentations, here is a Conference report by Lynx and Jenn Gilbert 

Friday night

The conference weekend began with a gathering on Friday 3rd July at the brand new Canterbury Deaf Society club rooms - a lovely, light, welcoming space. It was a great opportunity for interpreters to meet some of the local Deaf community, catch up with old acquaintances and forge some new friendships. Interpreters were welcomed by Evelyn Pateman, long time member of Canterbury Deaf Society, and Rebeccah Curtis, President of SLIANZ. Evelyn had cleverly created a fun game of 'Guess Who', where the audience was invited to look at 26 photos of various NZSL interpreters aged 0-5, and guess who they were. Thanks to the Canterbury Deaf Society for a wonderful evening - and may the club grow and prosper in its new home.


Phillip Harper- SLI with technology

Phillip began the conference by taking us through a review of technology and communication for Deaf people globally from 1975 until the present. He explained the influence that the development of technology has had on Deaf peoples lives- previously the main worldwide communication technology was the phone, which of course most Deaf people did not have access too. Now with a plethora of new technology, there are many ways for Deaf people to communicate.

He then led onto the crus of his presentation- discussing Video Interpreting as one of the communication tools that Deaf people can use. He covered many of the challenges for interpreters who work in this context- the unknown environment, the uncontrolled nature of the work, the lack of context, the need to be immediately adaptable to different registers, the ability to manage turn taking and missing subtle conversational clues.

Amongst all these challenges he offered different solutions. The first and main consideration is whether a interpreting context is appropriate for video interpreting or if a face to face interpreter is needed. He explained that a general doctors appointment might be fine with a video interpreter, however an in depth discussion before surgery or with a diagnosis would not be an appropriate time for this.

There are issues rising from the proliferation of video interpreters in that many of the skilled interpreters will go and work in the call centers, leaving interpreters with less experience in the community as the only option.

He finished by explaining that in Europe they are developing a centralized video interpreter center, however this would be challenging to set up in the Oceania Pacific region.


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