Report from the Deaf Interpreting NZ Workshop - June 13 2015
- Published: 03 August 2015
Facilitated by Anna Dubbelt.
Presenters: Darlene Thornton (Australia), Dr David McKee (Wellington), Dr George Major (Auckland).
Note-taker: Rachel Coppage.
Thirteen Deaf people attended and four hearing people attended (including the presenters).
Anna Dubbelt introduced the day with a brief mention of the purpose, ie: following on from the Connect Spring Workshop in December 2013 with Nicholas Padden-Duncan from the UK, to focus on exploring pathways to a qualification for Deaf Interpreting in NZ. She acknowledged the presenters and also the funders, namely: the NZSL Board; Waitakere Rotary; donations from interpreters and one Deaf person.
Darlene Thornton: Presentation
The workshop began with a presentation by Darlene Thornton. Darlene began with some definitions of interpreting and translation, and a discussion about the term 'Deaf Interpreter' (DI). This was followed by an explanation of the need for proficiency in both NZSL and English, for NZ Deaf Interpreters.
She continued her presentation with references to the Deaf Interpreting and Translation situation in Australia. She mentioned that most DI work is still voluntary, as funding is a critical issue. She mentioned that out of fifty Deaf students who undertook a course for Deafblind Interpreting, only five are still doing this vital work. She believed that if the interpreters were paid, there would still be a higher number of people willing to do this work. She is of the impression that NZ and the UK are more fortunate than Australia, with funding available from sources such as the Disability Living Allowance, WINZ and Workbridge allowing some potential access to funds for DI. A funding scheme is being trialled in Australia with limited success.
The next part of Darlene's presentation focussed on qualifications (historical and current) for Deaf Interpreters in Australia. She discussed the Deaf Relay Interpreter Certification Project (DRCIP) and the National Accrediting Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI). There have been issues with assessments. To date there have been 15 people awarded NAATI Deaf Interpreter recognition. There are currently five awards, two for translation and three for interpreting. So far there is no standardised rate, nor a tiered rating system which would recognise different levels of skill or experience.
Darlene also reported on some feedback from Deaf Interpreters and Translators about their experiences. The feedback was comprehensive and included issues such as demand and reliability of work; lack of awareness and training; lack of promotion; competitiveness between hearing interpreters and DI; the small community and small pool of DIs; privacy concerns.
There were also some detailed recommendations for the DI profession, including: the need for more research; the need for mentors; clear guidelines and categories for different Deaf Community clientele (eg children, refugees, Mental Health); team interpreter training; consultation with the Deaf Community as to need.