[sw-l] RE: [DEAFACADEMICS-L] Definition of a Sign Language interpreter in your country

Shane Gilchrist Ó hEorpa shane.gilchrist.oheorpa at FRANCISMAGINN.ORG
Wed Jan 19 09:53:55 UTC 2005


Good news re: the recognition of LSFB in the Communauté Française - I know
Helga Stevens in the Flemish Parliament is working on the recognition of VGT
there as well - too bad the Belgian Constitution isn't very specific about
languages in general use.

As long as Deaf sign language users keep shouting "deaf deaf deaf", it will
be about disability (no clear barriers between people with disabilities and
people without disabilities) - I think we need to work on the language

The most important thing is to find out WHO are LSFB users - rather than
their hearing status - many of our best NISL users here happens to be
'non-deaf' - and for me, it is about encouraging racism if we are obsessed
with whether one is Deaf, HoH or non-deaf. Do Finns really give a damn about
this? I don’t think so as I get to hear stories about how people with little
hearing get to be very fluent in SVK etc - and there's Australians (one cant
really tell if one is deaf or not) and of course, there's the Flanders (the
Vlaams region) where VGT users are much involved in the VGT development
therefore more respect for both sides.

You speak of 30 people on the LSFB Commission - how many of them are fluent
in LSFB? And do they really use LSFB in the Commission?

I think Paddy Ladd himself is being a bit unfair - we don't know if he is an
Alkerist or not - as Alkerism focus on the exemption of non-deaf BSL users
from the development of BSL, playing on the anti-hearing racism etc - the
sad fact is that there are people who focus on who r the owners of BSL when
the most important thing is to ensure that the language will survive,
continue on and GROW (that was the aim of the Welsh language community) -
and to ensure that the quality of the language is kept at a high level (also
the aim of the Welsh language community) - away from the influence of
English on the language itself - and accommodating (again, the aim of the
Welsh language community - most of their best Welsh language activists are
the ones who learned Welsh as their 2nd language!) Many people in England
have forgotten that it was thousands of BSL students who learned the
language that prompted the UK Government to do something about it.

The number of fluent BSL users is fast shrinking in England (do anyone
really wonder why many of the best BSL signers are from Scotland?)

The Northern Ireland Office, last year, have asked the Department of
Culture, Arts and Leisure for Northern Ireland to run a wee commission made
up of deaf organizations (a big mistake here) - and it turned out to be a
farce, a real play on disability etc - and the RNID kept going on about
health issues (which is totally unbelievable) - and what is even worse, the
non-deaf NISL users on the group won't use NISL - they'll revert to using
English instead - therefore it was more a disability consultation rather
than a sign language issues discussion.

(For this reason SLCB, my organization, have left - and Hands That Talk, the
most strong grass-root Deaf organization here with real fluent signers, also
has left)

Until we separate deafness from our national sign language, we will continue
getting this shit.

Shane Gilchrist Ó hEorpa
Sign Language Centre Belfast

-----Original Message-----
From: Deaf Academics [mailto:DEAFACADEMICS-L at LIST.UNM.EDU] On Behalf Of
Thierry Haesenne
Sent: 19 January 2005 09:16
Subject: Re: [DEAFACADEMICS-L] Definition of a Sign Language interpreter in
your country

Please find below Paddy's reply (he wasn't able to post this to the list).

Here is my reply:

LSFB was recognised following a research from two major French-speaking
universities (4 experts - 2 linguists and 2 psycholinguists - were asked to
draw an overview of the situation in French-speaking Belgium. I was part of
that team and I am the only one in that team to have been selected to join
the SL Commission).

The SL Commission has 30 members, of which 15 are effective. Our government
has decided to select members from different backgrounds. However, I am
still not happy with the number of Deaf people represented :
- General Deaf associations : 4 members (2 Deaf and 2 HoH)
- Association of parents : 2 members (hearing)
- Cultural, Sport or Leisure Associations : 4 members (2 Deaf and 2 hearing)
- Deaf schools : 8 members (hearing)
- social services for Deaf people : 2 members (1 CODA and 1 hearing)
- housing services for Deaf people : 2 members (hearing)
- sign language teachers : 2 members (1 Deaf, 1 hearing)
- sign language interpreters : 2 members (hearing)
- sign language experts : 4 members (1 Deaf - myself-, 1 HoH, 2 hearing)

The members were selected by the Government on basis of their CV (resume)
and their motivations.

The main problem in our Commission comes from a few people who supported
oralism in the past (and who still do nowadays), and those who support a
standardised "official" sign language (which I am totally against, just be
aware that an official sign language is being imposed in many deaf schools
and in most sign language classes, and that is not the language used by the
majority of Deaf people here). Overall, the number of effective members who
might cause a problem and who might not respect the Deaf community's point
of view and wishes is about 5.


>From: Paddy Ladd <pad.ladd at bris.ac.uk>
>To: thaesenne at hotmail.com
>Subject: Fwd: Rejected posting to DEAFACADEMICS-L at LIST.UNM.EDU
>Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2005 02:05:49 +0000
>>well done !
>>Yor govenrment puts our crappy mob to shame :-(
>>4 working groups !!
>>mind u, the whole point is that the ONLY parties to the debate
>>shud be the Govt and the Deaf communitys own officially elected body.
>>all the other organisations have to queue up at the door for that joint
>>group to consider
>>when they recognised welsh language they didnt talk to the ENGLISH
>>about how to draft a law.. that was for the govt and the welsh people
>>and thus same for us { well thats the aim !]
>>On Wednesday, Jan 19, 2005, at 01:32 Europe/London, Thierry Haesenne
>>>Hello everyone,
>>>As you may know, Belgian French Sign Language was recognised in
>>>October 2003
>>>by the French-speaking parliament of Belgium (Communauté Française de
>>>Belgique). Several deaf and hearing experts have been appointed to
>>>Deaf people's interests in a Commission which meets every two months.
>>>Commission has to submit proposals on various topics related to Deaf
>>>to the Government and these proposals may become legal some day...
>>>Recently, four working groups have been set up: interpreting,
>>>baby care and information. I am responsible for the "interpreting"
>>>Now my task is to find out more about the definition of a "sign
>>>interpreter" in various countries around the world. This is because
>>>there is
>>>still a big confusion when it comes to defining an "interpreter" here.
>>>"interpreters" work in mainstream schools and are part of a
>>>therapeutic team
>>>(speech therapists, psychologists, social workers, doctors, etc.)
>>>thus, they
>>>are not neutral and do not respect confidentiality as they must report
>>>incident that might have happened in class. Moreover, such
>>>work on their own 8 hours a day in a class (they have to translate
>>>everything that is being said, but as you know, interpreters cannot
>>>efficiently more than 20 minutes in a row; their brain needs to rest
>>>time to time; which has never been the case in mainstream schools.)
>>>Furthermore, they are hired as "therapeutic interpreters in visual
>>>(that is what their contract says). That covers Cued Speech, Signed
>>>and to a lesser extent, Belgian French Sign Language. These people
>>>have no
>>>training whatsoever and they are still labelled "interpreters". With a
>>>colleagues, I am fighting against this. In the Commission, there are a
>>>people who come from a medical background and they still believe that
>>>"interpreters" match the definition of a true sign language
>>>As I am getting more and more frustrated and filled up with anger, I
>>>am now
>>>seeking more information as how to fight their ignorance and
>>>Our local interpreters association is powerless in front of the medical
>>>lobby, because the profession of SL interpreter is not recognised yet.
>>>I am hoping that some people in this forum might help me find the
>>>right way
>>>to submit a clear overview of the current situation in the
>>>part of Belgium and to submit new proposals based on scientific facts.
>>>Thank you very much in advance.
>>>Thierry HAESENNE

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