On the 7th of March 2023, Sign Language Interpreters in the Western Region had a day’s training workshop at the Church of Christ premises in Takoradi.
The event was organized by the Western Regional Coordinating Committee – RCC of the National Association of Sign Language Interpreters, Ghana (NASLIG) in collaboration with Felike Language Consult (FLC). The workshop was in line with NASLIG’S objective to sharpen the interpreting and translation skills of its members across the country.
NASLIG members work across the country. In the Western Region just as in other regions, they work in different settings such as in health, educational, legal, religious, and social settings. Interpreters focus on conveying meaning between the deaf and non-deaf / hearing communities often using and watching sign language.
During the event, interpreters were taken through topics such as Professionalism, Specialization as SLIs, Code of Ethics for SLI practitioners, Omission Taxonomy, and the need for Team Interpreting. Mr. Asare Idan Turkson encouraged the interpreters to approach every interpreting / translation assignment with the highest level of professionalism the assignment deserved. In addition. Mr. Richmond Baidoo, the Western Regional NASLIG RCC Secretary led another presentation on interpreter discussions about ethics. He reminded the terps that one key condition for professionalism is respect for the Code of Ethics that guide the work of Sign Language Interpreters.
Mr. Isaac Abakah the CEO of FLC and the NASLIG RCC Coordinator for Western Region impressed upon the interpreters to be very mindful of possible omissions they may make when they are interpreting. He emphasized that even though omissions are unavoidable when performing an interpreting task, interpreters should be conscious of such omissions so that they do maintain the sanity of their interpretation.
Dzeani Phinehas, the Project Manager of FLC, and Executive Secretary of NASLIG entreated the participants to also consider the possibility of specializing within the profession. For instance, interpreters who may specialize and enhance their expertise in diplomatic settings may become more experienced and efficient in that setting than taking all types of assignments in all types of setting. He again encouraged participants to consider working in interpreting teams as much as possible rather than working solo.
Participants shared many interesting experiences about their work in the region. For instance, one participant indicated that female interpreters in certain settings were prevented from interpreting just because of their gender. Other interpreters complained bitterly about extended periods they were made to work often in tertiary institutions without taking breaks. Some also indicated that they were also not permitted to work with teams of interpreters, even for events and assignments that went beyond an hour. This, some said has caused them to suffer from repetitive strain injuries.
It is the hope of NASLIG, FLC and the various RCCs that through these ongoing regional professional development training workshops the work of SLIs in the Western Region and in Ghana at large would be refined to meet global standards.
Dzeani Phinehas (Beautiful-D)
NASLIG Executive Secretary