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A language development collaboration- NASLIG/GNAD

An exercise to develop mental health vocabulary in sign language

The National Association of Sign Language Interpreters, Ghana- NASLIG, continue to work with the Ghana National Association of the Deaf- GNAD. This is to support the WASLI board strategic plan 2019 – 23, on collaboration outlined by the WASLI board in 2019. NASLIG was honored to be invited by GNAD to be part of an event to produce mental health related sign language vocabulary for the deaf community in Ghana. This was very significant because it strengthened the need for strong collaborations between Deaf and Interpreter associations thus emphasizing one of the common goals of WASLI and WFD.


NASLIG was well represented by the national association president Clement Sam, the association secretary Dzeani Phinehas and two regional representatives- Lequeenda Pinamang and Peter Yiripae. Parameters that considered signs that were already common to the deaf community, signs that were simple enough for deaf Ghanaians to understand and those that did not connote negative and discriminatory ideas were used to formulate related mental health signs. The leadership of GNAD filmed and recorded signs that were accepted to be used. The recordings were to be used as a resource material to subsequently train interpreters and the Ghanaian deaf community.

It is our (NASLIG) goal to continue working closely with GNAD in line with our MOU signed in 2020 and in line with the collaborative aims and objectives of WASLI to add value to the work of interpreters and the deaf community in Ghana.




Marco N., Jonathan N., Peter Y., Clement S., Linda G., Pinto G., Dzeani P., Juventus N., Jonathan A., Godwin A., Cosmos W., Richard D.

Code of professional standards for interpreters

Standards that articulate ethical principles and values to guide all interpreters in their pursuit of professional interpreting practice


The following are key to the confidentiality standard.

  • Interpreters shall always maintain confidentiality and treat any information which may come to them in the course of their work as privilege information, not to be communicated to any third party.
  • Disclosure may however be necessary when an interpreter is legally required to do so or when not disclosing information could render the interpreter liable to prosecution.


‘Privileged information’ may be shared on a strictly confidential basis within recognized structures of professional support and training, whilst respecting client confidentiality.


We are witnessing another humanitarian disaster in Ukraine. Many of us are looking for ways to offer support. We understand that different routes can be used to support deaf Ukrainians and interpreters known to the Ukrainian Deaf Association.

Your goodwill will be used to provide shelter, food, transportation, and communication support for deaf Ukrainians and interpreters.

‘Support to the rights of deaf Ukrainians’



‘Ukrainian Society of the Deaf’


We (WASLI) note the great collaboration between our Ukrainian and Russian member associations within the WASLI family.


Working with the deaf community for GHS as a CHN                                      

The work

Gifty is a registered member of the National Association of Sign Language Interpreters- NASLIG. She has worked as a Community Health Nurse- CHN for the Ghana Health Service- GHS for some years now. She became attached to the deaf community in certain communities in the Central Region of Ghana. Even though Gifty was not employed by the GHS to work with the deaf community, she has volunteered her time and resources to learn her way into interpreter and deaf advocacy practice. She has volunteered to work as an interpreter with the deaf community in Apam and within communities in the Gomoa West District.

Since 2013, Gifty has performed the following services with the deaf community for the GHS.

She has…

  • visited many deaf individuals in their homes to teach them to read, write and develop language
  • interpreted between deaf individuals and their hearing families on health, family and other topical issues that have created communication challenges for such families
  • moved with other community health nurses to the communities and villages on national immunization days to interpret immunization procedures and health education messages for deaf persons and the communities they visit
  • organized and taken part in several health education and care support programs as Focus Antenatal Care for pregnant deaf women, national health insurance support for deaf individuals, deaf cultural awareness creation during disability forums, deaf adolescent health education, performing interpreting services for deaf individuals at the various health facilities within her working communities.


Gifty has received support from other NASLIG colleagues who she could contact for suggestions on how to be professional about her volunteering work and to ensure a balanced work ethic between her initial career as a health nurse and an interpreter/advocate. She singles out one Mr. Obeng who has also supported her work so much through the regional Ghana National Association of the Deaf- GNAD.


The downsides

Despite these seeming successes, Gifty has had moments where she has been very demoralized and depressed because of some demands of the work. She is so fond of the deaf community such that she refers to each of them as ‘my deaf’ when talking about them. For instance, she cannot let go of the incident where a male deaf died because she (Gifty) was not available to interpret to the health personnel at the facility to diagnose the problem of the patient. She was in school during that incident. It was later discovered that he was bitten by a snake at his neck. Apparently, this deaf man was in the forest cutting trees to prepare pestles for sale when he was bitten. He was able to drag himself home and tried to explain to his family in sign language about the incident, but they could not understand him. According to Gifty, if he was understood and taken to the health center for care within time, he would have likely survived.

Gifty interpreting at one of the community sensitizations events



Gifty hopes that NASLIG, GNAD and any stakeholder interested in developing professional interpreting and promoting deaf advocacy in Ghana would intensify their efforts around capacity building and collaboration. She anticipates taking part in future continuous professional development training for interpreters to improve upon her interpreter practice.

If you have anything to share with or to make a donation to support NASLIG Today newsletter, please contact the secretary: 0205537680 (Whatsapp only) or visualinterpretertrainers@gmail.com