1st Draft Feb 2010

Concept Paper on Sign Linguistics, Interpretation and Translation Course
A Rationale for the Establishment of the Sign Linguistics, Interpretation and Translation Course at RITS
1.0 Background The demand for qualified Kenyan Sign Language (KSL) interpreters is rapidly growing and is impacting the deaf community. Current indications are that Kenyan Sign Language (KSL) will be the new emerging language in Kenya. The expected new constitution is believed to give KSL preeminence on the clauses addressing issues of persons with disabilities as a language of communication for the Deaf in Kenya. The Kenya National Examination Council in January 2010 issued a circular making KSL an examinable subject in equal stature with English and Kiswahili. There is also an increasing number of students in Tertiary and Universities requiring the services of qualified, certified and competent interpreters. Kenya and the region is also budding with international conferences and forums involving the Deaf citizens thus widening the opportunities for interpreters. Current training programs are unable to keep up with the increased demand for highly-trained interpreters with a nationwide interpreter shortage as the result. The Kenyan Sign Language Interpreters Association (KSLIA), the national professional associations of sign language interpreters, Kenya National Association of the Deaf – KNAD, Global Deaf Connections and the Ministry of Education have also recognized the insufficient numbers of interpreters available to meet the market’s demand. The issues identified have been the lack of interpreter training programs, although some colleges, universities and private companies with interpreter training programs are aware of the need for improved quality and availability of training, many are simply unaware of the extent of the interpreter shortage in the community. The Deaf Aid project Kenya Registry of Interpreters and Transliterates for the Deaf (KRITD) in its white paper declared a “national interpreter crisis in the quantity, quality and qualifications of interpreters.” This white paper identifies how stakeholders can collaborate to marshal resources to increase and improve interpreter training programs to help meet the urgent demand to train larger numbers of new interpreters and upgrade the qualifications of existing interpreters. The Persons with Disabilities Act (PWD Act 2003) requires public institutions to provide “qualified readers or interpreters and other similar accommodations for individuals with disabilities” The major need is in public schools and higher education, but health care providers, hospitals, courts, public safety and other government offices are also seeing increased demand. Simultaneously, Deaf consumers of interpreting services have become more informed and are demanding higher quality interpreting services that meet their individual needs. Consumers and consumer organizations have expressed interest in being substantively involved in the identification, development, and delivery of the educational opportunities provided through these proposed areas of intervention. In order to train qualified interpreters to better meet the demand from consumers and consumer organizations, interpreter educators must be sufficient in number and be knowledgeable of current best practices. To address these issues and to contribute toward the education and training of a sufficient number of qualified interpreters to meet the communications needs of individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing and individuals who are Deaf-blind, the Regional Interpreters and Translators School and it’s partners proposes to establish priorities for the provision of educational activities for interpreters at all skill levels. The goal is to improve the quality of interpreters in the field by providing quality educational

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1st Draft Feb 2010

opportunities with consumer involvement throughout the process and with a specific focus on interpreters working with a variety of consumers in Kenya. 2.0 Purpose The purpose of this framework is to champion the training of currently practicing interpreters, train up coming interpreters and provide the Kenyan sign language interpreters with a forum for sharing knowledge and gain structured continued professional education. The objectives of the project will be to:a) Train sign language interpreters; b) Ensure the maintenance of the skills of sign language interpreters through continuing education; c) Provide opportunities for sign language interpreters to raise their level of competence through local and regional networking and collaboration. d) Develop information, education and communication materials for sign language interpreter training e) Strengthen capacity of sign language interpreter associations, clubs or networks regionally, nationally RITS envisions that the project which will be implemented through it’s partnership with key stakeholders in the sign linguistics field and this will result in the following:1. People will change their attitudes towards Sign Language and the Deaf. 2. Communication between hearing people and the Deaf will be enhanced. 3. Deaf people will have more or better access to information, education, political and socioeconomic activities or interactions. 4. Deaf Kenyans will have qualified and competent interpreters available to give interpretation services in various settings 5. Deaf people will gain more confidence in the learning process, self-expression, in communicating with hearing people and in fighting for their rights. 6. Creation of employment opportunities for Deaf individuals as trainers, and selfemployment opportunities for interpreters after training. 3.0 Target Population The aim of this program will be to provide the Kenyan Deaf and Deaf-blind community with a quality interpretation service to enable effective communication with the hearing community and insure sustainable employment ready pool of qualified interpreters. Our target population will be: 1. Individuals who have some interpreting capability but lack certification. 2. Practicing interpreters with no academic or professional qualifications 3. Family members and (volunteers) community interpreters already working in various fields 4. College students who have some Kenyan Sign Language and are eager joining the profession Clear guideline will be set up by RITS and the stakeholders in the admission conditionality and entry criteria. 4.0 Process and Strategies RITS believes that a comprehensive Sign Linguistics, Interpretation and Translation course will be the best rationale and strategy to gain support within the local and political community of the interpreters and Deaf in Kenya. Economic development is a high priority for most interpreters currently practicing they believe they need to investing in areas that will provide high paying job

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resulting in positive economic impact. RITS hopes to fulfill this need by: 4.1 Training Master Trainers/Mentors This will be a select group of resource persons trained and prepared for the program. 4.2 Publicity and Mobilisation and Recruitment RITS will use its websites, forums and brochures to market the course and recruit students and popularize the profession. 4.3 Testing and Referral for quality and certification RITS working with professional bodies in examinations, testing and quality to ensure the graduates are of high quality and competent in the areas of interpretation and translation service delivery. 4.4 Development and collection of IEC materials RITS, trainers, students and graduates will contribute to the development and collection of information, education and communication materials for use in training and referencing. 4.5 Monitoring and Evaluation Conducting education needs assessments and, based on the results, developing educational activities for delivery through the RITS courses and to collecting, analyzing and disseminate knowledge on Sign Linguistics, Sign language interpretation and deaf studies in the region. 5.0 Expected Deliverables RITS looks forward to sharing its success in working closely with all interested parties in finding ways to recruit, train and employ highly qualified sign language interpretation professionals. While the shortage of interpreters is a reality we have found a successful formula to help provide the avenue for training and develop the curriculum to foster the development of additional sign language interpreters for the future. These new interpreters are vital to servicing the growing needs within the deaf community.

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