Sunday, 2 September 2007

Sign Language Interpreters in Kenya: A Brief Overview


Sign Language Interpreters in Kenya: A Brief Overview
Jack Owiti & Wanjiku Gilchrist
Kenyan Sign Language Interpreters Association
There is a growing number of sign language interpreters in Kenya working with the Deaf
Community but none have received suitable training in the profession as there is no
formal training for sign language interpreters available in Kenya. We will discuss the
interpreter's status & role in Kenya's Deaf community from different perspectives, based
on the model of interpreters i.e. helper, conduit, communication facilitor etc. We will
address the needs that may arise for interpreters when receiving training, specially in
the linguistic aspects.
We will have a look at the development of Kenyan Sign Language Interpreters
Association and the history of sign language interpreting & training in Kenya. Our past
experiences will be discussed, the obstacles we faced, the recognition we fought for etc.
We will discuss the language issues the interpreter will face in Kenya: Swahili and
English are used as national languages, with over 30 tribal languages thrown in.

http://www.uni-koeln.de/phil-fak/afrikanistik/wocal/schedule/abstracts/3-1-3%20Jack%20Owiti%20&%20Wanjiku%20Gilchrist.pdf

blogged Jack


Here are some blog references about Jack Owiti

Jack Owiti the hearing interpreter and fluent KSL signer. Not many people know him for who he is. He has been in the Deaf community few years BUT watching him the other day in Spain advocating for the recognition of KSLIA, advocating for the training and qualification of Interpreters I am suprised that some Deaf people are lashing out on him. We all know his work at DOOR, Peace Corps and currently he is hidding not fully involved in the Deaf work. To me I would say he is one of the few advocates the Deaf in Kenya have for the success and recognition of KSL and interpretation. Watch out this young man will revolutionize Kenyan Deaf community. I marvel at his ease in mingling with the Deaf and the hearing - Kenyna Deaf peopl he is your link to change. He too is troubled by the usual peoblems we all have so he is no angel.

by http://deafpride.blogspot.com/

TUESDAY 14 AUGUST 2007

16 FEBRUARY 2007

Jack Owiti's right to reply

Dear Mzee,

my good friend Jack just smsed and emailed me about comments he read on this blog, the issues raised there are not true. He has asked me to let the whole Deaf world know this:

"....I support the initiative that Mzee Bubu has, to create an open space for Deaf Kenyans to vent and to talk about issues troubling them. I do not however support the mudslinging, the personal vendettas and gossip. I would like to inform all that I love my wife and child please do not involve them in Kenyan Deaf politics, gossip and mud slinging. I have NO involvement with the creation, editing or updating of this blog. I appreciate the complement of my IT savvy-ness and I am putting then to productive use and my hands to serving the Deaf Kenyans through Interpreting as the chair of KSLIA..."

that is Jack's message to you to read and make your own judgments. Thanks Mzee Bubu.

Cheers

Concerned Deafie, Nairobi Kenya.

16 FEBRUARY 2007

Jack Owiti's right to reply

Dear Mzee,

my good friend Jack just smsed and emailed me about comments he read on this blog, the issues raised there are not true. He has asked me to let the whole Deaf world know this:

"....I support the initiative that Mzee Bubu has, to create an open space for Deaf Kenyans to vent and to talk about issues troubling them. I do not however support the mudslinging, the personal vendettas and gossip. I would like to inform all that I love my wife and child please do not involve them in Kenyan Deaf politics, gossip and mud slinging. I have NO involvement with the creation, editing or updating of this blog. I appreciate the complement of my IT savvy-ness and I am putting then to productive use and my hands to serving the Deaf Kenyans through Interpreting as the chair of KSLIA..."

that is Jack's message to you to read and make your own judgments. Thanks Mzee Bubu.

Cheers

Concerned Deafie, Nairobi Kenya.

http://deafbride.blogspot.com/2007/09/jack-owiti-has-taken-it-upon-himself-to.html

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2007

Jack Owiti has taken it upon himself to talk for they deaf people, because thedeaf people cannot speak for themselves. Read on.

My dear friend, let us move from political patronage, masquerading to be benevolent and imposing foreign ideas onto our local Deaf people. As Raila rightly said what this country needs is a bridge – We are happy to be that tool carrying the aspirations of the Kenyan people to the Promised Land.

- Aland that recognizes Kenyan Sign Language
- A land where qualified interpreters are available to the Deaf free
- A land where the Deaf are not oppressed at home, school, work or community
- A land where there is interpretation on TV, Parliament, National holidays and at hospitals, churches, prison…
- A land where Deaf people become doctors, lawyers, business people
- A land where the Deaf are not objects of benevolence but equal partners in development
- A land where Kenyan Deaf students ins schools have teachers speaking their language KSL
- A land where Mzee Bubu and Kiziwi will be a happy place to gossip, share jokes and not fight some experts!

This is my

Vision

Dream

Passion

Mantra

For the Kenyan Deaf Community! This is more tangible than paying 30% PAYE to KRA for the MPs to gulp it into their mheshimiwa potbellies!


JackOwiti!

Saturday, 25 August 2007

KSLIA’s Position Paper: - Development of Sign Language Interpreting Profession in Kenya.


 August 25, 2007

Abstract

It is the position of the Kenyan Sign Language Interpreters Association (KSLIA) that the
provision of quality and professional interpretation services is a right to all Deaf Kenyan
community. Interpreters – trained, untrained, freelance and employed or working in
various settings throughout Kenya are leaders in delivering a very important service of
interpretation in professional and community settings, including advocating for funding,
and inclusion of these services in programs, projects and policy initiatives at local,
regional, national and international levels. In addition, all interpreters as members of
KSLIA are leaders in facilitating and participating in research, training and
documentation the field of interpretation profession in Kenya. The Kenyan Deaf
community believes that it is a linguistic minority; their native language is Kenyan Sign
Language (KSL) with several variations across the country. They view themselves as
visual people, with their own visual language (KSL), social organization, history, and
mores. They believe they have their own way of being, their own language and culture.
Interpretation is the processes facilitated by bi lingual individuals (interpreters) to enable
this community communicate effectively, accurately and comprehensively with the other
linguistic groups in Kenya. In an era of increased opportunities for Deaf Kenyans to be
involved in various professional, social and academic engagements, there is increased
demand for the deployment of qualified and professional interpreters in fulfillment of the
PWD Act 2003. Through the involvement and rigorous engagement of KSLIA in
research, curriculum development, training, testing, certification and continuing
education Kenya will be a beacon of interpretation excellence in this region and leading
the way in empowering the Deaf community by giving equal access to information,
education and communication for persons who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.
Position Statement
It is the position of the Kenyan Sign Language Interpreters Association (KSLIA) that the
provision of quality and professional interpretation services is a right to all Deaf Kenyan
community. Interpreters – trained, untrained, freelance and employed or working in
various settings throughout Kenya are leaders in delivering a very important service of
interpretation in professional and community settings, including advocating for funding,
and inclusion of these services in programs, projects and policy initiatives at local,
regional, national and international levels. In addition, all interpreters as members of
KSLIA are leaders in facilitating and participating in research, training and
documentation the field of interpretation profession in Kenya. KSLIA considers it vitally
important that this information be disseminated to all Interpreters, Deaf Leaders, Sign
Language Trainers, and Teachers of the Deaf, Government and its Agencies, NGOs
working with and for the Deaf in Kenya. It is understood that the strategies and training
model outlined in this paper are starting points based on our current understanding of
Interpretation. As the knowledge base and experience in addressing Interpretation
evolves, future modifications and refinements of the current strategies will necessarily be
required.


Monday, 23 July 2007

Kenya Country Report - by Jack Owiti. Chairman KSLIA. Presented at the 2nd WASLI Conference, Segovia, Spain. 13-15 July 2007




Since its formation KSLIA in partnership with local and international organizations has facilitated the training and certification of 20 interpreters in Kenya. KSLIA has drafted and adopted a code of ethics, continues to update its registry of interpreters, organizing interpreter trainings and forging new alliances gearing to reach its goal.

Despite the lack of funding and perceived inactivity, individual interpreters have been actively involved in the core business of providing Interpretation and informally interacting with each other. Collectively as a body of Interpreters in Kenya KSLIA has made several strides in the professional development of interpretation in Kenya. These include:-
1.       Election of officials
2.       Opening of bank account
3.       Drafting of an official Code of Ethics
4.       Participation in the two World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI) Congresses – South Africa 2004, Spain 2007
5.       Creation and Distribution of a Registry of Interpreters
6.       Participation in Interpreter Training workshops – August 2006, April 2007 and Jan 2008
7.       Official website created with information on Interpretation – www.kslia.blogspot.com regular email updates and short message services to members.
8.       Circulation of information on how to work with interpreters in various settings, settling of conflicts and complaints from consumers.
9.       Pursuing memorandums of understanding with organizations interested in developing Sign Language Interpretation in Kenya – working progress with Global Deaf Connection and Deaf Aid.
10.   Become a member of WASLI (World Association of Sign Language Interpreters) Starting July 2007

Looking forward KSLIA would like to see itself evolve from a dormant bundle of prospects to a dynamic, vibrant professional body focusing on:-
1.       The development of a Certification Process – Research, Training, Examination, Certification – Issuing and Maintenance, continuing professional development
2.       Enforcing of a strict code of conduct for the various fields of Interpretation, settling disputes and conflict resolution.
3.       Continuing Education for the professional interpreter incorporating new thinking, best practices and implementation of latest developments informed by scientific findings and evidence based programming.
For the sustainability of the programs supporting the development of Interpretation initiatives, KSLIA proposes to be the long-term avenue for this purpose. Programs and Projects will never replace the vibrant, evolving local knowledge and power broking dynamics that characterize the Deaf and Interpreter community in Kenya.

KSLIA proposes the following recommendations as the official position as far as Interpretation Field is concerned: -
1.       Recognition and elevation of KSLIA as the true voice of the Kenyan Interpreters
2.       Conducting a formative assessment to ascertain the correct situation of the interpreting profession in Kenya.
3.       Inclusion of KSLIA in forums, committee, seminars, conferences etc where Interpretation is being discussed. KSLIA to be involved as a key stakeholder.
4.       Though it is important to involve various government agencies in the formation of policy regarding interpretation or sign language, past experiences show that it is lengthy, expensive and futile to involve them without proper representation for instance if a departmental head is involved without the blessing of the superiors it is futile because they are not the ultimate decision makers.
5.       To impact policy change, there needs to be coordination of efforts. KSLIA should be the advocate of interpreter issues working hand in hand with other organizations.
6.       The key priorities at present in the Deaf and Interpreter community are:- Empowerment (role modeling, inclusion and capacity building) - Infrastructure (climate, policy, political goodwill) - Coordination of Resources (personnel, finance, priorities)
7.       KSLIA will continue to pursue relationships with like-minded organizations locally and abroad to further it’s vision for the development of interpretation profession in Kenya.
8.       KSLIA will seek dialogue to foster cooperation and team spirit however KSLIA may also seek legal redress where it feels it’s rights and constitutional mandate has been violated.
9.       KSLIA continues to seek members to join and contribute finance, expertise and man power to grow strong and vibrant as a professional body. KSLIA is therefore calling all practicing interpreters to join and pay up their membership to make KSLIA a strong professional association.
10.   KSLIA is appealing to the stakeholders in the KRITD Process to reevaluate their support, commitment and priority in light with the above statement and make policy, decisions and change laws in consideration of the legacy, history, aspirations and ambitions of the Kenyan Interpreters and the Deaf community they serve.

Our aspirations and ambition as key stakeholders and practicing Interpreters is to provide affordable professional interpretation services to the Deaf community in order to do this we demand inclusion, empowerment, comprehensive policy backing and coordination of the scarce resources available for the sustained development of the field of interpretation in Kenya.

Future Activities

On 26th of April 2007, the Global Deaf Connections, Deaf AID, KSLIA and Sign
Language Service International (SLSI) developed a survey questionnaire and conducted a mini survey with Interpreters attending a training “Theory to Practice” in Nairobi. This survey results indicated that there is need to conduct a nationwide research to ascertain:
1.       How many interpreters exist or practice in Kenya
2.       Who trained them? How long was the training?
3.       Where do they work primarily?
4.       What issues are they currently affecting their work?
5.       What new practices have they adopted to cope with the dynamics of Interpreting?
There is also a need to get views from Deaf individuals, organizations employing or working with Interpreters to learn their challenges and available lessons they have learnt and applied over their interaction with the interpreters.
Kenyan Sign Language Interpreters Association (KSLIA) proposes to establish priorities for a National Interpreter Education Center working with and through a formal network of individuals, organizations, and agencies or other recognized mechanisms for the provision of educational activities for interpreters at all skill levels.

The objectives of the project will be to:-
o   Train interpreters – Training of Trainers, Mentors and Interpreters in various fields and settings.
o   Develop and implement a national curriculum, a certification framework and a certification maintenance mechanism.
o   Develop, distribute and monitor information, education and communication materials for interpreter training
o   Develop and implementation of Interpretation standards, ethics and guidelines to strengthen the profession.
o   Ensure the maintenance of the skills of interpreters through continuing education; continuous testing and certification for quality assurance.
o   Provide opportunities for interpreters to raise their level of competence through regional networking and collaboration.
o   Strengthen capacity of interpreter associations, clubs or networks regionally, nationally

KSLIA envisions that the project which will be implemented through it’s partnership with Kenya National Association of the Deaf (KNAD) , Kenya Sign Language Research Project (KSLRP) and any other organization that has the interest in furthering the Interpretation field in Kenya.

KSLIA envisions that these activities will result in the following:-
o   People will change their attitudes towards Sign Language, Interpretation, Deafness and the Deaf community in Kenya.
o   Communication between hearing people and the Deaf will be enhanced.
o   Deaf people will have more or better access to information, education, political and socioeconomic activities or interactions.
o   Deaf Kenyans will have qualified and competent interpreters available to give interpretation services in various settings.
o   Deaf people will gain more confidence in the learning process, self-expression, in communicating with hearing people and in advocating for their rights.
o   Creation of employment opportunities for Deaf individuals as trainers, and self employment opportunities for interpreters after training.
o   Current policies such as the People with Disabilities Act 2003 will be amended to explicitly recognize the role of the interpreters in the education, information and communications access to the Deaf in Kenya.
KSLIA will constantly and consistently raise funds and enter into collaborative agreements with organizations to realize this future goal.

Submitted by KSLIA 2007 ®

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