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Showing posts from November, 2012

Iko ninis of Assignments, Payments and Interpreters in Kenya

A word of Advise to Interpreters, Organizations and Deaf Consumers: Iko ninis of Assignments, Payments and Interpreters in Kenya

Earlier this week late in the night I received a call from a friend informing me to urgently call in the morning for she had a job for me. After the call I set a reminder on my iPhone to call her in the morning. I get to call her, get the number of the organizer requiring an interpreter for an AGM....excited I call and am asked for a quote.....I say KES X to a maximum of X (9am-1pm) since it is an AGM and will have unlimited number of speakers, long hours and out of hand program etc so the organizer says I will get back to you.....three days later am informed by one of the Deaf shareholders, why are interpreters being forced on us by KSLRP? why do we get half baked iko ninis? So the event organizer decided to give the job to someone else, cheaper lowest bidder despite the quality and satisfaction of the Deaf consumers, in case you are wondering - I did get an…

The Case of Agenda Kenya VI Interpretation

The Case of Agenda Kenya VI Interpretation
Since most of my Deaf friends are not able to air their views and comments on this issue I will briefly take a moment and set the record straight about interpreting English into Kenyan Sign Language just so we are clear.
In Kenya interpreters are often, in many cases volunteers, family members or social workers or even teachers who at a certain level have 'mastered' some sign language and have found themselves in an interpreting situation.
Family members - children of Deaf adults (CODA), siblings with Deaf family members often become interpreters automatically since sign language is either their first language (mother tongue) or the only form of communication in the family settings. This category of interpreters are often fluent and rarely take up interpreting as a career save for a few who make it.
Within this category is the spouses of Deaf individuals. These are hearing individuals who have out of interest, hard work, love or life in g…

Armchair Critic's View: The Case of Television Programs Interpreting

Armchair Critic's View: The Case of Television Programs Interpreting 
Television program interpreting is among the oldest and most 'professional' forms of Sign-Voice interpretation in Kenya. It is probably second to church service interpreting. For those who remember programs like Joy Bringers - it had two or three interpreters in the tiny box to the right bottom of the screen. The parliamentary debates have been the longest televised interpretation for the Deaf in Kenya. This too has gone through a lot of transitions and changes with various interpreters offering their services. I almost forgot the Sign News by KTN in the late 90s - it was a welcome relief to have news round up followed by the language lessons. KBC crowned it all with the Kiswahili Kitukuzwe show that had some Kenyan Sign Language to it.
Those were the days.
Then come the UNDP, Ford Foundation, Uraia sponsored talk shows - Agenda Kenya and the likes. It is almost impossible to think about interpreting on …

Interpreter Services in Kenya - A Critical Analysis of Interpreter Services for the Deaf in Kenya

Interpreter Services in Kenya - A Critical Analysis of Interpreter Services for the Deaf in Kenya
"....the Deaf in Kenya are ‘a special linguistic minority….special because (the approximately 700-800,000 Deaf Kenyans) by nature of their disability cannot operate effectively in any of the spoken majority languages (English and Kiswahili)’.  This predicament brings us to the whys of the clamor for recognition of the language and thereby ‘legalization’ and use of KSL." Professor Okoth Okombo of the University of Nairobi linguistics department
On behalf of the Deaf community in Kenya, the Kenya National Association of the Deaf – KNAD – a non-governmental organization registered in 1987 with the government of Kenya under the Registrar of Societies Act of 1968 rule 4 representing approximately 600-800,000 Deaf people in Kenya; I address this topic wearing three hats as a Hearing Kenyan, Kenyan Sign Language (KSL) User and finally as an Interpreter. These three qualifications among o…

What is it like to be a professional interpreter?

Someone asked me the other day What is it like to be a professional interpreter?

my response was exhilarating, frustrating, and often extremely rewarding! 


Interpreting is misunderstood profession. It's grating, after a while, to deal with people who think they can do your job just because they speak 2+ languages (fluently). That's just one of the preconditions, nothing more. It's grating to deal with outsiders who want to "test" you, either because they're worried about how good you'll be if they hire you (fine, get some references from other interpreters, or from other customers, or ask me how interpreters are actually tested), or because they want to make some sort of conversational point ("So, you're an interpreter! Interpret this, then: ..."). Patience is one thing you do need. Read more here

it is fun I have been able to 

1. earn good money interpreting
2. travel to many places
3. meet various people cultures
4. learn various languages and s…