Monday, 16 December 2013

Fake Interpreter Lessons for Interpreters and their Clients


One Professor Graham Turner summarizes the lessons perfectly here and I would love for my Kenyan audience to read and learn some lessons that would help our own situations. I have added my own observations in italics for contextualization. 

As the world said goodbye to former South African president Nelson Mandela at the Dec. 9 memorial service, attention turned to the sign language interpreter, who was incoherently signing at the event. Immediately there was uproar from the South African Deaf and Interpreter community. Quickly the #FakeInterpreter was all over the internet with many making jokes about it, others criticizing, admonishing while other bowed in shame due to the embarrassment the episode stirred across the globe. 

It’s pretty clear that we haven’t seen the last of this story. But what is its real significance? Here are ten lessons for the world from The Tale of the Fake Interpreter.
  1. Using a sign language fluently is not something one can do just by waving one’s hands around. Sign languages are grammatically-structured, rule-governed systems like all other natural human languages. You can’t produce meaningful signing off the cuff and – equally importantly – you can’t understand it spontaneously just by looking. To get the message across the signer has to be appropriately dress especially if they are on camera, the lighting, background and colors matter a lot to the recipients. The facial expressions, the body movements, hand formations (handforms, handshapes) do carry meaning too. 
  1. If you can’t sign, but require interpreting, you need reliable processes to help you identify effective provision. Interpreting isn’t a game: it should be run on a professional basis. This time, we saw a spectacular insult to the world’s Deaf people: but no-one died. Worldwide, every day, the result of inadequate interpreting leads to poor schooling, imprisonment, unemployment and health disparities; inaccurate information. This has led to stereotyping in Kenya, recently I was shocked when a senior politician in reference to the Deaf said "...what will they bring to our party? they take long to express themselves.." The same can be said about the Kenyan schooling system that labels the Deaf as slow learners, under achievers thus relegating the Deaf to vocational training rather than empowering them to be the best that they can be.This must stop. 
  1. Without proper training, screening and regulation, people can and will take advantage. Even in countries like the UK, where sign language interpreting has become increasingly professionalised since the 1980s, smooth operators (who can talk the talk but not sign the sign) are legion. If you can’t sign, they may appear wholly plausible and be wholly bogus. Don’t guess and you won’t be fooled. So far we in Kenya are lagging behind, we have several Sign Language trainers though it is done in a non professional coordinated way - this is despite the schooling system having Kenyan Sign Language (KSL) as a school subject and examined topic there exists a KSL curriculum, KSL exam for both primary school and O' level - these are good developments but there needs to be more efforts towards standardization of how KSL is taught and examined, a proper training system for interpreters - currently there is no proper training program for interpreters. Second to this there needs to be a screening and regulatory body for the interpreters. This development will bring about the desired professionalism so much required in this field.
  1. This episode is just the high-visibility version of the con-men who pretend to be poor Deaf people in order to extort money by begging on the streets.It’s an age-old phenomenon in a new guise, taking advantage of public authorities’ need to present a politically correct face. They think they’ll get away with it because no-one who can do anything about it will notice or complain. The worst is as they say in Swahili "Asiye funzwa na mamake hufunzwa na ulimwengu"  - He who is not schooled by the mother will be schooled by the world - negative publicity not good for anyone's career.
  1. They’re right: hearing people can’t tell they’re lying, and Deaf people’s complaints – about this and anything else – are too often ignored. This, too, must end. Here in Kenya we had Deaf people complain about the parliamentary proceedings interpreter. It took a while, several letters, face-to-face meetings and a collaborative effort between the KNAD, Interpreters, National broadcaster and parliament officials to resolve the issue. Today we have at least four fluent signers on the screen. As you read this there are murmurs and complaints about the KTN News interpretation. 
Hang on, though: that’s only five lessons?!
Here are five more: but beware – these are conclusions some will find easy to reach, but which should be resisted.
  1. ‘Always trust Deaf people to tell you who is a good interpreter.’ Not so fast. Deaf people know fluent signing when they see it and they know who they respect and trust – and these are vital. But when it comes to recognising that someone is appropriately representing meaning, you have to be able to access both languages. You can’t tell whether output matches input unless both are available to you. 
  1. There’s too much to lose in booking the wrong interpreter, so let’s stop using them.’ For all the risks – and they’re very real – the life prospects of Deaf people have plainly been enhanced via good interpreting services. The Deaf Finnish leader, Liisa Kauppinen, received the 2013 United Nations Human Rights Award Prize on the day of Mandela’s memorial service: her achievements would have been impossible without top-notch interpreting. But crucially, quality counts – cosmetic interpreting that’s just for show is destructive.
  1. ‘Sign language interpreters cannot be trusted’. Untrue: but not everyone who claims to be an interpreter should be taken seriously. What matters is having robust and reliable ways of distinguishing the real diamonds from the plastic forgeries.
  1. ‘After this outcry, public awareness and recognition of sign languages is assured.’ Hang on! Don’t start getting complacent just yet. The sudden global focus presents a real opportunity to push home the demand for change, and to raise standards everywhere: but it won’t happen by itself. Here in Scotland, a British Sign Language Bill is due to go to Parliament in 2014 – all Scots who value signing should put their shoulders to the wheel and keep on pushing. The same is true worldwide. Here in Kenya we got our Kenyan Sign Language recognized by the new Constitution, we are yet to finalize the Language Policy...this outcry should be our stepping stone to even a stronger advocacy for greater involvement, greater participation of the Deaf Kenyans in their own affairs and those that improve the quality of life. 
  1. ‘It could never happen here.’ Sadly, whilst out-and-out frauds like this may be rare, any Deaf person can tell you that there are hordes of ‘unconsciously incompetent’ signers out there making a living by accepting interpreting work that is way beyond their capability. It’s true all around the globe. What’s worse, it happens under the noses of the authorities, who pay the bills without caring enough to take responsibility for standards. We must make them care. As you may recall during the March 2013 elections the Deaf in Kenya complained of the interpreter at the election tally center however the Electoral Commission did not respond favorably, currently there are moments when Deaf people have stopped an interpreter in the middle of a session or meeting due to quality issues....my question to KTN and the rest do you care enough to stop the injustice?  
Thamsanqa Dyantyi happens to be South African, but the issues he has highlighted are global. Nelson Mandela’s death has lit an unexpected spark: and as Mandela himself said, “The time is always ripe to do right”.
My thanks and appreciation to Professor Graham Turner who is the Chair of Translation & Interpreting Studies at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. He leads the team now running the first ever degree course in BSL in Scotland.

Read more: 
http://limpingchicken.com/2013/12/13/10-lessons-fake-terp/#comments
http://www.usmagazine.com/entertainment/news/saturday-night-live-nelson-mandela-memorial-sign-language-interpreter-watch-the-video-20131512#ixzz2ndidTubW
Follow us: @usweekly on Twitter | usweekly on Facebook

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Moving towards quality interpretation in Kenya

Dear Practicing Interpreter in Kenya,

Here are resources that will help you improve your interpretation services

the Interpreters Friend

Terp Topics

To this end coming soon will be a course  for the Diploma, Degree and Masters program. See St. Paul University


"A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices
that constitutes a way of viewing reality
for the community that shares them."

                                               
     - Yahoo Education  definition of PARADIGM

Saturday, 12 October 2013

My two cents to KTN and Standard Media Group

My two cents to KTN and Standard Media Group

Feedback on the Sign Language News casting Initiative

First and foremost the initiative is commendable, it is a second time KTN has initiated an inclusive approach to its news programming. Signed News in the 1990s was a breath of fresh air for the Deaf community, in those days they had to wait for parliamentary debates and Joy Bringers on KBC to enjoy news in native Kenyan Sign Language. The past week has been a welcome relief, with news in Kenyan Sign Language at prime time; however there has been several issues come up over the week. According to both researchers and interpreters, interpreting for live TV broadcasts is almost unanimously regarded as more stressful than other forms of interpreting (Strolz 1997; Kurz 2002), the main reason being that interpreting for a mass audience entails a much bigger exposure in case of failure than the one felt in conventional conference settings.

This article will mention the issues and offer some steps to get us to the full accessibility cliché.

  1. Now to the issue of KTN initiative, first the inner politics is that the interpreters stole the idea from some Deaf young people who wanted to approach the media houses including KTN. This is an ethical issue, it reflects on the conduct of the individual and taints the interpreters in and within the Deaf community. Interpreters are neutral non biase professional who serve as facilitators of communication between the hearing (speaking) and the Deaf. Interpreters do not work for, on behalf of the Deaf community, they work along side, with the Deaf – not helping or speaking for but as professionals. Be that as it may, the initiative is a bold step towards accessibility.
  2. Selection and use of interpreters – it is a myth that there are few interpreters, qualified and ready to work on television. (here is a list of 100) There are interpreters all over Kenya, however they were trained, qualified – the key is to use the Deaf Kenyans themselves to validate, clarify and know who is best suited to interpret on television. There exists standards and criteria to select and eliminate those who can and can not offer the best services. The basic criteria would be judging individuals against Code of Ethics – this would eliminate at least half, then professional experience like number of hours worked under similar experiences, borrowing from other interpreters of Spanish or French and use those standards in the absence of signed language standards. (read how to work with interpreters)
  3. The small box has reduced considerably in one week it has moved from a 6X6 to a mere 2X3 inches. If yu were to sit and look at that small box for an hour, your eyes will pain and you will be having a pounding headache. It is not standard to have the box that small – the argument as it has been over time even during the presidential debate was all for aesthetic reasons – too crowded, distraction or unclean just the graphics and producers not understanding the nature and characteristics of signed languages and the usage.
  4. Continuation from the point above Signed Languages have a visual nature, it is often misunderstood that the Deaf are fully satisfied by seeing the hands only. The following are some features that make sign language different from the other languages.
  • Facial Expression – frowns, lifted eye brows, puffed cheeks or slight grin or smile among other facial expressions are part of signed languages. They complete the sentences or add meaning to expressions. With a squeezed image on a caption or box all these attributes are lost. In turn you have a block of a human figure moving their hands yet their face is dark or hidden with lots and lots of meaningful expressions that the viewer is denied.
  • Placement – the upper torso of the human form is the story board of any sign language user. It is the area where people, events and things are placed for sequence and easy locating or moving as the story unfolds. With a squeezed signing area it is difficult to place items of news in a logical and sequential order.
  • Shoulder shifts – these are movements to differentiate speakers especially when you have multiple individuals talking or debating. Again with a squeezed screen space it is impossible to enjoy the flexibility and dynamism that signed languages have to offer.
  • Movement – similar to placement, this feature of signed languages enable the users of signed languages the opportunity to showcase a story line and progression in a space that enable clarity.
  • Handforms and Shapes – the foundation of all signed languages is the existence of forms and shapes these carry meaning much like the words that we speak. Proper lighting and color blend of background, clothes of the interpreters enable the viewers users of signed languages see the words and enjoy the news interpreted.

  1. Worldwide there have been researches done to ascertain the interpreter burn out rates. These studies have shown that it is good to have interpreter change over after a 20 minute duration. This change over gives the interpreters. The human brain loses concentration after 15-20 minutes, this is true with interpreters too. The interpretation process takes a lot in the mind and body of an interpreter as they process, take in and give information relayed to them in a second or third language. These breaks allow the interpreter to give their best, allowing them to give a better more accurate, culturally and linguistically correct interpretation of the information they are receiving. Interpreters worldwide work in pairs and as teams this is for the issues above and for health purposes.
  2. Quality control and assurance is a vital component. Most of the issues that come up about interpreters are issues of quality that could be addressed by training and capacity building. When a mechanism exists that offers checks and balances it develops the interpreter and increases their accuracy in service provision. A feedback platform would capture the same, but more importantly a way to deal with the feedback so that it is meaningful and beneficial first to the concerned interpreters and then to the Deaf community via a selected representation that has clear scope and engagement.
  3. Continuous growth and development of interpreters. If any professional stops learning, they stop growing and they die professionally. Seek to engage institutions that would build interpreters comprehension of English, Kiswahili and their working language Kenyan Sign Language.
  4. For greater integration and inclusion, a program by the Deaf for the Deaf would be a natural development as a follow up to the interpreted newscasts. This will empower the Deaf community especially young children learning sign language and also change the perception of the general public who view the Deaf as objects of initiatives rather than fellow human beings with gifts, skills and talents that can be shared.
Deaf consumers of interpreting services have become more informed and are demanding higher quality interpreting services that meet their individual needs. In considering the need for a new job profile, “media translators/interpreters”, Kurz (1990: 173) suggests, following Laine (1985: 212), that “the media require a new breed of interpreter: a hybrid – someone who is a successful translator, interpreter, and editor, all in one” and this profile should include “flexibility, speed, a wide general knowledge and a complete lack of fear or embarrassment”.

interpreter’s performance in live television interpreting: quality, visibility and exposure

interpreter’s performance in live television interpreting:
quality, visibility and exposure

Live television interpreting has increased in recent years and is commonly seen as one of the most difficult and stressing forms of interpreting. However, both the actual difficulty and stress involved highly depend on the physical and technical conditions the interpreter has to face in every particular situation. The main goal of the article is to examine the salient variables: visibility and exposure since they will determine the quality standards achievable in each particular case, and the quality of the interpreter’s performance and awareness of all actors involved in the process shall be raised with regard to their relevance.


Looking back in history we trace the origins of television interpreting to the early 1990s. Kenyan Broadcasting Corporation KBC was the first to have sign language interpreters for various programs including – Joy Bringers, Parliamentary Live Broadcasts, Kiswahili Kitukuzwe and other UNDP sponsored talk shows such as Agenda Kenya which have been shown on various networks. KTN at this time brought the program News in Sign Language which had a news wrap up and a segment on learning sign language. All these initiatives were earlier preparations for things to come.

Two decades later a lot has changed, Kenyan Sign Language has been entrenched in the Constitution of Kenya, many Deaf Kenyans through social media and travels are in contact with each other and with other Deaf citizens across the globe. Earlier attempts by the Persons With Disabilities Act 2003/5 never gave solution to the issues of inclusion and integration. This Act is currently being amended and will soon be tabled in parliament for a clearer more decisive actionable items. With these changes a few things remain unchanged and we will visit those late in this article. The push for access to news and information within the Deaf community in Kenya has over the years taken various forms and shapes.

KBC the national broadcaster has been largely looked at as the pioneer to language access for the marginalized and the unreached populations. The vernacular stations or services have been loved and associated with it. Sign language has been a frontier KBC has not shied away from. It has continually brought the language to Kenyans albeit the slow and uncoordinated effort to reach the Deaf in Kenya. With these developments several precedence have been made by the newscasters without consultations with the Deaf communities. The caption or small box is one such issue, the second being the in-coordinate recruitment of interpreters and lack of involvement of key sign language users or professionals.

In February 2013 all media stations in Kenya come together, to for the first time bring all presidential aspirants on one platform and engage them in a dialogue. Prior to this event, the Kenya National Association of the Deaf – KNAD wrote several letters to the Ministry of Information, the media houses and to the Media Council urging them to consider honoring the provisions the Constitution of Kenya, the Persons with Disabilities Act 2003/5 and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which Kenya ratified in 2005. The Ministry of Information's permanent secretary then Dr. Bitange Ndemo agreed to meet with the Deaf leaders from KNAD, though these meetings yielded very little since the media house owners didn't have a legal framework to force them into a binding agreement to offer accessibility to the Deaf either by interpreters or captioning. This lead the Deaf community holding a protest march early February 2013 just before the Presidential Debate. This protest marched to three main buildings – the Ministry of Information, KTN and the Nation Media offices. Prior to this the Nation Media Group were taken to court by CRADLE challenging their refusal to make their programs accessible to persons who are Deaf. The Nation Media Group has since appealed the decision – it is still pending in court. It will be interesting to see how this case unfolds.

As we talk about the behind the scenes of what has been happening in the last couple of months. We have had a rise and rise of demand for television stations to appeal to audiences. The programming has seen several changes and additions. Since I am no media analyst I will stick to my area of expertise and talk about the sign language on television. Firstly, we look at KBC and the parliamentary interpretations service. When it began it had one 'Interpreter' signing for a whole day – Wednesday thru Friday. The 'interpreter' then didn't think about his service, quality or other customer service. The 'interpreter' due to exhaustion would end up in a incoherent spur of gestures, unclear signs and even often into explanations of what was going on rather than interpreting.

KNAD collected comments, recommendations and suggestions from the Deaf community in Kenya. They then wrote letters of complaints to KBC, Parliament and Ministry of Information. What followed was a series of meetings that lead to having at least three or four interpreters working with clear terms of reference and accountability. The situation there has been somewhat better – not perfect but the engagement has been fruitful – many Deaf Kenyans are able to enjoy access to parliamentary debates. The not so perfect issues with KBC has been the question the principle on which KBC believes that parliamentary proceedings are important to be interpreted while other news items do not deserve the same service – KNAD has been in discussions with KBC over this and maybe now that KTN began news interpretation it might be the next in line.

UNDP's Agenda Kenya has had a share of criticism on its use of interpreters. Their main issues have been use of interpreters who do not know, do not care to learn the sign language and the ability to use it in various settings/fields. The issues here were mainly clarity and ethical consideration on issues of dress, language and level of discourse. When approached, they quickly rectified the situation by calling on the Deaf to verify and help the interpreter become more clearer and able to deliver interpretation that was of professional standard. 

It would be disastrous not to mention the issues surrounding the presidential debate interpretation. Just after the protest by the Deaf on Nairobi streets (See more here) the Deaf and Interpreters who participated learnt that there was a group of interpreters who had privately negotiated to interpret the debate with the media houses, using personal contacts they had secured the deal while not involving the prime clients to be served the Deaf. However the debate went on, the media houses never settled the issue not remunerated the interpreters that replaced their counterparts. The Standard Media Group was the custodian of the FORD Foundation fund for the presidential debate. They gave several promises to KNAD and the interpreters up to date there has not been a conclusion to the matter.

My two cents to KTN and Standard Media Group
First and foremost the initiative is commendable, it is a second time KTN has initiated an inclusive approach to its news programming. Signed News in the 1990s was a breath of fresh air for the Deaf community, in those days they had to wait for parliamentary debates and Joy Bringers on KBC to enjoy news in native Kenyan Sign Language. The past week has been a welcome relief, with news in Kenyan Sign Language at prime time; however there has been several issues come up over the week. According to both researchers and interpreters, interpreting for live TV broadcasts is almost unanimously regarded as more stressful than other forms of interpreting (Strolz 1997; Kurz 2002), the main reason being that interpreting for a mass audience entails a much bigger exposure in case of failure than the one felt in conventional conference settings.

This article will mention the issues and offer some steps to get us to the full accessibility cliché.

  1. Now to the issue of KTN initiative, first the inner politics is that the interpreters stole the idea from some Deaf young people who wanted to approach the media houses including KTN. This is an ethical issue, it reflects on the conduct of the individual and taints the interpreters in and within the Deaf community. Interpreters are neutral non biase professional who serve as facilitators of communication between the hearing (speaking) and the Deaf. Interpreters do not work for, on behalf of the Deaf community, they work along side, with the Deaf – not helping or speaking for but as professionals. Be that as it may, the initiative is a bold step towards accessibility.
  2. Selection and use of interpreters – it is a myth that there are few interpreters, qualified and ready to work on television. (here is a list of 100) There are interpreters all over Kenya, however they were trained, qualified – the key is to use the Deaf Kenyans themselves to validate, clarify and know who is best suited to interpret on television. There exists standards and criteria to select and eliminate those who can and can not offer the best services. The basic criteria would be judging individuals against Code of Ethics – this would eliminate at least half, then professional experience like number of hours worked under similar experiences, borrowing from other interpreters of Spanish or French and use those standards in the absence of signed language standards. (read how to work with interpreters)
  3. The small box has reduced considerably in one week it has moved from a 6X6 to a mere 2X3 inches. If yu were to sit and look at that small box for an hour, your eyes will pain and you will be having a pounding headache. It is not standard to have the box that small – the argument as it has been over time even during the presidential debate was all for aesthetic reasons – too crowded, distraction or unclean just the graphics and producers not understanding the nature and characteristics of signed languages and the usage.
  4. Continuation from the point above Signed Languages have a visual nature, it is often misunderstood that the Deaf are fully satisfied by seeing the hands only. The following are some features that make sign language different from the other languages.
  • Facial Expression – frowns, lifted eye brows, puffed cheeks or slight grin or smile among other facial expressions are part of signed languages. They complete the sentences or add meaning to expressions. With a squeezed image on a caption or box all these attributes are lost. In turn you have a block of a human figure moving their hands yet their face is dark or hidden with lots and lots of meaningful expressions that the viewer is denied.
  • Placement – the upper torso of the human form is the story board of any sign language user. It is the area where people, events and things are placed for sequence and easy locating or moving as the story unfolds. With a squeezed signing area it is difficult to place items of news in a logical and sequential order.
  • Shoulder shifts – these are movements to differentiate speakers especially when you have multiple individuals talking or debating. Again with a squeezed screen space it is impossible to enjoy the flexibility and dynamism that signed languages have to offer.
  • Movement – similar to placement, this feature of signed languages enable the users of signed languages the opportunity to showcase a story line and progression in a space that enable clarity.
  • Handforms and Shapes – the foundation of all signed languages is the existence of forms and shapes these carry meaning much like the words that we speak. Proper lighting and color blend of background, clothes of the interpreters enable the viewers users of signed languages see the words and enjoy the news interpreted.

  1. Worldwide there have been researches done to ascertain the interpreter burn out rates. These studies have shown that it is good to have interpreter change over after a 20 minute duration. This change over gives the interpreters. The human brain loses concentration after 15-20 minutes, this is true with interpreters too. The interpretation process takes a lot in the mind and body of an interpreter as they process, take in and give information relayed to them in a second or third language. These breaks allow the interpreter to give their best, allowing them to give a better more accurate, culturally and linguistically correct interpretation of the information they are receiving. Interpreters worldwide work in pairs and as teams this is for the issues above and for health purposes.
  2. Quality control and assurance is a vital component. Most of the issues that come up about interpreters are issues of quality that could be addressed by training and capacity building. When a mechanism exists that offers checks and balances it develops the interpreter and increases their accuracy in service provision. A feedback platform would capture the same, but more importantly a way to deal with the feedback so that it is meaningful and beneficial first to the concerned interpreters and then to the Deaf community via a selected representation that has clear scope and engagement.
  3. Continuous growth and development of interpreters. If any professional stops learning, they stop growing and they die professionally. Seek to engage institutions that would build interpreters comprehension of English, Kiswahili and their working language Kenyan Sign Language.
  4. For greater integration and inclusion, a program by the Deaf for the Deaf would be a natural development as a follow up to the interpreted newscasts. This will empower the Deaf community especially young children learning sign language and also change the perception of the general public who view the Deaf as objects of initiatives rather than fellow human beings with gifts, skills and talents that can be shared.
Deaf consumers of interpreting services have become more informed and are demanding higher quality interpreting services that meet their individual needs. In considering the need for a new job profile, “media translators/interpreters”, Kurz (1990: 173) suggests, following Laine (1985: 212), that “the media require a new breed of interpreter: a hybrid – someone who is a successful translator, interpreter, and editor, all in one” and this profile should include “flexibility, speed, a wide general knowledge and a complete lack of fear or embarrassment”.

Word to my Fellow Interpreters on Television Interpreting
There are constant references to the problems faced by TV interpreters, regardless of the label employed by the scholar in question (problems,challenges, working conditions, drawbacks), and this generates a lengthy list of elements that should be taken into consideration by prospective interpreters before embarking themselves upon such a venture; to the point that, according to Mack (2001: 130), the job of TV interpreters is “extremely risky and stressful”. Firstly, those aspects where the interpreter may find at least some (even if slight) room to manoeuvre, that is, where different degrees of response will be seen depending on the interpreter’s ability to cope with such conditions. This still makes it possible to find professionals that are (again even if slightly) more suitable for the job.

Amongst these requirements we may find: maximum coordination when voicing or matching speech with culturally relevant and linguistically accurate signs; matching signing skills to those of TV professionals; meeting high expectations on the part of the viewers, who see interpretation as part of the product they are watching; having to cope with typical TV time management, since things happen at a very high speed; additional stress if failure, due to media exposure; interpreting late at night or on short notice, therefore, not having time to prepare the assignments; having to deal with a large number of topics, a variety of formats and structures, numerous participants and various viewpoints; not having time to get used to a particular accent or speaking style; having to meet different and high expectations from both the participants, the audience and the employers. The more reason to choose your assignments carefully and be ready to be criticized harshly at that.

Refrences
óscar Jiménez Serrano Backstage conditions and interpreter’s performance ...University of Granada, Spain

AIIC (Association Internationale des Interprètes de Conferénce) (2004) “Media interpreting – A different sort of world”, Technical and Health Committee <http://www.aiic.net/ViewPage.cfm/article91.htm>.

Amato A. (2002) “Interpreting legal discourse on TV: Clinton’s deposition with the Grand Jury”, in G. Garzone / P. Mead / M. Viezzi (eds) Perspectives on Interpreting, Bologna, CLUEB, 268-290.


Dal Fovo E. (2011) “Simultaneous interpretation on television – Coping with coherence. A corpus-based study on topical coherence in simultaneous interpretation on television: the question/answer group”. Second International Conference on Interpreting Quality, Almuñécar, Granada (Spain), March 24-26 2011, <http://ecis.ugr.es/granada_2011_abstracts.pdf>.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Open Letter to my Deaf Clients - an Interpreters Apology to the Deaf

Dear Deaf Client,

It has been a long journey, since the first time we met when I was learning sign language back in the day. I never got to thank you for the many times you were patient with me and my choppy, sloppy and uncontrollable fingers unable to sign a simple English word. I did not appreciate the times you forgave my misinformation and misinterpretations or the moments I disregarded the little noises thinking must I sign that?

I do not have words enough to say how insensitive I have become over the years and how my intolerance have increased. I do have biases and I do resent the deaf community and it is not a secret I am very much in this for the money. It started by me offering to help and I tasted fame, finance and freelancing. I have become arrogant and proud, the little pro bono jobs do not excite me anymore. I dislike volunteering my services for you and get offended that there is no financial benefit.

I have lagged behind my competencies, I no longer can keep up with the interpreting pace, refresher classes seem repetitive and boring. I can not keep up with the new language changes and very comfortable with the assignments that do not stretch me or make me learn or do new things. In short I have become lazy and ineffective.

Dear client please bear with me for this is a phase of this career called interpreting I will get over it and get my groove back. In the meantime, I appreciate your patience and pray that you will understand my need for your forgiveness and help to get out of this 'it is my time to eat' condition and fall in love again with my first love - the Deaf Heart and benevolence to serve the Deaf Community.

Yours Faithfully,
Young Interpreter

With My Own Two Hands


Great inspiration for 2010 as I celebrate a decade using my two hands to serve!

I can change the world
With my own two hands
Make a better place
With my own two hands
Make a kinder place
With my own two hands
With my own
With my own two hands
I can make peace on earth
With my own two hands
I can clean up the earth
With my own two hands
I can reach out to you
With my own two hands
With my own
With my own two hands

I'm gonna make it a brighter place
I'm gonna make it a safer place
I'm gonna help the human race
With my own

my own two hands

I can hold you
With my own two hands
I can comfort you
With my own two hands
But you got to use
Use your own two hands
Use your own
Use your own two hands

With our own
With our own two hands
With my own
With my own two hands

Title: Ben Harper - With My Own Two Hands lyrics Artist: Ben Harper Lyrics
the Dancing Interp! 2000 - 2010 the dream lives on - More Fire, More Love!

Friday, 29 March 2013

Status of the Deaf Nation - Kenya Looking back Ahead....


Here are some highlights.....


 1950s - establishment of the first Deaf schools in Kenya

  KNAD established 1987 – 2000 tremendous growth supported by SHIA (Sweden)

  KNAD affiliate 11

  Advocacy, Youth, Women, Economic/Labor , Sports

  1990s established KSLRP

  1990s first KSL pictorial dictionary

  1990 – 2000 KSL training at KSLRP

  2000 – KSLIA established

  2005 – KSL interactive dictionary

  2002 – KNAD lack of funding

  2005 – 2011 Restructured KNAD

Milestones in Deaf World- Kenya

  2000 – GDC established

  2000 – DOOR Internationals

  Constitutional Review Process

  2005 – 2012 KNAD restructuring

  KSLIA, KNAD, GDC, Deaf Aid – Interpreter Forums, Code of Ethics, Interpreter trainings,

  LVCT Reproductive health

  Sarakasi Deaf Acrobatics

  IDC – IYDCC emergences

  Deaf Sports - blackstars, basketball, athletics

  COE query into KSL – UoN, WFD and KNAD letter and Memorandum accepted

  Deaf students at KU, UoN and Maseno

  Deaf Aid’s CISCO Academies, ECD

  CBM, Undugu, Leonard Chesire Disability, LVCT, Peace Corps, employ Deaf professionals

  Kenyan Parliament accepts 4 Interpreters

  Deaf Paralympic teams

  Interpreters Forum

Challenge - Problem

  Access to information – TV, Cell

  Education – all levels

  Essential services – healthcare, legal, commerce,

  Lack of Research and Documentation

  Quality of KSL training

  Operationalization of legislation

  Lack of standards

  Lack of IEC – (appropriate) a poster is not a poster in Deaf Culture

  Lack of consumer awareness

Where we are at

  Constitution provisions

  PWD Act 2003/5/12

  Special Needs Education Policy

Making sense of the legalese

  Operationalization - What next

  KSL Policy

  Harmonization

  ECD programs – Education

  KSL Research and Documentation

  Interpreter Training Program

  Labor 5% rule

  Next generation

  Revitalize membership for KNAD

  Voice within the larger disability movement

Ishaara Project

  Technical Working Group within KNAD to champion

  Kenyan Sign Language Research, Training and Documentation,

  Interpreter Training and Certification

  Remuneration Standardization for interpreters

  Ethics Committee and Conflict Resolution

  Technical Interpreters Forum

  Interpreter Registry for the Deaf in Kenya IRDK

Why a TWG?

  Professional and Technical approach

  Morphing into a project becomes easy

  Resource mobilization is easier

  Credibility and usefulness – membership organizations do not succeed due to priorities of the membership, agenda by those in leadership and lack of governance structures to sustain the gains; transitions decimates the gains

  Engaging with other professionals is easier and fast tracked

  Volunteerism is difficult to sustain

  Model for change making and agitation

So what is Ishaara Project

  Volunteers to work on behalf of KNAD on issues of language and interpretation

  As the name suggests – Sign embodies the whole issue of language in the Deaf community

  It is not a company or an NGO it is a project within KNAD

  It is a Technical Working Group

Deliverables of Ishaara Project

  Functioning TWG initial 2 years

  Establishment of a permanent Commissions/Committees on KSL, Interpretation, Deaf Education, Deaf Culture within Government and Academia

  Establishment of a team of Deaf and Hearing professional researchers

  Establishment of a training program in universities or a Deaf Institute

  Establishment and maintenance of registry of interpreters

  Establishment of a conflict resolution mechanism for interpretation services

  Social outshoot – Deaf Clubs of Kenya

  Regional exchange and learning platform

Financing for Ishaara Project
  
  Department of Culture/Heritage

  County governments

  Training Program

  Research and consultancies

  Merchandise

  Local donors

  International partnerships

Challenges and Solutions

  Resistance from already existing mechanisms

  Lack of quorum to establish TWG

  Financial hardship

  Slow start up

  Use gatekeepers

  Business model for recruitment and fundraising

  Manage expectations at KNAD, Deaf Community level

  Use already existing mechanisms

Why should you Support Ishaara Project?

  Posterity’s sake – future generation

  One Million Deaf Kenyans – their families, friends, potential employers, inclusion and making Kenya a better place

  You are part of making history – history in the making

  Create opportunities for yourself, for others

  Contribute your skills, talents, passion for a worthy cause

  5% rule and CIC processes

  Voice in the larger disability movement

  Strengthening KNAD

Thursday, 28 March 2013

My Cross Cultural Experience – Bridging two worlds


My Cross Cultural Experience – Bridging two worlds
Nairobi, 1st September 2008

Hello, my name is Jack Owiti, I am from Nairobi, Kenya. I am Sign Language interpreter working and living in Nairobi the capital city of Kenya where there live approximately 3,000 Deaf individuals.

I am currently the chair of the National Professional Association of Sign Language Interpreters. I have been interacting and working in the deaf Kenyan community for the past ten years and I have interpreted in various settings including a bible college, conferences, employment and medical settings.

I spend some of my time as a board member of the Global Deaf Connection Kenya (GDC-K) as treasurer. I am also currently a member of a task force charged with developing a strategic plan for the National Association of the Deaf in Kenya.

You are likely familiar with the Disney song, "It’s a small world." In the deaf - Interpreting community, we often say that, “it is a small deaf world.”  In Kenya, chances are, when you meet a deaf person or another interpreter, that person will:
  1. ·         Have attended the same college as you (Gallaudet, NTID, RIT or another college with a highly respected deaf or Interpreter program). Or as common in Kenya, they have gone to the same school of the Deaf.
  2. ·         Know the same people you know, such as a former childhood classmate.
  3. ·         Have worked with someone you knew. (e.g., missionary or Peace Corp volunteer).
  4. ·         Have married or been divorced from someone you know.
  5. ·         Remember you from some past meeting.


I had another of these ‘small world’ experiences when recently attending the WASLI 2007 conference. In early 2004, we had begun to train educational interpreters in Kenya through a USAID/GDC Grant. Invitations and letters were sent to interested persons to attend.
One of the facilitators for this training was Dr. Daniel Burch, the former RID President and a current board member of WASLI . The training group also included Joel Runnels, GDC Kenya Rep, Kevin Warnke, a returned Peace Corps volunteer and a representative for Deaf Aid a Norwegian Non-governmental organization.  Last was Beth Uruqhart, a volunteer and interpreter of many years in the US.

During one of our planning meetings for this workshop Daniel mentioned that the WASLI would be holding a conference in July and it would be a great opportunity for Kenyan interpreters   I took the challenge and emailed my good friends and Interpreter colleagues in Kenya and in the US and began a fundraising campaign.

The U.S. fundraising initiative was lead by friend and past GDC Board Member, Cara Christopherson.  Together with several of her colleagues, they were able to marshal the support of many American interpreters to support my participation at the 2007 WASLI Conference, where I would represent the Kenyan Sign Language Interpreter Association (KSLIA).
The following is what I brought back from WASLI and what I learned from my experience in Madrid and how I am implementing what I have learned since.

By far one of the biggest and most memorable lessons from the WASLI conference is the bridging of cultures and the need for facilitating cross-cultural harmony. Right from the fundraising to the completion of this article, it has been a lesson for me that wherever we are as individuals and professionals we have a bond that ties us as interpreters together. I was able to attend a conference miles away from Kenya due to the help I received from a few interpreters in the US.  They answered a plea from one of their own. For me this demonstrates the unity and harmony we exhibit as interpreters working all over the world – this surprisingly is one of the core foundations of the establishment of WASLI.

The second lesson I learned from WASLI is that while the profession of interpreting is as old as humanity in terms of our work with the Deaf world we are still in the early stages of development worldwide. Some are advanced stages, such as in the US, while others are in their infancy like in Kenya and many countries in Africa and elsewhere.

I had an opportunity to share with the conference participants the Kenyan country report. This was not only a report out, but also a learning process for me – I had the opportunity to look at my profession as an outsider and I was forced to ask myself 4 hard questions – where are we, where are we excelling, where are we failing as Kenyan Interpreters, and what is the future like for the profession in Kenya? This was an eye opener for me as I gathered the facts and talked with my colleagues from the various regions of Kenya. The opportunity to share our report with more than 200 Interpreters from around the world, which was simultaneously interpreted into many other signed languages, was a very precious moment. I learned a lot from the interactions on the report contents and I was challenged to recognize that Kenya was indeed not alone in the struggle to make the profession better and improve interpreting service delivery to the clients.

Since the conference, the KSLIA has had its quarterly meeting in August. During this meeting I had the pleasure of disseminating the list of lessons (above) I learned and this generated an open forum for the learning and sharing of others. This meeting led to the creation of a task force to work on the developing a training program for the interpreters in Kenya.
I believe there are countless opportunities for the Interpreters in the USA to work with interpreters in developing countries to advance the profession of interpreting worldwide. At the conference we learned:
1.       Many countries do not have training programs for interpreter trainings.
2.       Many countries, especially in Africa, do not have certification/licensing processes for their interpreters.
3.       There is need for experienced interpreters to mentor upcoming interpreters.
4.       Resources are needed to help countries starting training or certification programs to prioritize, coordinate and build on available infrastructures and systems.
5.       There is need to import available technologies like captioning, relay, and video telephones for the Deaf in developing countries.
On behalf of KSLIA and myself, I would like to thank my colleagues from America and in particular the following people and organizations for sponsoring my WASLI trip. My special thanks to:

CSD Video Relay Service for sponsoring half of my travel, conference and in country expenses, Global Deaf Connection, Fundraising coordinating efforts of Cara Christopherson, Arlyn Anderson, Richard Laurion, CSDVRS Video Interpreters, Individual MN Interpreters and University of Minnesota Staff Interpreters.







Thursday, 7 February 2013

Access to information protest march by Deaf Kenyans


seven things you should know before calling the Deaf Kenyans names for protesting on the streets...

Access2InfoDemo - Deaf and KSL Users on the streets
Kenya National Association of the Deaf demonstrated outside Nation Centre on 6th February 2013, demanding all television stations should have Kenyan sign language interpretation or without that they should insert or have closed caption/sub-title of television programming, saying Deaf and hard of hearing persons are excluded from information passed through TV, and it is their right to have access to information. reported the Nation 
The association of the deaf is holding a demonstration outside the ministry of information offices demanding 24/7 sign language interpretation inserts or closed captions on all TV stations. They will later protest outside nation center demanding NTV to obey the court order given last year. the Star reported
Access2InfoDemo - City Hall Way - before stopping at the Supreme Court
Comments and Statements from journalists, readers of online blogs and social media can be found below:


  
TV Caption NOW
Here are some of the issues that the journalists and critics did not tell you.

1. This is not the first time the issue of Sign Language interpretation on Kenyan media is being discussed. There have been debates about this since time in memorial - as long as Deaf Kenyans and Television have been there, there has always been a discussion on accessibility of information for persons who are Deaf or hard of hearing. In 2007 the then Assistant Minister for information Koigi wa Wamwere said " The Government has no powers to compel media houses to introduce sign language. However, it has written to all media houses and the Media Owners Association, asking them to introduce sign language in their television news casts....media houses moved to court in 2004 after the enforcement of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 2003, and obtained a ruling prohibiting the Government from compelling them to introduce sign language." ( The Nation Nairobi, 14 June 2007) 

This position has been overtaken by the events of the promulgation of the new constitution of Kenya 2010. In 2010, KSL was recognized in the new constitution of Kenya as an official language of the Kenyan Parliament. This language is believed to have originated in the first deaf schools, in the early 1960s in western Kenya (Okombo & Akach 1997). The constitution states the following about Kenyan Sign Language 

The Constitution of Kenya clearly recognizes KSL as a Language; 
  1. Article 120, recognizes KSL as one of the official Languages of Kenyan Parliament. 
  2. Article 54(1) (d) entitles Deaf and Hard of hearing persons to use KSL while 
  3. Article 7(3) (b) mandates the government to promote the use and development of KSL.


including all the other tenets that talk about equity, social justice, inclusiveness, equality, human rights, non-discrimination and protection of the marginalized; the use of Kenyan Sign Language is equal to the other rights - Human Rights and Rights of persons with disabilities with the limitations as  much that they are reasonable and justifiable.

Deputy PS Info, Richie, KNAD Chair at TelePosta Tower

2. There have been numerous correspondence between the Deaf Association and the ministry of information, communications commission of Kenya (CCK) and the media owners (who have ignored all letters, requests for round table talks or call/social media) There have been communications from the legal counsel representing the association of the Deaf and from Deaf individuals or groups acting on their behalf. There is even a court order on the same issue to one of the media houses (see NTV vs CRADLE) 

3. Non of the reporters will explicitly talk about this article - “Section 39 of the Persons with Disabilities Act imposes an express obligation on all persons in the position of a media house to provide access to persons with hearing disability access to the information that they impart in their television programmes,” This right is as important as the freedom of worship or owning property or using English or Kiswahili, if it takes one million signatures to call for an amendment to a clause in the constitution or call for a referendum process then Kenyan Sign Language Users are large enough to be heard and treated equally in Kenya.

at NMG tower

4. The protest was about access to public information for Deaf Kenyans/users of Kenyan Sign language. In many communities in Kenya people with disabilities are denied the right to vote and stand for election. The right to vote restricted from people without full legal capacity, yet the vast majority of people including those without verbal communication, can express an opinion with adequate support. Political disenfranchisement further increases the political invisibility of people with disabilities and their needs and concerns, and makes it easy for policy-makers to ignore their demands. 

Animated display of displeasure by SENECA Guard company refusal of entry to NMG tower

5. Kenya ratified the UN Convention on 19 May 2008. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recognizes and secures Deaf people’s linguistic rights. The most significant achievement for Deaf people is that article 2 defines sign languages as languages, more to say, they are considered equal to spoken languages. Sign languages have complex rules of grammar and expansive vocabularies, and are comfortably capable to be used in everyday conversation, intellectual discourse, rhetoric, likewise wit, and poetry. Sign languages in each country are found to have dialects, just as spoken languages do. These rights are protected by the UN Convention by its five articles that have a direct reference to Deaf people and sign languages (See: Article 2 ; Article 9.2.e ; Article 21.b and 21.e; Article 24.3.b and 24.3.c and 24.4; Article 30.4).

getting the attention - vuvuzela, whistle, posters, flyers


6. Deaf people face many barriers when using public and private services. This is frequently due to a lack of awareness of the needs of Deaf people on the part of service providers, and insufficient communication support. Deaf people with visual impairments (for example those with Usher syndrome) or other disabilities are especially disadvantaged. Because English is often their second language, Deaf KSL users do not always have full access to written information. Service providers therefore need to use interpreters wherever necessary 

insisting to be heard, the guards said NMG - NTV director not in...increasing agitation  

7.Telecommunication service providers should review their services with emergence of KSL. Relay, Video conferencing and Multimedia services are appealing to KSL users due to the visual nature of the language. The media especially television will need to take into account the needs to use KSL interpretation professionals for its news and programs or embrace captioning and subtitling for equal accessibility.


Responsibilities of the Deaf Citizens
Learn your language, document it, teach it and use it in pride with pride. Deaf pride will be the mantra! Organize yourselves to share the rich culture, history and language. You remain as the only true ambassadors of your communities. Use the language, teach it, record it and share it on the internet, youtube, Deaftube etc are media avenues available for you.
Mr. Politician - watch this!!!
Kenyan Sign Language has gone through a historic monumental experience over the last three decades and it is with a lot of pride that the Kenya National Association of the Deaf KNAD looks back at the legacy of our forefathers, they have struggled and some have passed on without seeing the joy or benefits of their struggle to have KSL recognized, mentioned or accepted in our country. We salute men and women who since 1987 and earlier have advocated and stood their ground in making this historical moment possible. Posterity indeed will forever be grateful to the various individuals and organizations that have supported this cause.

Congrats to Nation Media group. Nation Television Managing Director finally addressed us and listen to our issues. He promised to work with KNAD and ensure we are represented in presidential debate planning process as well as having news accessible in sign language . First engagement to start this Saturday for presidential debate preparation.

Finally Mr. Linus Kaikai emerges to speak with the protesters 

Mr. Kaikai listening to complaints from Deaf Protesters



Photo: Deaf Kenyans did wonderful job today by uniting to demand for media accessibility. Nation Television Managing Director finally addressed us and listen to our issues. He promised to work with KNAD and ensure we are represented in presidential debate planning process as well as having news accessible in sign language . First engagement to start this Saturday for presidential debate preparation. The fight is not over we must continue!

NTV'S Managing Editor Linus Kaikai (Right) addressing to demonstrators from Kenya National Association of the Deaf as they are translated in a sign language by two of their colleagues(Left and back) when they demonstrated outside Nation Centre on 6th February 2013, demanding all television stations should have Kenyan sign language interpretation or without that they should insert or have closed caption/sub-title of television programming, saying Deaf and hard of hearing persons are excluded from information passed through TV, and it is there right to have access to information. 


The Kenya National Association of the Deaf (KNAD) is a legal Non-Governmental Organization (NGO). The organization was founded and registered in 1987 with the Government of Kenya under the Societies Act of 1968 rule 4. The mission of KNAD is to advocate Human and Linguistic Rights of the Deaf Community in Kenya. KNAD membership is drawn from affiliated associations active in all the 47 Counties of Kenya.

I leave you with this message as you think about the above. President Obama's message to Kenyans (by the way on Youtube it is captioned!)


Featured post

KSL Cover Huyu Yesu by Mercy Masika & Angel Benard

When I started this blog, I wanted to address the lack of documentation of Kenyan Sign Language, Deaf Culture and History in Kenya and res...