The Deaf Access Service Department will be recruiting *Community Interpreters from 19 February 19 to 30 March 19.
*“Community Interpreters” refer to our pool of interpreters who take on assignments on an ad hoc basis with remuneration.
Please apply using the Interpreter Application Form in this link: www.tinyurl.com/ci-application if you are keen to join us. The Interpreter Application Form will also explain more about the criteria and list the available interview dates.
Hmm… but what does being an interpreter really mean?
Let’s clear those doubts! Before making the commitment, join us in an upcoming recruitment talk that will provide you with more information about being a community interpreter, the selection criteria and application process.
Date: 20 Feb 2019
Time: 7.30pm – 9.30pm
Venue: Singapore Association for the Deaf, Level 2, AVA Room
Address: 227 Mountbatten Rd, Singapore 397998
The SADeaf Terp team greeted December with a Continuing Education Training session on medical signs. Here are some photos of our happy participants and further below, you will see write-ups from two of our committed Community Interpreters. 🙂
“I think the signs being taught at the workshop are already what we’ve learnt in class before. but what’s valuable is that we actually have deaf participants and also CIs who work in the medical industry so we actually can have more relevant discussions of real life issues – like how “pain” and “sore” are different and it will affect what kind of medication is being prescribed. with deaf participants around, we also get to see what is their instinctive sign to describe certain symptoms. something that is not so “textbook” but more in relevant in what’s being used in the Deaf Community.”
Audrey Yang, Community Interpreter
“I had a very interesting learning session on medical signs with instructor, James Ong on 1 Dec 2017. James shared a video about true incidents in which the signs and gestures of deaf patients asking for help were miscommunicated by healthcare professionals who do not know sign language. I noted the needs of deaf patients could be easily misunderstood, leading to frustration for the deaf patients and the healthcare workers whose intention was meant to save or comfort their patients. The video vividly emphasize the critical role of a sign interpreter in healthcare setting to bridge the communication gap between deaf and hearing persons as effective communication is very important to ensure both the deaf patients and healthcare professionals are safe.
During the session, James also introduced some medical signs on common health communication between deaf patients and healthcare professionals. Signs discussed include chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and symptoms related to common illness such as cough, sore-throat, pain were also included. Learning medical signs is essential for us to interpret effectively in healthcare setting and making sure that there is no miscommunication between the deaf clients and their doctors. I hope more sessions will be organized in the future and we can possibly have a medical sign dictionary in future for both the Deaf and the interpreter.
I would like to thank SADeaf and James for organizing this insightful session.”
On 5 March 2017, our homegrown Deafblind advocate, Ms Lisa Loh, organised a workshop catered to interpreters and befrienders of the DeafBlind Community. Lisa had invited a Deafblind expert from Japan, Ms Akiko Fukuda. As a deafblind individual herself, we were given the opportunity to witness Ms Akiko delivering the workshop alongside her team of interpreter-guides.
Right at the start, we learned about the different types of blindness such as Night Blindness and Usher Syndrome. There are mainly two types of Deafblind people – Blind-oriented Deaf who have been living as a blind person and become deaf later in life and the Deaf-oriented Blind who acquire vision loss later in life. It is more difficult to communicate with Blind-oriented Deaf individuals as they have no knowledge of Sign Language and can only use an oral-based communication method besides braille.
The provision of accessibility is important in enabling Deafblind individuals. One such instance is the use of interpreter-guides, who are also known as IGs.
Ms Akiko raised on some issues about working with IGs. As quoted from her, Ms Akiko said, “IGs are my eyes and ears – not hands. For example, in the washroom, the IG can alert me that the toilet is dirty and inform me where the toilet tissue is. The Deafblind person should learn how to wipe the toilet seat themselves. The IG is not allowed to meddle with my stuff. Only inform me that my bag is unzipped and it is up to myself to decide if I wish to leave it so.”
An IG requires skills of judgment and alert to visual cues in their surroundings. When entering a classroom, for example, the IG is required to inform the Deafblind individual of how big the room is and how many people are there. The Deafblind individual has every right to know every detail of his/her surroundings. Throughout the training, Aiko was speaking and receiving information through her IGs using tactile Sign Language.
Ms Akiko had also touched on communication with the DeafBlind individuals. Besides the use of Braille, Sign Language is the main mode of communication. There are different modified versions of Sign Language used depending on the severity of the individual’s blindness. A method called “sign spatial modified” is practised when the other party engaged in the conversation needs to limit their signing to a restricted space that can be seen by the Deafblind individual. It could be extreme right or extreme left. This highly depends on the Deafblind individual’s field of vision. Distance is a factor too. For instance, some Deafblind need a distance of 5 metres to be able to see the other party while some need to be in close proximity. Other methods also include writing on palm using finger. This is however more tactile, thus, prospective IGs need to be comfortable with touch.
The IGs also need to be mindful of the clothes they have on. They could seek the Deafblind person’s approval on what kind of clothes colour they prefer. To accommodate to their vision state, some would prefer a colour contrast so that the IGs signing are more visible. Some also prefer covered arms or a black background. Hence, it is important for IGs to work with the Deafblind person for a period of time to be familiarised with the Deafblind’s preferences.
The session was an interactive one. Participants asked questions and were given the opportunity to do some hands-on activities. These experiential learning allow them to take on the IG role as well as immersing into the Deafblind world. Watch video below to catch them in the act!
Here’s a little review by one of our participants, Ms Selena Kuo.
We are ever grateful to have Ms Akiko and her team hailing all the way from Japan to impart such valuable knowledge. With the heightened awareness, we hope Singapore can one day follow in the footsteps of Japan and other countries to provide greater accessibility to the DeafBlind Community. 🙂
Soren and Mille Winkel are back in Singapore! If you’re wondering who the Winkels are, let’s introduce a little bit about them. Soren and Mille are a couple from Denmark who have set up their own interpreting company, Tegnsprogstolken. They made their first appearance in Singapore early last year and thave recently made a comeback to share more of their vast experience in the interpreting field. Here’s a little summary of what we learned throughout the two sessions they conducted..
16 July 2015
Mille had a sharing session with some Deaf and Hearing interpreters. Participants gained some hands-on experience interpreting written text to Singapore Sign Language, or also known as SgSL. The activity was supported by the presence of our Deaf interpreters to remind hearing interpreters on the use of Classifiers and Visual Gesture Communication (VGC). Pick a simple story and try it on your own!
Ensuing the activity, Mill shared with us on her experience in Denmark working with Deaf interpreters! Deaf interpreting is still a new scene in Singapore. However, this form of interpreting has been practiced in Denmark for some time. Mille shared the benefits of having Deaf interpreters. Firstly, Deaf interpreters can connect to a wider range of Deaf audience. They are able to connect to Deaf audience who may be of different generation, education level, and even mediate the barriers of dialects in signs. This would be extremely beneficial for national broadcast and also in medical cases where a Deaf individual’s signing is impaired due to medical conditions such as Stroke. These are the gaps that hearing interpreters are unable to fill. We then went on to experience some hands-on practice on working with Deaf interpreters. A set-up of working with Deaf interpreter would be similar to the figure illustrated above.
18 July 2015
The hearing and deaf interpreters were separated into two groups. In the hearing group, Mille shared about some of the challenges and strategies of working as an interpreter. Some of the challenges include maintaining confidentiality and handling difficult situations. “What would you do if…” case studies were discussed.
Mille also shared the history and development of the SignLanguage interpreting scene in Denmark. Mille commented that Singapore was just like Denmark 40 years ago before a Union for Sign Language Interpreters were being established. Ultimately, all interpreters need to come together with a common goal and shard identity before setting up a registry of interpreters.
A special thanks to Mille and Soren for conducting these two-day workshops. Hope to see you again soon!
Some pictures to ease your eyes from the endless texts…
Contributed by: Teo Zhi Xiong (with some amendments made here and there 😉 Thank you!)
Thank you to everyone who attended our KISS session in November! Here’s a little commentary from one of our dear participants. 🙂
After watching the movie “Confession”, I had similar feelings. As an introvert, there have been many cases of extroverts trying to “fix” me, telling me to change and become more like them. This is a very common problem, even in today’s society. When you are different from the majority, they try to “fix” you, or try to change you so that you become like them. What these people do not know is that some things can’t be changed.
Instead of telling deaf people to learn speech so that he can communicate with them, what Graham Bell should have done instead, was to learn sign language to communicate with the deaf. It is impossible for the deaf to be able to speak like the hearing, no matter how much speech training is taught, but it is very possible for him to learn sign language to communicate.
Just like how Susan Cain has stepped out to spread awareness about introversion, I believe we should also do our part on spreading awareness about deafness. -Ken Ng
SPOOKTOBER was a success with our good friends, Lisa Loh & the ever-so-spooky-looking Lily Goh, who had kindly spent their time contributing their ideas and executing the one and only, KISS in October! On 31st October 2014, the session started with splitting of participants into two teams, FrankenSign & Zombified. While FrankenSign was led to the dark, dingy AVA room while Zombified stayed in 209 for a movie, Orphan. After FrankenSign completed their mission in the AVA room, the teams switched sessions and it became Zombified’s turn to get spooked.
By the way, here’s a glimpse of the film:
What happened in the AVA Room?
In the AVA room, participants were subjected to a game of Ouija and the room became completely unlit. In such darkness with a few faint light sticks lying around the room, participants were instructed to put on blindfolds and put on headphones (for hearing only). The whole idea was to stimulate the life of a deaf blind person (whilst incorporating some elements of halloween, teehee!).
So there they were in that dark room, at the mercy of the “evil spirit” who hid the key in the most unflattering candy box. Their ultimate mission was to of course locate the key, to which they had to first complete four stations with aims to access the codes required to open the candy box. Brief description of stations are as follows:
1) Replicate the Puzzle – Participants had to replicate the model made of shape blocks, communication using sign language. Tactile, yes.
2) Tell the time – Feeling the face of a clock and figuring out the time seems easy for you? Not when you’re in the house of doom! Ok, I kid. It really took them quite awhile to figure out the numbers, hour and minute hands!
3) Fruits or Vegetables – By far, I would think, the easiest hurdle. With spoons shoved up their mouths, our dear friends were able to easily differentiate between the two food categories. Swear I felt my heart broke a little when I see their faces cringed upon sinking their teeth into the baby bittergourd. 😛
4) Telephone Line – Easy as it might sound, but if you are not adapted to tactile signing, it would be quite a chore. Nonetheless, our resilient participants attempted all sorts of methods to get the message across to their blindfolded friends.
Worrisome looks soon transformed to ecstatic faces the moment they reached the Candy box with numbers carefully stored in working memory. Punching numbers into the lock and finally the moment of revelation arrived! Oh wait, where’s the key? Furrowed eye brows emerged upon reading the note that said “You are too late…”. Before you know it, the spirit of team bonding returned and everyone had their arms linked to each other while feeling their way to the the door. Yes, with blindfolds on. With hands waving in mid air in search for the all-too-familiar walls, they finally managed to get to The Door. And little did they know that right behind That Door, our volunteer Ms Lily “Pontianak” Goh, was waiting in her realistic blood-dripping, spooky get-up.
The Spooktober Finale welcomed Ms Lisa Loh who presented an informative “Exploration on Deafblind”, which too served as a platform for discussion on the session. Most certainly, before we learn how to interpret for the Deafblind, we should be informed and aware of the techniques of communicating with them. After all one should master conversing first before interpreting right? Everyone raised their concerns about being deaf blind and the challenges they had to do without their sight. Indeed, a refreshing experience and we hope our participants brought back some valuable takeaways from the session. 🙂
Kudos to Bee Leng, Ken, Jingsi, Huimin, Sandy, Ellen, Kim, Kai Hong for braving through the dark! And special thanks to our kind volunteers, Lisa Loh & Lily Goh for their support along with terp Shimei & Amirah! Stay tuned for more monthly adventures with the interpreting team!