I laugh out loud whenever I remember the infamous sign language interpreter at the late Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa’s burial. He was to be doing something totally different from that which he was paid to do; sign language interpretation.
Many are ignorant when it comes to sign language. We take it for granted that people who know sign language speak the same gestures or signs globally to mean the same thing.
Actually sign language is not the same world over. It is just like me and him speak different languages.
Yes, sign language is similar compared the rest of the languages but still it shouldn’t be an assumption that it is the same in every bit.
Those well versed with sign language will back me when I say that.
It should also be noted that sign language though mainly meant for the deaf people, is not only used by them.
People that use sign language include;
v The deaf.
v Sign language teachers.
v Relatives and friends to the deaf people.
v Random people who though not deaf went ahead to learn sign language any way.
v Caretakers of deaf people.
v Sign language interpreters.
I strongly think that this should be taken seriously and into consideration when having a meeting or gathering that is going to have the deaf participate.
It will be very depressing when you as a service provider find out that the deaf people in your meeting either only got half of what you were communicating or nothing at all simply because you assumed you employed a sign language interpreter.
So in order to avoid embarrassing situations like that during the Mandela burial, a well exposed sign language professional should be used for effective communication.
How to effectively communicate to the deaf
Avoid looking for a sign language interpreter yourself because you’re likely to choose the one with no enough experience! Use a translations agency to do this task for you
Do enough research about the companies offering the linguistic services to find out their experience, availability, testimonies and the regions they operate.
A translations agency will avail you with professional and exposed sign language interpreters who know both the basics and differences that are involved when it comes to sign language as per region.