Sunday, 20 May 2007

KSLIA - the Journey

KSLIA the journey - Reflections from the April Interpreters Training

Kenya Sign Language Interpreters Association was set up by a group of 20 local interpreters after a training by the first Deaf Education US Peace Corps Volunteers in September of 2000. Prior to this training there were several short term trainings conducted by KSLRP/KNAD dating back to 1980s and 1990s. Several Interpreters were trained in interpretation theories and code of ethics. These core interpreters from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Zambia later replicated that training to their counterparts and it was hoped that these efforts would result in a stronger force of interpreters. Development in the other countries are hard to trace, however, in Kenya those efforts have been translated into an association. Like many countries in the world, interpreters in Kenya are rarely available, usually seen as('unqualified') due to the fact that most are usually friends to the Deaf, family members or teachers of the Deaf and largely there is a deficiency due to the lack of a training program/certification process.

KSLIA is an indigenous initiative evolving and strengthening the face of the Interpreting profession in Kenya. Kenya has a huge interpreter community that is active and isolated. Many Interpreters are working in various settings all over the country with little or no formal Interpreter training. KSLIA is in the forefront advocating for the establishment and sustaining of training programs all over Kenya. KSLIA hopes to improve and elevate the standards of Interpreting in Kenya through the following objectives:

a) To secure official recognition of interpreting profession by the Government, various service providers and the general public

b) Encourage and promote initiatives in improving the standards of interpreting and interpreter training and pay scale of interpreters depending with their level and skills of interpretation through certification.

c) Cooperation with other recognized bodies concerned in the welfare of the deaf and in provision of S.L Interpreters throughout the world.

d) Awareness creation on Deafness and Interpreting through publication of information materials

e) To collect and raise funds for the achievement of goals and objectives through membership fee, subscription, contribution, gifts or donations, commissions and payments, fund raising whether in money or otherwise from both members and non members.

f) To maintain and administer a registry of Interpreters in Kenya, including certification and license maintenance procedures.

g) Enforce a code of ethics and mediate conflict between the Interpreters and their clients.

KSLIA is working towards the establishment of a training program and a certification process for it's membership.

Global Deaf Connection (GDC), Deaf Aid (KRITD project), and KSLIA have set up the second national workshop for KSL/English interpreters in April 2007. This brought together more than 15 Interpreters from all over the country, the workshop's focus was on "Interpreting: Theory into Practice" this workshop was a follow up to the training held in August 2006 in Machakos. Further to this there is the final phase of the training to be conducted in December 2007. These training have been sponsored by GDC through a USAID grant with additional contributions from Deaf AID and KSLIA.

As a result of these trainings and the training needs assessments and feedback received from participants, there is a great need for a fully fledged training program focusing on all aspects of Interpreting from Language training, actual interpreting, various skills needed to the code of ethics. KSLIA will be in the steering wheel to ensure that the views, needs and aspirations of the Kenyan Interpreters are articulated and addressed by future trainings.

KSLIA envisions its role in a three pronged approach - the three C's - Certification of members, Continuing education for the practicing Interpreters and Conflict resolution through enforcement of the Code of Ethics.

Drafted by KSLIA (C) 2007.