A short time ago, I got a reply on one of my old posts and thought it merited some looking into. Here it is:
“I have the privelage of working for Sorenson part-time(travel 200 miles one way) and full-time for a local college. The opportunity may arise in the near future to set up a Sorenson center in my home town. Decisions….decisions???? When it comes down to it I have to look out for what is best for me and my family; chances are I will leave the college where we have an average of 35 deaf and hard of hearing students to work less hours, and be compensated more. I feel it’s about time the sign language interpreter is valued, and Sorenson is the company that has stepped up and expressed just that. What does this mean for the deaf community? Well, how about getting together to implement more ITP’s, or educate your local school boards of the importance of training, paying, and appreciating their interpreters. Several friends of mine currently work within the school district as interpreters and have expressed their frustration with the “aide” mentality. It’s about time interpreters are looked at as a valuable commodity and not an “aide”. I personally feel Sorenson is an uplifter and for your appreciation toward interpreters I personally thank you.”
While I feel the frustration of seeing so many good interps ‘beating a path’ to the doors of Sorenson to offer their services in exchange for a more stable source of income, insurance and benefits, I can readily see why they’d opt for this course. On the other hand, I have to wonder at the original purpose of the interpreter training program – one of which it’s keynotes lies in working WITH the Deaf Community.
There is no denying of our appreciation for Sorenson’s pioneering early work in giving us a new technology in communication via our video-phones to be used for VRS relay and for direct connections between the Deaf people.
But in view of this and what is apparently becoming the common outcry among the interps, what are we supposed to do? This also affects the future of the mainstreamed deaf children in public schools if a certified interp cannot be found for the classroom, resulting in a poor outcome with a mediocre (and often, uncertified) interpreter.
Let me ask you this – since Sorenson started setting up call centers across the country, how has this affected your access to a interp in your area? Is it taking longer than it used to? Do you end up with one that you’d not recommend to anyone? Most of all, what do you think about the response of the interpreter I posted above? Let’s hear your opinion
Till next time…