Regional Interpreters School—Specificity of the Sign Language Interpretations on TV
Due to the unclear situation regarding the future of COVID19 epidemic, we’ve decided to organise 2 regional meeting. In Moldova for the Eastern Europe and in Georgia for the Southern Caucasus. In the case of suspending the air traffic, the participants have the option to travel by land. Additionally, the arrival of 4 trainers from V4 countries doesn’t pose an epidemiologic threat, as in the case of a group of dozen people from a few countries. The same training has been planned in Moldova for the Eastern Europe. The epidemic has shown that the vast majority of official announcements and pieces of information in V4 countries were not accessible for the deaf – there was no interpretation into sign language. Suddenly, the deaf found themselves in a situation, where the reality changed overnight. New restrictions were introduced, cities were closed, there were bans on movement, limitations in public transport, the obligation to report via text message leaving home. While preparing the project, we have consulted the deaf persons in EaP countries. They told us about enormous fear about their own safety and powerlessness, resulting from lack of any information. It’s noteworthy that not all deaf persons who speak sign language, know the written language. Sign language is a totally different language, with own syntax and grammar. Many deaf persons do not understand a written text. At the same time, there are many gossips and unverified pieces of information. When there is a state of emergency (cataclysm, natural disaster, epidemic), persons with hearing or visual impairments are on their own, disinformed, exposed to stress resulting from lack of understanding of the situation and feeling threatened. There are no rules or standards of cooperation between the interpreters/ the deaf community and media/ public institutions. In Georgia, where we are implementing other projects dedicated for the deaf and the blind, together with the Association of the Deaf we have issued a petition regarding the introduction of obligation to interpret the information and announcement during a state of emergency into sign language. Introducing a state of emergency/ state of natural disaster requires from the citizens a quick reaction. No access to information adjusted to the needs of the deaf and blind automatically excludes them, which consequently means discrimination and treat to their life/health.