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Hearing out concerns

Filipino researchers present work at Paris conference

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Deaf advocates, interpreters, educators, learners, volunteers, and its communities from all over the world gathered at the recently held four-day World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI) Conference in Paris, France.
With the theme “Honoring the Past, Treasuring the Present and Shaping the Future,” it sought to answer and find solutions on some emerging important issues on deaf education and sign language interpreting.
Among the representatives of the Philippines were John Xandre C. Baliza, the president of the Philippine National Sign Language Interpreters (PNASLI) and an interpreting education program coordinator at De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) and Christina S. Sison, research associate of the College’s Center for Education Access and Development (CEAD).
Co-authored with Sison, Baliza presented their research entitled “Working conditions and training profile of Sign Language Interpreters in the Philippines: Shaping the quality of interpreting services and practice of profession.”
It aims to investigate the working conditions of the Filipino Sign Language (FSL) interpreters, their training backgrounds related to their professions and the effect of providing equitable and quality services to the Deaf.
According to Baliza and Sison, the Filipino deaf community is challenged to actively engage with other sectors, and this was the main reason which made it urgent to assess the status of this particular subject.
During his presentation, Baliza shared that this specialty in our islands started as a result of volunteerism and not as a profession. After devoting their time learning the particular language, only family members, teachers of the deaf, and the clergy remained as the FSL pioneers.
To make the study possible, Baliza and Sison designed a pen and paper survey questionnaire distributed to 200 local sign language translators and utilized focus group discussions in the four major regions of the country to gather information on the working relationships with the communities, the quality, the ethics and the standards of their field.

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