Asli Membership Survey Report 2010


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Recently conducted survey of indian sign language interpreters. authored by Jennifer Smith.

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Asli Membership Survey Report 2010

  1. 1. Membership Survey 2010 Indian Association of Sign Language Interpreters Association of Sign Language Interpreters (ASLI) Membership Survey 2010 Page 1 of 8
  2. 2. Membership Survey ASLI was founded in 2007 and has experienced a steadily growing membership. It was felt that it was an appropriate time to conduct a membership survey to find out who the members of ASLI are and what they require from their membership and the profession. From February to June 2010 a survey was filled out by the members of ASLI. 49 people completed the survey. The survey was available in English and Hindi. Some members filled out the survey at the National Conference in February. For those that could not attend the conference or joined ASLI after February, the survey was filled out over the telephone or by email. Every effort was made to contact members who did not have access to the conference or a computer. A small number of people who filled out the survey were conference attendees and not yet members of ASLI. The report will follow the sections of the survey and report on the responses of members using graphics and explanations: About ASLI Members Of the 49 respondents, 10 were male and 39 female. 31 members, or 63%, stated they had Deaf people in their family. The pie chart below shows the representation of ages of ASLI members: Association of Sign Language Interpreters (ASLI) Membership Survey 2010 Page 2 of 8
  3. 3. The figures show a high number of people have Deaf people in their family which is expected in an emerging profession and that many interpreters are female. This indicates that the majority of interpreters started interpreting for family and have now started to interpret for other Deaf people in their community. The pie chart shows a trend towards younger people being involved in interpreting. This could be due to them having less family commitments or more time with which to assist others. Interpreting Work and Experience Of the member’s responses, 38 were already working and 11 wanted to work as a Sign Language Interpreter. As the chart below shows the biggest problems faced by Indian Sign Language Interpreters, in order, are a lack of recognition, a lack of accessible training, a lack of payment for work and a lack of recognition of Deaf rights. ASLI continues to represent and campaign for its members on these wider issues that hamper the development of the profession and therefore access to interpreters for Deaf people. Association of Sign Language Interpreters (ASLI) Membership Survey 2010 Page 3 of 8
  4. 4. Questions were asked to identify how many hours members spent interpreting every week, how many years they had been interpreting for and how many different Deaf people they interpreted for. The answers are displayed in the pie charts below: These results show that either people interpret in their spare time for only a few hours per week or they have a full time job interpreting for an organisation and interpret for over 18 hours per week. Association of Sign Language Interpreters (ASLI) Membership Survey 2010 Page 4 of 8
  5. 5. The chart shows that some ASLI members are very experienced with 9 members having over 20 years of work as an interpreter. The experienced members (over 7 years) were over half those that repsonded to the survey. Of the rest of the members, some had been working for a few years already. This shows a good spread between newer members, still learning how to interpret and those that have worked and gained knowledge of the profession. This is a strength of the Association that will help it to develop in future years. The members who responded are mostly interpreting for a good variety of Deaf people which reflects the fact that ASLI has experienced interpreters as part of its membership. For the newer members, having a wide variety of clients will help to ensure they develop into well-rounded professionals. The next question was asked to ascertain in which fields members worked. The results show that only a few interpret in the arts as it is a new domain. Not many members stated they interpreted in the religious domain although more stated they interpreted at social events which included some religious events. Only a few people interpret in television as there is currently only seven minutes per week of sign language interpreting on television which is the one news programme broadcast on a Sunday. Only a few stated they had interpreted for video relay services (VRS) as video interpreting via webcams and the internet is a relatively new service. Most interpreters had worked in education, health and at both formal and informal meetings. The most surprising results were nine interpreters stated they worked for the court and 14 for the police. This highlights a need for more access to training to ensure people have the specialist skills to work in these areas. Association of Sign Language Interpreters (ASLI) Membership Survey 2010 Page 5 of 8
  6. 6. Language Proficiency Of the interpreters surveyed most stated they were proficient in Hindi and Indian Sign Language (ISL). Some stated they had between an intermediate and advanced use of American Sign Language. About half had advanced English with the rest having moderate or intermediate levels of English. Of the other state languages of India there were at least one or two interpreters who stated they spoke the following languages at advanced or intermediate levels: Punjabi, Marathi, Teluga, Rajastani, Kannada, Malyalam and Tamil. This confirms the need to introduce other state languages into interpreter assessments, training programmes and registration so that interpreters may be able to officially call themselves interpreters in these other languages. Association of Sign Language Interpreters (ASLI) Membership Survey 2010 Page 6 of 8
  7. 7. Training Of the members who responded, 4 had attended a certified course, 8 had attended some training and 33 had never had access to a training course. In the comments section of the survey, members stated that courses were not available in their area or based on sign language training when they were already fluent users of ISL. These courses are only available as a diploma option over three month periods which excluded members with other commitments. When asked about different methods of training it was apparent that interpreters wanted different methods of delivery with different modes available. ASLI has already created a training course to be delivered in different states to give those already fluent in ISL more access to training. This will be delivered in the coming months. Association of Sign Language Interpreters (ASLI) Membership Survey 2010 Page 7 of 8
  8. 8. Conclusion The survey has given a valuable insight into the membership of ASLI and the work that ASLI will aim to undertake in the coming years. It is heartening to see interpreters of all ages working with Deaf people, showing that ASLI and the interpreting profession in India have the potential to develop. With younger members working alongside experienced interpreters the profession can capitalise on skills sharing and build capacity and knowledge from within. Although there is a lack of recognition of the work, the rights of Deaf people, pay and accessible training, members continue to work with Deaf people and are keen to be able to continue to interpret. ASLI is undertaking campaign work in these areas and will work alongside Deaf people and interpreters to improve access to interpreting and working conditions for all. A need has been highlighted to include state languages in assessments, training programmes and the registration of interpreters to ensure these languages are taken into account and people can work safely in these languages. The members already work in a wide variety of domains. In future years it is envisaged that more interpreters and more training will be required to enable people to work efficiently in certain areas such as the arts, television, courts and for the police. Most interpreters already work in the areas of education, health, employment and meetings and require access to training. The survey will be continued and developed periodically to ensure ASLI develops in line with its members’ requirements and the access needs of Deaf people in the wider context. The survey will be available in different languages and to newer members to ensure survey information is up to date. ASLI has also consulted the Deaf community with regard to its wider campaign work and continues to work closely with Deaf organisations. Association of Sign Language Interpreters (ASLI) Membership Survey 2010 Page 8 of 8