In order to weed out any unscrupulous sign language interpreters, all interpreters will be registered under the Namibian National Association of the Deaf (NNAD).
The chairperson of NNAD Beata Armas said there “would be no individuals working as sign language interpreters anymore”.
She explained that whoever needs the services of an interpreter should approach the association and not just use anyone. The NNAD wants to assure people get skilled and professional interpreters.
She gave an example of what happened in 2013 at President Nelson Mandela’s memorial service, where a dubious sign language interpreter Thamsanqa Jantjie did not make any sense while interpreting during the service.
Locally, she said, interpreters currently employed at Namcol are using mostly wrong signs and deaf students do not benefit at all. This leads to their failure.
Armas said the NNAD is encouraging organizations to work with the association, which would enable it to correct any wrong signs and also for proper signs to be used for the benefit of the deaf community.
Armas said by next year NNAD would have a call centre. She explained that when someone calls the call centre looking for an interpreter it would provide one.
“Since there is no call centre for sign language interpreters in Namibia, all interpreters will be under the NNAD from now till the establishment of the interpreter’s association which is in process.”
Armas said sign language is the official language of the deaf and is a human right that is supposed to be recognized and respected as an official language. Sign language interpreters are there to bridge the gap between the deaf and the hearing and therefore their services are of paramount importance to the deaf community.