Interpreters who work with individuals who are Deaf-Blind undertake specialized training to effectively accommodate low vision and blindness. The interpreter provides both auditory and visual information, modifies the signing space and distance from the Deaf-Blind consumer, and may incorporate subtle grammatical markers ordinarily visible on the face into signing received tactually.
Consortium’s Work on DeafBlind Interpreting
Three organizations – the American Association of the Deaf-Blind (AADB), the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID), and the NCIEC – came together between 2005 and 2010 to form the National Task Force on Deaf-Blind Interpreting (NTFDBI). Two key resources resulted from that work.
An Annotated Bibliography on Deaf-Blind Interpreting is available as a pdf document.
Hecker-Cain, J., Morrow, S.M., & Frantz, R. (2008) Curriculum guide for infusing Deaf-Blind interpreting into an interpreter education program. National Consortium of Interpreter Education Centers.
For additional resources, please visit our Resource pages.
Regional Center Activities
The Consortium Regional Centers provide educational opportunities to support the professional development of interpreters for work in the Deaf-Blind community.
GURIEC, CATIE, & WRIEC
The Gallaudet University Regional Interpreter Education Center (GURIEC), in conjunction with the CATIE Center, the Western Region Interpreter Education Center, the American Association of the Deaf-Blind, and the National Task Force on Deaf-Blind Interpreting sponsored a Deaf-Blind interpreting mentoring program from May 31 – June 24, 2011. The overall objective was to enhance the knowledge and skills of working interpreters in the area of interpreting with DeafBlind people. The program was designed in two parts: 1) facilitated online instruction and video mentoring sessions and 2) a facilitated hands-on experience onsite at the 2011 AADB Symposium, June 19th-24th in Fort Mitchell, KY.
During spring 2011 and 2012, the Regional Interpreter Education Center at Northeastern University (NURIEC) supported a two-part professional training, Interpreting Strategies for Individuals who are Deaf-Blind, held at the Helen Keller National Center and presented by Susanne Morgan Morrow. The program consisted of a week-long online seminar and a four-day on-site workshop, where participants, who are working interpreters, learned about the diverse needs of the Deaf-Blind community and what it means to interpret within this community.
NURIEC offered a small honorarium to interpreters who attend the training when they brought their learning home to share with local colleagues. NURIEC also co-sponsored CEUs for the training and provided assistance with evaluation, which included a pre- and post-training self-assessment. Results were extremely positive with a significant change in self-perceived knowledge and attitude reported by participants. Long term follow up results indicate that 100% of participants accept more work with Deaf-Blind consumers following the training. This opportunity will be repeated each year.