EuroSign Interpreter

University of Warsaw represented by the Section for Sign Linguistics has become the fourth partner to the EuroSign Interpreter Project – an international initiative supported by the Lifelong Learning Programme. A team of researchers from the University of Warsaw have joined their colleagues from the University of Sussex (Brighton, England), Institute of German Sign Language (Hamburg, Germany) and the Czech Chamber of Sign Language Interpreters (Prague, Czech Republic). The aim of this two-year project is to develop educational resources for Deaf people proficient in two sign languages in order to be trained as interpreters.

At present, it is possible for Deaf people to participate in international events, such as conferences, business meetings, and academic lectures owing to interpreting of at least three languages: from one sign language into a popular intermediary spoken language, such as English, and from English into another sign language. Such three-step process of interpretation negatively affects the quality of transfer that reaches the Deaf recipients. The efficiency of interpreted communication could be increased by the provision of direct interpreting between two national sign languages. Training interpreters who can work between two sign languages is the main goal of the EuroSign Interpreter project.

The outputs of the EuroSign Interpreter project will include a website providing online learning module, learning materials, and video recordings, as well as interviews with sign language interpreters and their customers. Special panels of experts established for the purpose of the project will discuss potential directions for professional development of sign language to sign language interpreters.

The EuroSign Interpreter project fits into a pan-European process of recognition of national sign languages as minority languages resulting from the 1988 and 1998 recommendations of the European Council as to the legal recognition of sign languages in Europe. The long-term effect of the project will be the accessibility of Deaf citizens to unrestrained travel, education and employment across borders, and consequently, increased participation of Deaf citizens in the life of Europe.