ENHANCING AND FOSTERING A STRONG SENSE OF COMMUNITY
As a community of sign language interpreters, our philosophy is to enhance and strengthen opportunities for both the Deaf community and the sign language interpreter community.
Some of the activities that demonstrate our philosophy include:
- Covering a wide variety of philanthropic areas such as supporting the development of Deaf Interpreters (DI), providing interpreting services for various projects of benefit to the Deaf community.
- Providing free interpreting service when institutions are slow to provide or do not agree to provide services.
- Hosting an annual Phil Parker Lecture, inviting noted Deaf presenters to give a presentation of interest to our Deaf, interpreter and hearing community.
- Our interpretation services bridge the gap between Deaf and Hearing cultures.
- We consistently demonstrate our cultural understanding of our customer, anticipating their needs, and providing the best customer experience.
- We have provided opportunities for the training of Deaf Interpreters (DIs) and fully support the use of DIs. We believe that our interpreter colleagues who are Deaf are a valuable and essential component of many interpreting situations providing clarity and cultural interpretation. DIs have been an integral part of several teams, in particular, court, medical, immigration settings.
- As a company, we also positively impact the interpreting profession. ASL Interpreters have traditionally worked in a freelance capacity. Independence has given individuals the ability to control their own schedules and choose the type of work they are best suited to, but it has caused many people to leave the field as it is difficult to maintain sufficient income. Another problematic factor is the fact that running their own business is not where interpreters may be best suited nor have an interest.
SLIAO allows interpreters to pool their time, various strengths, and availability, which contributes to a higher capacity of covering the community’s interpreting needs, as well as adding to interpreter well-being. It allows sub-contractors to take time off, be assigned work well suited to one’s skills, participate in Professional Development opportunities and not worry about fee recovery as SLIAO is able to pay on a bi-weekly basis and takes care of the business end of the contracting process.
We have also been able to increase our network and visibility (using our resources as a collective rather than as individual interpreters) by using social media with Facebook and Twitter. Through increasing our visibility, we continue to educate the public on the need to provide access to Deaf Canadians through qualified, professional interpreters.