CFCC to begin Interpreter Education Sign Language Program

Published: Jul. 14, 2015 at 10:46 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 18, 2015 at 10:46 PM EDT
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SOUTHEASTERN, NC (WECT) - Starting in the fall, Cape Fear Community College will begin a new Interpreter Education (Sign) Program.

The instructor of the program, Joy Schultz, was born deaf and knows firsthand the struggle of effective communication.

"In terms of struggles I've faced, I would say the lack of good, certified, qualified interpreters, that has been a struggle for me," Schultz said.

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires many businesses to have interpreters, not just signers, for the hard of hearing.

"Certified interpreters are so important, especially in the medical field, or the legal field, when the deaf go to their medical appointments or their court appointments, those interpreters need to be certified," Schultz continued.

Schultz said interpreters are needed so that everyone can truly understand the meaning behind what is being communicated not just the words, because different people who are deaf or hard of hearing have accents and their own way of saying things that interpreters need to be specially trained to convey.

Chair of CFCC's Public Service Department David Conklin said there is a growing need for interpretation.

"Everything we do now it depends upon effective communication, and that's what this program is really predicated is making sure you have effective communication to a different audience that in the past to be honest has probably been neglected," Conklin said.

A neglect Schultz said she hopes to erase.

"The deaf we have the same rights as the hearing, we have the right to equal access communication," Schultz said.

The students in the program will go through a rigorous two year program to learn American Sign Language, grammar, and structure, learn about the deaf community and learn how to interpret. The curriculum description said the Interpreter Education curriculum prepares individuals to work as entry-level Sign Language Interpreters who will provide communication access in interview and interactive settings.

"I can't wait until the fall, I have quite a vision of what I'd like to see happen, and I'm excited to do it here at Cape Fear Community College," Schultz explained. "I'm excited to meet the students, I'm excited to see where they go when they finish this two year program."

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