Efforts to train more sign-language interpreters in Tokushima Prefecture

University students practice how to communicate in JSL with the Deaf instructor (second from left).
(photo: http://www.topics.or.jp/)

July 20, 2012

Sign-language interpreters ran short in Tokushima Prefecture located in western Japan, leading to lack of support to the Deaf community.

The Prefecture Welfare Association of the Deaf is continuing efforts to increase sign-language interpreters through steady instruction to the college students interested in welfare.

The prefecture has 15 certified interpreters, placed the 7th with fewer sign language interpreters in the whole country. There are reportedly about 100 requests for interpreting services per month.

In the National Deaf Athletic Meet held in Tokushima in 2010, since a part of the program schedule was a weekday, the number of interpreters did not meet the requirement, so the organization committee had to ask for help of a total of 16 interpreters from other three prefectures except Tokushima in the Shikoku region.

The Deaf Association is promoting sign language positively at a university, a high school, etc. in the prefecture. More students who wish to work at the spot of welfare are interested in sign language.

The National Conference of the Deaf, sponsored by Japan Federation of the Deaf, is scheduled in Tokushima in 2016. The Association officials say, "We hope that we train more young prospective interpreters in order to be ready for such a large-scale conference only with our human resources within the prefecture."

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