Interpreter training for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is as vital in the workforce as it is in the classroom for those who need the services.
“Everywhere there is a deaf person employed, hospitalized or imprisoned, there is a need for interpreters,” said Misty Gibson, Instructor in the Interpreter Training Technology program at Hinds Community College.
Four students on track to graduate from the program this semester are completing their practicum in classroom settings. Each interprets classroom lectures for students who need interpreting services and is mentored by four staff interpreters.
“I just fell in love with the language and wanted to learn more about the culture and community with it,” said Jennifer Roberts, of Florence, who also has a bachelor’s degree in communication science and disorders from the University of Mississippi.
Becoming a well-rounded interpreter is more than just learning the individual signs involved with American Sign Language – it’s learning the ways of a culture with its own language, said student Rhianna Langham.
“You come to respect a whole different culture when you’re interpreting,” said Langham, of Madison, whose sister-in-law’s parents are deaf and inspired her to sign up for the program. “We dive into the culture in this program. It’s their culture and their language.”
Langham wants to work with those in the prison system who need interpreters. Kayla Liddell, of Braxton, and Mariah Carter, of Clinton, want to share their knowledge with those in education.
“Education is my calling and my main goal is to interpret for young children,” Carter said. “I want to be with kids and still work with the interpreting community. I want to teach them how to tie their shoes and do snack times and naps.”
Liddell’s ultimate goal is to work in a hospital environment, where the need for interpreting has grown along with multiple other healthcare jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“My goal is to become a certified interpreter and build my skills so I can work there,” Liddell said.