By Sariba Manneh
The Gambia Association for the Deaf and Hard of hearing (GADHOH), in collaboration with Gambia Interpreters Project, recently trained young interpreters on Code of Ethics of their profession.
According to the organisers, the purpose of the training was to equip young members of the interpreting fraternity to promote professional standards and professional practices.
Speaking at GADHOH headquarters in Knifing, Lamin D. Sonko, Head of Sign Language Interpreters in the Gambia and Coordinator for the Gambia Interpreters project, said interpreters must learn and practice the strict code of ethics of the profession, and should subscribe to their countries’ regulating professional organizations. “These rules are designed to protect both the deaf and hard of hearing clients and the interpreters themselves,” he said. Mr. Sonko said it is essential that certain standards of professional conduct are observed in order that GADHOH and it members advance the status of sign language interpreters in The Gambia; that the Code of Ethics and the accompanying rules and responsibilities are designed to ensure the proper performance of the interpreters and the advancement of the profession.
“The failure of the interpreter to observe these rules must as a last resort, lead to disciplinary action. These principles are important for a relationship of trust which must exist between the interpreter and the deaf and hard of hearing community who use his/her service. It means that the interpreter must respect the privacy of participants at all times,” he explained. The veteran sign language interpreter further explained that Interpreters must be totally impartial and therefore must not interfere, give advice and counselling, take sides or comment on what is being said. He however said that an interpreter has the right to withdraw or not accept further work if something of a confidential nature is disclosed, resulting in the interpreter’s feeling when unable to provide an impartial service.
“Sign language interpreting is a tough profession. Interpreters are under a lot of stress while conveying sensitive information. They have to deal with people who are unaware of the interpreters’ role and code of conduct, and that is why they need to adapt to ever-changing circumstances. They handle difficult situations well with a sense of humor and determination to adhere to their code of conduct, and therefore deserve our deep respect and admiration,” said Sonko
Adama Jammeh, the President of GADHOH and GSL Teacher, said interpreters should be committed to provide the best possible service to the best of their abilities, and said it is the interpreter’s job to pass all the information those participants are communicating, in a precise and accurate way.
According to her, Interpreters must interpret to the best of their abilities between parties, using language most readily understood by participants. However, and said they should not accept assignments that they know to be beyond their linguistic or technical ability.
Binta Nyangado, a Teacher at St John’s school for the Deaf said to be an Interpreter, a positive attitude and interest for the job and willingness to increase one’s knowledge and skills and to strive for further education, are needed.
“Interpreters must respect other cultures and have knowledge of the cultural differences of the people,” Ms Nyangado indicated.