Ask Howard Anything / December 2017

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The NAD asks for a process in determining qualified, certified, and licensed interpreters for emergency related assignments. #AskHoward

VIDEO DESC & TRANSCRIPT: Howard A. Rosenblum is sitting at his desk. The NAD logo appears on bottom right corner as a watermark.

HOWARD: Hello. There have been many different emergencies across the U.S., including natural disasters, fires, hurricanes, arrests and other law enforcement announcements, and emergencies, all of which require sharing information with the public. It is important that the deaf community receive equal access to such news. Often government agencies host press conferences where there cameras recording government officials sharing a statement or information on what to do before or after any situation. Twice, there were problems with press conferences in Florida. The first incident happened in Manatee County, which held a press conference to warn residents about Hurricane Irma. The county hired a white male “interpreter” but he was not qualified nor certified, and people could not understand him. Later, a second incident happened in Tampa which held a press conference announcing the capture of a serial killer. The city hired a black female “interpreter” but she was not qualified nor certified, and people could not understand her. There is no real point in analyzing these two and their backgrounds or training. Instead, we must focus on the government agencies and how they hire interpreters for these press conferences. In these two cases, Manatee County and Tampa — the governments hired the wrong person for the job. There should be a process in determining qualified, certified, and licensed interpreters for the job. Such emergency assignments should require licensed interpreters. The Florida Association of the Deaf (FAD) and the Florida Registry of Interpreters (FRID) have tried many times to convince the state legislators to pass a licensure bill, but these legislators chose not to do so. Now, after these two horrific incidents, it is far more important now for the Florida legislature to pass an interpreter licensure law! However, we want licensure law to be in place in all states in the U.S., not just Florida. We have fires in California, hurricanes in the north east, or tornadoes in the mid-west. Deaf people must have access to these emergency situations, and this requires qualified, certified, and licensed interpreters to be available in all 50 states. In addition, the licensure process should be inclusive of all communities, including interpreters of color. Tanea Brown, our Youth Ambassador, has been promoting her platform which seeks to increase the number of interpreters of color. Interpreter Training Programs should ensure their process is inclusive of all communities so our interpreting community appropriately reflects our deaf community. We need to work together to make this happen. We also need to work together to ask every state legislature to pass a law requiring licensure of all interpreters. Thank you.

Video fades to a soft white background with several different font types showing “NAD” very quickly. Copyright video ends with the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) logo centered. Blue text below the logo appears, “A production of the National Association of the Deaf (copyright) 2017 All Rights Reserved”.

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