Trilingual interpreters in demand

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Dr. Sarah Compton, San Antonio professional interpreter and graduate of the American Sign Language and Interpreter training program, answers questions from the audience and discusses the history of trilingual interpreting in Texas and United States at the Trilingual Interpreting Panel sponsored by the ASL and Interpreter training on Sept. 21 in the Nail. Lorena Torres Romero

Panel explains the importance of interpreting for English and Spanish speakers.

By Sarah Centeno

 The need for people who are fluent in English, Spanish and American Sign Language to act as interpreters is increasing, an interpreter said Sept. 21 in a presentation at this college as part of Hispanic Heritage Month.

The interpreter, Sarah Compton, a graduate of the ASL and interpreter training program at this college, said 51 percent of children with hearing difficulties in the nation do not have English as their first language.

The ASL program hosted the panel of seven trilingual interpreters. 

“Trilingual interpreters are those who are fluent in English, Spanish and sign language,” said Janis Guedea Hanson, staff interpreter in the program at this college. 

“The goal of the event is to provide information to the students about what trilingual interpreting is and what bilingual interpreting is,” Hanson said. 

Interpreter David Pena, who works in professional development for Sorenson Communications, said, “I’ve switched my focus on training new hires on how to work in a video relay setting. We have a screening, and that lets us know if you know sign language at a level that will help you interpret

 calls. We really want to show new hires how to be video interpreters.”

Jessica Hernandez, certified health care interpreter, explained situations that require trilingual interpreting.

Interpreting is usually needed in hospitals, especially for patients who are deaf, she said.

She discussed a situation she encountered when she worked in a hospital and a doctor was speaking to a mother and father about whether to have their son, who was on life support, have a directive to not be resuscitated. 

The father spoke only Spanish, and the mother was deaf so it was difficult for the parents to understand anything doctors were explaining to them, she said.

Hernandez said she was able to come in and translate not only for the father but for the mother also. 

It turned out that neither parent understood that a “do not resuscitate” directive would mean hospital personnel would not try to revive their son if he stopped breathing, she said. 

Others who participated in the panel were Counselor Roxana Avendano, probation officer Robert Cardoza and interpreter Rosa Lucio, interpreter.

Julieta Schulz, one of the panelists, is court-certified for both English and Spanish. 

The ASL and interpreter training program at this college offers one course in trilingual interpreting, SLNG 2370, Trilingual Interpreting 1.


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