Finland is a pioneer both in the training of interpreters and in the fact that the hearing impaired, the visually impaired and the speech impaired are guaranteed by law a subjective right to an interpreter. Interpretation services promotes the encounter of diversity and the inclusion of people with special linguistic support, as well as the realization of the right to self-determination and linguistic rights in society nationally and internationally.
The use and development of technology for the needs of interpreters and clients is constantly increasing, which is why it is so important that we invest our efforts in it.
Interpretation is needed in all areas of human life: at work, in private life, in studies, in hobbies and in social participation. The aim of the interpreter’s activities is to enable communication and to promote linguistic accessibility, equality and self-determination in everyday interaction situations.
The interpretation service is based on laws that guarantee the right to interpretation for the hearing impaired. Interpretation services enable the realization of linguistic rights and linguistic accessibility, as well as equal participation in the activities of society. The role of interpreters is to enable the interaction between the hearing, deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind in all kinds of encounters, both nationally and internationally.
The interpreter’s degree is knowledge-based. The education is based on four key areas of expertise:
In addition to these, multimodal interaction competence, technology competence and international competence are Humak’s cross-cutting competence objectives in Bachelor’s degree Interpreting.
Multimodal interaction competence is based on an understanding of the diverse nature of interaction. In interaction, meanings are conveyed through both linguistic and non-linguistic means, such as gestures, gaze, and images.
In Humak’s Interpreting bachelor’s degree, technological competence means both the management of tools and applications and an understanding of how digitalisation affects the interpreter’s work environments in ever-changing ways.
Examples of international cooperation:
Our interpreting and linguistic degree produces interpreters who are experts in interpretation, translation, human interaction and linguistic accessibility. Our graduates are experts who can act as interpreters for deaf people of different ages and for sign language clients in a variety of multilingual and multicultural operating environments.
During the studies, there is an opportunity to qualify as an interpreter for other client groups as well, such as the hard of hearing, the deaf and the deafblind. Humak is the only educational institution in Finland that trains deaf interpreters and interpreters of Finnish-Swedish sign language.
Deaf interpreters are trained for international assignments, deafblind interpreting and translators. The expertise of deaf interpreters is particularly valuable now that the EU Accessibility Directive is in force. The aim should be to make digital public sector texts also available in sign language. Deaf translators play a significant role in this translation work.
Humak has been training deaf interpreters since 1998. This uniqueness in the Finnish field of education has opened up opportunities for international cooperation for us. In 2015-2018, we were implementing the Erasmus + project Developing Deaf Interpreting, which focused on the training of deaf interpreters in Europe. The project was the first international project focusing on deaf interpreters.
Finnish-Swedish sign language is a very endangered language. Humak has implemented two projects in 2015-2020, which are part of the work to revive Finnish-Swedish sign language. In the Lev i vårt språk (Livs I) training project (2015-2017), language expert training was planned and implemented, and teaching materials were collected. In the follow-up project (Livs II, in 2018-2020), Finnish-Swedish sign language interpreter training was planned and implemented.
Humak’s Interpretation and Linguistic Accessibility training contributes to the promotion of linguistic accessibility in the field of languages. This is reflected in the project activities as well as in the various study and internship environments related to degree studies, in which cooperation is established with many actors who enable the linguistic accessibility of sign languages.
All this and much more is being done in Interpretation and Linguistic Accessibility Training at Humak. The sign languages and interpretation of our skills, as well as linguistic accessibility, are an integral part of our daily lives.
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