A team of researchers and interpreting trainers from Norway and Sweden visited Humak in mid-February. Ingeborg Skaten and Gro Hege Saltnes-Urdal from Bergen University College and Elisabet Tiselius from Stockholm University met lecturers and other collegues from Humak. They also visited Viparo, a company that was founded by a Deaf interpreter Markus Aro, a graduate from Humak.
—The research project we are conducting is focusing on what experiences Deaf interpreter students have after having studied together with hearing interpreter students, in an interpreter training program on BA level, tells Ingeborg Skaten.
—We have found very useful all that we have learned from former and current Deaf students and their hearing co-students, and from lecturers and leaders at Humak, say all three.—Our aim is to learn from Humak´s experiences – so that we can prepare for welcoming Deaf as well as hearing students at our interpreter training program, at Bergen University College.
Hearing and Deaf students together since 2001 at Humak
The history of training hearing and Deaf interpreters in same groups is in Finland longer than in other European countries, and separate groups are still today reality in most countries. In 2001, when Humak announced that their four-year interpreter training program would welcome both hearing and Deaf students, the first six deaf interpreters joined that program. Of the original six, four successfully completed the programme. Since then 470 Sign Language interpreters have graduated from Humak, 5 of them being Deaf. In the ongoing degree programme there is one Deaf student.
—We consider that we train students – both hearing and Deaf to the same profession. So the training should also be as similar as possible. The curriculum in Humak is almost the same for hearing and Deaf students, says team leader Eeva Salmi from Humak.
Interviewing students, studying curricula
One of the reasons of the visit is the interview the group is planning with students, both Deaf and hearing, who have taken an interpreting training course together. Additionally, they will also study curricula and teachers´ experiences.
—There are good possibilities for exchange between Humak and Bergen University College. Already they have had some teacher exchange and the visitors hope to do more of that. At Bergen University college sign language interpreters are trained in thee-year BA program. They have run to program since 2004 and approximately 110 students have graduated from the programme. All have so far been hearing.
Humak is active in international cooperation. It participates in a three-year long Erasmus programme Developing Deaf Interpreting which is the first international project that focuses on Deaf interpreters. The project is coordinated by the Danish Deaf Association, and other parcipants are in addition to Humak University of Applied Sciences, the University of Hamburg, Coimbra Polytechnic Institute from Portugal and EFSLI, European Forumof Sign Language Interpreters.
Humak also participates in EUMASLI European Master in Sign Language Interpreting www.eumasli.eu
The photo of the page: Elisabet Tiselius, Gro Hege Saltnes-Urdal and Ingeborg Skaten during their stay at Humak Helsinki