As is so often the case in professions with a strong social character, there are 19 women and one man doing training in Innsbruck. Many internship hours are linked to the theoretical lessons of the three-year full-time course.
Sign language is not a given
Patricia Konrath: “I only learned more about deaf people through my studies and can now pass this awareness on. I have already studied conference interpreting in English and French. But sign language cannot be compared with any spoken language, because the whole body is in motion, ”she said.
The fact that the entire environment and the family of deaf people more or less dying are able to speak sign language is not true, positively the course director for sign language interpreters at the FHG, Elisabeth Greil. “We would like to see more interpreters also work in families. If, for example, there is a deaf child, it is about more than the needs of hunger, thirst or fatigue. In order to tell how he’s doing, we need good and accurate communication. “
Lip reading is no substitute for an interpreter
Even lip reading, mastered, does not replace translation into sign language. “A maximum of 30 percent of what is said can be read from the lips,” said Elisabeth Greil. “The rest has to be thought about and figured together. That is not a detailed communication either. “
Sign language in all areas of life
In many parts of daily life, such as in the working world, with authorities or when visiting the doctor, sign language interpreters are an important bridge for good communication. There are currently 700 to 1,000 deaf people living in Tyrol. The fact that there are currently only 13 trained sign language interpreters is far too few, said Greil. The new course, which has been running since 2020, is intended to help fill a large gap. The third of six semesters for the students begins on Monday.
The teaching team consists of two deaf and two hearing sign language teachers. External interpreters also regularly teach in the new language laboratory at the FHG. There is also close cooperation with the Tyrolean Deaf Association, the independent sign language interpreters and the Landshut University of Applied Sciences in Bavaria.