The need to encourage cultural and racial diversity among sign language interpreters has been recognized by the RID; as of the 2017 annual report, RID’s national membership is 87% white/Caucasian and 96% hearing. Unfortunately, Deaf interpreter education is significantly more sparse than that of their hearing peers. The vast majority of traditional interpreter education programs are not equipped to provide the unique curriculum needed to support Deaf interpreting students. In addition, we recognize that 40 hours of training is not nearly enough to prepare even the most motivated of Deaf interpreting students with the necessary skills to be prepared to work professionally.
Mentoring has been proven to be an effective tool in interpreter education, so we developed the Deaf Interpreter Academy (DIA) program. This new program embodies three initiatives: DIA in Interpreter Training Programs; DIA POC/T Mentoring Program; and DIA Next Step Advanced Training for Deaf Interpreters.
The pilot DIA POC/T program invited six Deaf interpreter POC candidates and 12 mentors to work in collaboration. The 17-week program included weekly mentoring, observations, and practicum experiences. One unique factor of this program is that people of color provided the services to people of color in order to create a safe space in which to discuss shared experiences.
This workshop will provide participants with an overview of the initiative and the fundamentals of the program. Discussion will include power and privilege insights, the intersectionality paradigm shift, and ways to create collaborative opportunities in your own communities.
After a short panel discussion introducing some of the pilot program participants, and an overview of the program, this workshop will guide small group discussion brainstorming ways in which this program can be emulated in local communities.