We are currently in the European Parliament in Strasbourg to observe tonight’s debate on a resolution on sign languages and professional sign language interpreters.This debate precedes tomorrow’s vote on this resolution on which we will report then.
This resolution, proposed by several members, stresses the urgent need for qualified and professional sign language interpreters. Additionally, it points out the approaches that need to be followed to ensure the availability of such interpreters: official recognition of national and regional sign language(s) in Member States and within EU institutions, formal interpreter training, registration of interpreters as well as the formal recognition of the profession. It also highlights accessibility issues for the Deaf and hard of hearing and the role that different access services, such as sign language interpretation, subtitling, speech-to-text and alternative forms of communication, play in order to provide access in all areas of life, with deeper explanations about accessibility requirements that need to be met in the areas of employment, education and training, health care and access to justice. It also points out ways in which the EU institutions themselves must act to be a role model for their staff and towards EU citizens regarding the provision of reasonable accommodation and accessibility for the Deaf. This includes providing sign language interpretation, but also subtitling and speech-to-text for events and meetings as well as for deaf or hard of hearing employees of the EU institutions, granting sing language interpreters within the EU institutions the same status as interpreters for spoken languages as well as collecting Eurostat statistics on deaf, deafblind and hard-of-hearing sign language users to inform EU policy-making.
The resolution is available here (click on +Languages to open the section containing the link to the resolution. It is is the first in this section. Other language versions than English should be made available here soon): http://www.europarl.europa.eu/plenary/en/texts-submitted.html?tabType=motions#banner_session_live