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Abstract

Viewed as isolated cases, sign language interpreters facilitate communication between 1 or more people. Viewed broadly, sign language interpreting may be seen as a tool to secure the human rights of sign language using deaf people. To fulfill this goal, interpreters must be provided with proper training and work according to a code of ethics. A recent international survey of 93 countries, mostly in the developing world (H. Haualand & C. Allen, 2009), found that very few respondents had an established sign language interpreter service, formal education and training opportunities for interpreters, or an endorsed code of ethics to regulate the practice of interpreters in their country. As a consequence of these limitations in the interpreting field around the world, there is potential for deaf people’s human rights to be violated. In this article, the accessibility and training of sign language interpreters are discussed from a human rights point of view within the context of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, and a snapshot of the previously unexplored interpreting scene in various countries around the world is given.

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