by: Nicky Templo-Perez & Naty Natividad
On May 19, 2012 about 70 people trooped over to the Augusto-Rosario Gonzalez Theater of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde in Manila, Philippines to attend the 2nd National Interpreters’ Conference hosted by the Philippine National Association of Sign Language Interpreters (PNASLI).
The theme of the conference was “Level Up: Taking Professionalization of Sign Language Interpreters in the Philippines to the Next Level” and featured speakers that discussed various topics on how sign language interpreters in the Philippines could better hone their craft. During the conference elections were also held for the new Board of Trustees of the association, its regional representatives, and members of its Deaf Advisory Council. Elected as PNASLI Board for 2012-2015 were Jun Jun Sevilla, Alfredo Celada,Jr., Dr. Marie Therese Bustos, Natividad Natividad, Flordeliza Presnillo, Reiner Blas, John Xandre Baliza and Yvette Bernardo. The Regional Cluster Coordinators are Demelyn Chato, Jennel Cheng and Ember Palma for Luzon Cluster, Hillton John Edrial for Visayas Cluster and Rossana Villanueva for the Mindanao Cluster. The Deaf Advisory Council is composed of Mr. Raphael Domingo, Mackie Calbay, Myra Medrana, George Lintag, and Rowella Tanjusay-Par.
Starting off that day’s conference were Ms. Etsuko Umemoto from Japan and Ms. Monica Punjabi Verma from India. Both are Asia Representatives of the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI). They welcomed the newly formed PNASLI with their messages of encouragement. This was followed by the Keynote Speech delivered by Mr. Lauro Purcil, Lead Convenor of the Philippine Coalition on the United Nations Council on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities who is himself blind. “Ka Lauro”, as he is fondly called, made several important points which included the scarcity of interpreters in the Philippines, and how important it was to “develop a standard of interpreting that will result to the equalization of opportunities, non discrimination, accessibility, inclusion and enjoyment of all rights and fundamental freedoms of the Deaf.” But he also pointed out the importance to equally fight for the rights of the interpreters and how this special group of individuals must also be ensured to enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis with others.
After Ka Lauro’s keynote speech, came a slew of presenters who gave different perspectives on issues concerning sign language interpreters and how the profession could be brought to greater heights in the Philippines. Davin Searls of Discovering Deaf Worlds discussed his experiences interacting with Deaf Leaders and their Hearing Allies from all over the world. Dr. Rosalinda M. Ricasa, Ph.D. of Gallaudet University, herself a Filipina, and one of the pioneers of Deaf Education in the Philippines, talked about the strategies and linguistic features of interpreting. Dr. Liza Martinez, Ph.D. of the Philippine Deaf Resource Center discussed the difficulties of voice interpretation. Mr. John Xandre Baliza of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde’s School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies talked about interpreting-related injuries and how interpreters can sign effectively without inflicting harm on themselves and avoiding serious injury. Lastly Mr. Soya Mori of the Development Studies Center of the Institute of Developing Economies tackled the importance of Deaf relay interpreters being included in the sign language interpreting profession. Other invited speakers were Mr. Jordi Ferre of the CILSEM Asociación de Intérpretes de Lengua de Signos Española de Madrid and Mr. Jandi Arboleda from Clerc Center, Gallaudet University.
It was indeed a full day for those who attended and everyone left looking forward to this year’s work of professionalizing sign language interpreting in the Philippines and to the next National Interpreters’ Conference next year.
“Silent Steps” – a Deaf dance group headed by Deaf choreographer Ms.Myra Medrana opened the conference with the Philippine National Anthem and an interpretative prayer.
Participants of the 2nd PNASLI National Interpreters Conference – Level-Up! There were also participants from other parts of the Philippines and the U.S. who joined via online netstreaming
Mr. John Xandre gave a demonstration together with Interpreter Ms.Febe Sevilla on strategies how to avoid interpreting-related injuries.
Presentation of Mr. Soya Mori on the importance of Deaf Relay Interpreters in the profession of Sign Language Interpreting
Mr. Lauro Purcil, Jr.- Lead Convenor of the Philippine Coalition on CRPD- was the keynote speaker of the conference.
The new PNASLI Board for 2012-2015. From Left: Jun Jun Sevilla, Alfredo Celada,Jr., Marie Therese Bustos, Natividad Natividad, Flordeliza Presnillo, Reiner Blas, John Xandre Baliza
The newly-elected PNASLI Board together with the Regional Cluster Coordinators and Deaf Advisory Council.
Ms. Etsuko Umemoto- Asia Representative of WASLI giving her message as interpreted by
Ms. Febe Sevilla.
Ms. Monica Punjabi Verma- Asia Representative of WASLI, shared her experience and work with Deaf in India and with interpreters of ISLIA (Indian Sign Language Interpreters Association). Her presentation was interpreted by Mr. Jun Jun Sevilla.
Presentation of the Discovering Deaf Worlds by Mr.Davin Searls, interpreted
by Ms.Febe Sevilla.
Mr. Jojo Esposa interpreted for the presentation of Dr.Rosalinda M.Ricasa on the Strategies and Linguistic Feature of Interpreting.
Polling precinct for the election of the new PNASLI Board, Regional Cluster Coordinators and Deaf Advisory Council
Participants’ registration counter