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YES Pakistani Sign Language Training Program

Updated: Sep 3, 2019

YES PSL Training Program was a four months long project led by three YES alumni in collaboration with ConnectHear. PSL Interpretation Training Program (Karachi) provided hearing individuals with a basic hold over sign language with an opportunity to get trained and become part of the professional interpreter network. 

Upon completion, they will engage in various interpretation projects (both in person and video based) as a source of serving the 10,000,000 deaf individuals based in Pakistan and earning a decent income. The program included training the hearing individuals about the history of Sign language, the variations in Signs all over Pakistan, Sign Language dictionary and most importantly the rules of interpretation. This extensive program would not only allow us to increase the number of interpreters but would also create a uniform system for all interpreters to follow and abide by. Project Goals were to train people with basic sign language knowledge to develop into advanced interpreters. It was also to make society inclusive for the deaf by increasing the availability of qualified interpreter. 

In addition, it was required to attract more individuals to explore the field of interpretation. It increased part time and full-time interpretation opportunities for the participants. The project started with a recruitment process where 20 students were selected based on their previous knowledge of Sign Language and connection with the Deaf Community. 36 total classes were held every weekend (Saturday and Sunday) for four months. The classes included basic in-house training, visits to deaf schools, organizations and on-field work with the deaf individuals. 

The class also got opportunity to interact with the Deaf Community through events like Eid Milan Party, Youth Activity Day and Deaf Theatre Competition. This allowed the participants to practice what they have learnt with the target audience. The teaching module included how to give personal introduction, alphabet signing both single and double handed, vocabulary specific sign of words using available dictionaries, phrases specific sign of sentences, code of ethics and rules regulations to become an interpreter. 

They also got trained on how to interpret any dialogue for in person and video-based interpretation. During the course, the organizing alumni arranged a meeting with deaf community where the deaf community directly communicated with the trainees and helped them improve their language skills. 

The project was widely appreciated by the participants and said that it was a life-changing experience for them. Qudsia Anis, a participant of the program said, “Being a CODA & living in a surrounding of silence, I always saw my parents feeling arduous in communication with the hearing world, which is why there is a lack of confidence in me to communicate with others. Thanks for giving me a chance to be part of training, I improved myself a lot, I gained confidence & of course the main thing my "SIGN LANGUAGE" has improved. I'll never forget the efforts the trainers”. Overall, the project was a great success!

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