Sign of the Times: Here’s how the Coast Guard ‘ceases to exist’ when it doesn’t have interpreters

Janice Ho is a longtime advocate for sign language, holding numerous national positions, including serving as national chairman of the National Council of Sign Language. She’s also the executive director of Friends of Hawaii…

Sign of the Times: Here’s how the Coast Guard ‘ceases to exist’ when it doesn’t have interpreters

Janice Ho is a longtime advocate for sign language, holding numerous national positions, including serving as national chairman of the National Council of Sign Language. She’s also the executive director of Friends of Hawaii Sign Language, a nonprofit dedicated to advocating for the federally protected language on the West Coast. Its recent research into interpreting services for the deaf is detailed in a new report, the latest chapter in a long and productive campaign to save the dying art of sign language. The report, which explores how Hawaiian communities can maintain their culture in the face of a loss of interpreters, offers examples from countries such as Denmark and Norway that are successfully navigating this difficult transition. It is a prime example of how engaging the local community can take the pressure off government to solve the problem or merely paper over the cracks. Sadly, Hawaii Sign Language suffered a significant blow when the U.S. Coast Guard has declined to provide interpreters to crews of Coast Guard Cutters in the international waters that the region encompasses. Related: How decolonization workshops in the Virgin Islands spanned generations

Find the organization’s web page here.

Leave a Comment