So you think you can sign?

AS THE world commemorates Deaf Awareness month, the Wits Language School (WLS) has taken the awareness campaign up a notch by introducing a competition So You Think You Can Sign.

The competition is the brain child of Dr Kim Wallmach, senior lecturer and coordinator in Translation and Interpreting at the WLS, and Ayesha Ramjugernath, who teaches South African Sign Language (SASL) at Wits.

Wallmach said the purpose of the competition was raise awareness to the fact that deaf people need interpreters to communicate. “Imagine not ever being able to listen to the news,” she said.

“There are more than 600 000 deaf people in South Africa and not enough people to interpret sign language.”

Wallmach said anyone in South Africa, including schools, was welcome to enter and the deadline is the September 17th.

“People can enter in any size of group, but if the majority of group members are deaf there will be bonus points. We are trying to encourage deaf and hearing people to collaborate.”

Executive Director for the South African Translators’ Institute, Marion Boers said Deaf Awareness Month was a very valuable initiative to raise the profile of both the needs of the deaf community and the availability of persons with the necessary skills to assist them to lead a full life.

The Department of SASL will be providing a free introductory SASL class on Fridays from 2:30pm to 4pm on September 21 and 28.

Click here to see a professional interpreter’s entry to So You Think You Can Sign.