EPIC summit: First step to formulate ethical code for sign language


Delhi hosted the EPIC (Ethics and Professional Interpreter's Code) summit, a conference for deaf interpreters in the first week of October. The success of the summit marks a watershed moment for the deaf interpreters in India. This one-week long summit had been specifically organized to design and formulate a standard ethical code for the professional practice of Indian Sign Language (ISL), its interpretation and translation in India. The summit was aimed at experienced sign language interpreters and prominent deaf leaders to come together and collectively draft a standardized EPIC document. During the summit, the leaders decided how to provide accessible services to the Deaf community all over the country by talking about a host issues ranging from – disproportionate number of sign language interpreters, professional ethics and code of conduct available for all the sign language interpreters etc.

The EPIC Committee was constituted in May 2018. It consists a working group of 16 prominent deaf leaders, activists, educators and instructors alongside representatives from the only two ISL Interpreting organizations as well as the CODA (Children of Deaf Adults) community in India. The ratio of deaf/non-deaf members of this Committee is 12:4.

Dr. Alim Chandani, who has been a major driving force behind organizing the summit along with his organisation Centrum Learning, gave the opening presentation of the summit, where he talked extensively about the urgent need for the recognition of Indian Sign Language (ISL) and draft the very first standardized code of ethics for professional Sign Language Interpreter across the country.

'We had a great start with about 35 deaf Individuals and few hearing interpreters who showed up today. I had the opportunity to show the results from a bilingual survey that was filled out by about 75 deaf individuals who have experienced using sign language interpreters before. I believe it was the first time to have concrete data which helped us to get a vision of the interpreting and translating scenario in India', said Dr. Alim Chandani.

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