For most of us, the use of all senses is a natural thing, of little or no importance. But life is a little different for those who lack one of the senses or suffer from impairments.
We can often see on TV a window somewhere on the lower, right side of the screen, in which a person uses sign language to translate for people who cannot hear or have poor hearing. The role of such person is to translate into sign language what it is said on the TV show. But what about children with hearing problems studying in normal schools?
There are schools where teachers work with sign language interpreters in classrooms. They have a sensitive role, that of offering a positive, pleasant experience for deaf students in normal schools. The interpreter not only translates the teacher’s words and explanations, but makes sounds and conversations accessible to the respective students. This integrates the deaf students into classes and keeps them active. Apart from the actual translation, the sign language interpreter in the classroom must take into account the level of study, the intellectual capacity, the social and interpersonal development of the students for whom they translate. Therefore, they have an active role in the educational act that should not be neglected.
There are cases when the sign language interpreter becomes the teacher’s disciplinary tool, which is a mistake. Thus, both the deaf student and the interpreter have to behave respectfully and to show trust. If the interpreter turns into a disciplinary tool, deaf students may understand that they are treated differently than others. If the interpreter shows offense to a deaf student, the latter may refuse to communicate with the teacher, out of fear or shame towards the interpreter, and the educational act fails.
However, the role of a sign language interpreter in school is not a fixed one. With the development of the deaf student’s intellectual, social or interpersonal abilities, the interpreter must also constantly adapt to the student’s needs. A pro-active student – interpreter – teacher relationship needs to be maintained so that the educational act produces individuals ready to integrate into society, having all the tools necessary to build a normal life.