Sign Language Interpreting Service launched

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Sign Language Interpreting Service launchedThe Parliamentary Secretary for the Rights of Persons with Disability and Active Ageing Dr Justyne Caruana,, today officially launched an Agenzija Sapport service of sign language interpretation.

Agenzija Sapport offers the service of Sign Language Interpreting for hearing-impaired individuals who use Maltese Sign Language (LSM – il-Lingwa tas-Sinjali Maltija).

The role of the sign language interpreter is to interpret between spoken language (Maltese and English) and LSM, and vice-versa.

Dr Caruana explained how this service can be used to facilitate the communication of deaf people in various situations in everyday life including education, employment and training, health, court and police, social activities, as well as other sectors.

She said that this service is also available for individuals/entities who would like to make their services or events more accessible to service users. "At present there are about 65 deaf people making use of this service, as well as many other entities," said Dr Caruana.

The service can be requested by sending an email to sli.sapport@gov.mt or contacting the number 79005988 through SMS.

Parliamentary Secretary Caruana concluded her speech by mentioning several other initiatives being undertaken by the Government to ensure that the Maltese sign language is more widely used across the islands.

"An ongoing training courses of Maltese sign language is already underway in Gozo, which is attended by around 20 people a week, the courses are fully funded by the Parliamentary Secretary for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Active Ageing," Dr Caruana said.

She also mentioned the SMS emergency service, that operates through the collaboration of the Secretariat and the Police Force. This enables hearing-impaired individuals to have access to emergency services.

The Parliamentary Secretary stated that the Government has submitted a Bill in Parliament to recognise Maltese Sign Language as an official language of Malta, and this is expected to be finalised soon.

Photograph: DOI/Pierre Sammut

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