More than 8,000 interpreters received training in 2021 with focus on BIPOC and LGBTQ communities
SALT LAKE CITY – (Feb. 1, 2022) Sorenson Communications continues to lead the industry in training American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters by providing best-in-class education that is specifically designed to improve communication between Deaf and hearing people. ASL interpreters help create connection and understanding across communities and supporting their professional development is essential. Last year, Sorenson set another record in ASL education with nearly 40,000 hours of training delivered. In addition to offering opportunities to upskill, ASL interpreters were able to support their professional credentialing with continuing education units (CEUs).
“Every day our ASL interpreters provide essential support to our consumers by facilitating access to information and enabling seamless communication, and we are committed to ensuring they have the highest skill level in the industry,” said Jorge Rodriguez, CEO of Sorenson Communications, the leading provider of video relay and interpreting services. “These frontline employees have so many community touchpoints – they support government communication in press briefings, patient communication in hospitals, and family relationships over video relay calls. Our customers deserve the best quality we can provide, and that starts with our interpreter training.”
Sorenson’s investments demonstrate its continued commitment to the interpreting and Deaf communities and include a wide range of programming especially designed to support interpreting students, Children of Deaf Adults (Codas), Certified Deaf Interpreters, and Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) interpreters. Sorenson’s presenter pool boasts more than 50 educators who are diverse, experienced, and committed to teaching interpreting.
“I want to let you know how appreciative I am of the training I received. I have been in so many trainings with varied trainers over the years. THIS was one of the BEST trainings with one of the BEST trainers,” said Paula M., an interpreter from Maine who attended the Cultural Mediation in Video Relay Service (VRS) course.
More than 1,500 community interpreters across the U.S. and Canada attended instructor-led, remote webinars sponsored by Sorenson’s interpreter education team. Training was designed to support their continued improvement and growth on topics ranging from fighting unconscious bias to honoring the LGBTQ experience. In addition to the CEUs offered, Sorenson hosted the Educational Interpreter Enhancement Program which supported interpreters in K-12 settings in improving their skills to interpret for children who are Deaf.
Sorenson also hosts Deaf Interpreter Academy (DIA), a program that supports Deaf community interpreters with trainings and webinars to advance their professional interpreting careers. In 2021, DIA piloted an Affinity Mentoring program to support BIPOC Deaf interpreters and plans to expand its efforts in 2022.
Supporting African American and Black interpreters was also a key focus in 2021. Working closely with diversity partners, Sorenson provided special events, workshops, social sessions, and keynote presentations. Additionally, Sorenson’s trilingual interpreters received specialized training in Spanish.
Sorenson’s training also includes Compass, a program designed for heritage language learners (interpreters who are bilingual children of one or more signing Deaf parents). Compass continued to expand its offerings in 2021, engaging over 100 Codas in uniquely tailored instruction delivered through several online platforms. This focus on remote learning allowed a diverse population in urban and rural areas across the U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii.
“Sorenson’s amazing investment in interpreters opens doors within the field of interpreting and gives us opportunities to all grow together,” said Stephanie Criner, executive director of Sorenson’s Interpreter Education and Professional Development team. “I am proud to be a part of these meaningful educational opportunities that support lifelong learning for interpreters and that make such a critical contribution to improving the lives of Deaf people and their families.”