Ahlam visits the Dutch sign language interpreter college

As The Carpenter’s Son Foundation, we have entered into a partnership with the Jordanian Deaf Sign Language teacher Ahlam. Together with her, we are committed to contribute to improving the availability of Jordanian Sign Language interpreters.

Ahlam visited the Netherlands for a few weeks to share knowledge and experiences. For example, she participated in colleges of the 4-year interpreter training in the Netherlands. Chairman René Kolsters accompanied Ahlam to the training of Joanne Kolsters (indeed René’s daughter), first-year student Interpreter Dutch Sign Language at the Hogeschool Utrecht (HU). 

Dutch Sign Language
In the morning we attended the Dutch Sign Language lesson by teacher Nvard, who is hard of hearing himself. All communication was in Sign Language and there was no speaking. No problem for Ahlam, but the chairman, who only masters the Jordanian Sign Language a little by himself, had to lend his ‘best hand’ …

The tour by Adde, who also teaches at the HU and is also Deaf himself, was very interesting. Ahlam: “I am very impressed with the language labs, where students can practice and test their Sign Language and interpreting skills”. She could take a look in the studio which was also worthwhile, as was the general introduction to the training.

Third Year students class
In the afternoon, Sign Language class was scheduled for third-year students, given by teacher Said (Deaf). The chairman was surprised that the communication between the Dutch Deaf and the Jordanian Deaf Ahlam went so smoothly. By using International Sign Language and the interpretation skills of the participants, there was no need for the chairman to explain even one gesture. Rather, it was the other way around: the chairman had to be given an explanation of what was being said by his daughter…

We were very pleased that Said explained the training module layout to Ahlam. Mind that 1 module easily takes 100 hours. Several modules are combined in a semester and several semesters in a year. For a total of four years! For comparison, in Jordan the first module lasts 40 hours and the second about 50 hours. With a few extra skills, you can become a sign language interpreter. This cannot be changed easily into an extensive training. And that’s not the goal of our projects. We will be very glad if only the first steps can be taken to improve Sign Language training and the training of interpreters together with Jordanian Deaf and Jordanian organizations. Of course we hope for cooperation with Dutch authorities. The options for this are currently under investigation.

We concluded the long day with a lesson in tactile Sign Language communication for the Deafblind by teachers Nvard and Marjan. In this interactive lesson, we were able to experience for ourselves what the options are to communicate when you are deaf and blind. It was very special to experience this, and next to that it’s nice to know that attention is paid to deafblind people in the teaching material. The lesson was part of the Deaf Studies course.

It had been a long day, but Ahlam was far from bored. It couldn’t last long enough for her. Fortunately, there was a second day…

“I am very impressed with the language lab booths, where students can practice and test their Sign Language and interpreting skills.”