“It often happens that I am left sitting alone,” says Petrin Olgersdottir.
She is studying a BA in Coaching and Guidance – and is deaf.
-I feel sad when I see my fellow students sitting together and working together. “I don’t have that opportunity,” she says.
Petrin estimates that she missed half of her studies due to the lack of a translator.
But it could be worse:
Freelance sign language interpreters in Oslo stopped receiving assignments on October 14.
Freelance translators tend to cover the vast majority of interpretation tasks in DC. Now they are campaigning for higher wages.
– I am afraid
Petrin describes everyday student life where she often feels stupid. She gave up the youth and sports club in order to continue.
“If I had known it would be so difficult to get study interpreters, I would never have started,” she says.
Now the student is beginning to notice the interpretation being done.
The Norwegian Association of the Deaf does the same.
– Secretary-General Peter Nodeland says that this phenomenon has already greatly affected deaf people.
Nav, the company responsible for the interpretation service, indicates that fewer translation tasks are being covered this month. Therefore, they must give priority.
– A profession, not charity
Freelance interpreters Silje Aakerøe and Kine Siksjø-Berg are behind the campaign.
They have over 130 freelance interpreters with them.
– People are fleeing the profession because they can’t afford to stay in it any longer, Sixjo Berg says.
Because of her work, she gets little time to be with her children.
– “I run from one task to another to get things done,” she says.
Freelance translators who translate spoken languages, such as Polish or Arabic, earn three times more than sign language interpreters.
– It is discrimination in language. “We feel that our profession is not taken seriously,” says Akeroi.
– Wouldn’t this have a very negative impact on deaf people?
– All forms of action or strike will hurt someone, says Aakerøe, adding:
– We are practicing a profession, not charity.
I visited Storting without a translator
Last week, the Norwegian Association of the Deaf attended several hearings in Parliament to help negotiate the state budget.
They did not get a single interpreter.
Not listening to what’s being said is a “bad experience,” Nodeland says.
– He adds that we are also prevented from answering questions that only we have the authority to answer.
The Norwegian Association of the Deaf supports the campaign.
On Saturday 14 October, nearly a thousand interpreters and deaf people gathered in central Oslo to demonstrate – together.
– It seems as if not all politicians took it seriously and understood the seriousness of the matter, Nodeland says.
He met Brenna
Freelance translators also demonstrated at the front Ministry of Labor and Integration.
This is where their salaries are determined.
-Why do spoken language interpreters earn three times as much as sign language interpreters?
In addition, the Ministry says it is working on how to improve the system related to interpreter fees.
Student Petrin hopes that the situation will be resolved quickly.
– She says: – I’m afraid this will affect my results.
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