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In the News: Minnesota poised to lose nearly 40% of its sign language interpreters

Star Tribune

5/17/2024 11:27:24 AM

Deaf Minnesotans made a pitch from the auditorium stage at Prior Lake High School to an audience of about 325 students studying sign language: We need you.

American Sign Language interpreters are an essential part of life for thousands of Minnesotans. They are there when someone is diagnosed with cancer or if they end up in court. They attend weddings, family reunions and funerals.

But the pool of interpreters is shrinking in Minnesota and across the nation. A survey of Minnesota interpreters in 2021 found nearly 40% expected to leave the profession within five years. Leaders of two interpreting agencies in Minnesota said they are seeing service requests rising and more of those asks are going unmet.

Meanwhile, the three Minnesota colleges with interpreter training programs have seen participation drop.

"We're afraid for our quality of life. We're afraid we're losing our access to communication. We're afraid to be pushed aside," said Darlene Zangara, executive director Minnesota Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing.

Access the full article at Minnesota poised to lose nearly 40% of its sign language interpreters.

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