More than 24,000 New Zealanders use NZSL daily.
It is also the 12th most frequently used language currently used in New Zealand, out of approximately 190 languages.
It is the natural language of the Deaf community.
Deaf people aren’t the only ones using NZSL; a range of people use NZSL. Family members, friends, work colleagues, teammates, fellow church goers, neighbours, teachers and teacher aides, and NZSL interpreters are just a few examples. Basically, anyone who has some sort of contact with Deaf people know NZSL.
NZSL Interpreters work with Deaf and hearing communities, bridging the language barriers that may occur where one person speaks NZSL while the other does not. They play an important role in ensuring access to information and support for Deaf people.
The NZSL Act 2006 and the UN Convention (on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) endorses the fact that Deaf people have the right to access public information in NZSL. Interpreters are a primary means of ensuring information gets communicated in NZSL.
Currently, NZSL Interpreters are graduates of the Diploma in Sign Language Interpreting from AUT University, although in 2011 the BA in NZSL-English Interpreting was introduced, so from 2014 interpreter graduates will have this.
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