Scenes from Segovia | Issue 2

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General Membership Meeting

13th July 2007

This morning saw the second General Membership Meeting of WASLI and we had a great representation from the countries of the world. For the proposals and voting procedures we require a 2/3 majority vote of the current membership, which would have beeen 9; we fortunately had 13 present, so a fantastic turn out!

Many more people wanted to be present than could get here, and some sent us some nice words of encouragement; we had greetings from:

  • William Green, Deafblind International
  • Maria Cristina Pires Pereira from Brazil
  • Angela Jones, RID President, USA
  • Timothy Tinat, Nigeria
  • Sarah Glendenning, UK
  • Elisabeth Tomer, Sweden
  • Ann Geu Hwan, Korean Association of Sign Language Interpreters
  • Leandra Williams, National Alliance of All Black Interpreters, USA
  • Adele Routliff, Canada
  • Claudine Chan, Singapore
  • Yahyi Jabbi, the Gambia

After the welcome from Liz Scott Gibson, President of WASLI we moved onto the formal meeting. From the minutes of the inaugural General Meeting in South Africa there were a few points of clarification sought including Hend Al Showaier asking that there be a recognition of the Arabic Language in formal WASLI documents.

WASLI Activity Report 2005/7

We then moved onto the activity reports from 2005-7; we were asked to read the reports from each of the Regional Representatives and of course our Board members. As Liz Scott Gibson said, “In 2005 WASLI was a baby, in 2007 we are now toddlers, taking our first steps; in the coming four years we will grow to become a confident teenager!” so from this we can see that this blossoming organisation is taking the steps necessary to become a leading light for interpreters across the globe.

The report was put out to vote, and had a full house of approval with all 13 voting members agreeing to accept this report.

Financial Report

Due to the originally elected Treasurer not being able to fulfil this post the finance report was presented by Zane Hema. The report was brief as there was little financial activity prior to 30.12.06, since then, things have been somewhat busy with people joining WASLI and the setting up of the Conference. From this report there were several questions raised, and they all had a similar theme, the spotting of errors in the calculations in the report. It then came to light that the figures had been typed up by the Secretary and President at 2am this morning! So a conclusion was reached, and knowledge imparted upon us all, don’t do math at that time of the day is it will come out flawed!

Other questions were asked, such as Rosie Addis from the Scottish Association of Sign Language Interpretersswanting to clarify the situation around where the bank accounts are actually held, and if they will be audited. Liz Scott Gibson replied to this and explained thatadvice had been taken that until WASLI had a formalised legal seat in one country the accounts could not be audited. When this has been established, the account auditing process will comply with the financial regulations of that country.

The Finance Report was then voted on, with 12 members accepting the report and 1 member abstaining.

The draft Finance Report for 2007/8 was then tabled and one important point from this was raised by Liz Scott Gibson; there has been a need identified for WASLI to start a fund raising campaign to facilitate projects that will look into a variety of areas, such as deaf interpreters and accreditation and training of people working in International Sign. Liz feels that it will be realistic targets of £30,000 that will kick start this initiative off.

Monies raised will also be made available to support those income poor countries that need cash just to be able to meet up, for them to then start the process of establishing interpreting associations and for those countries rich in knowledge to support those who are not.

Recognition was made to those who have participated in the sponsorship programme, as a comment was made by Johanna from Denmark that some interpreter associations can’t afford the fee to be members of WASLI. Zane responded to this and clarified that the board will be looking at the banding categories so that people do feel able to join.


Proposal 1:            this was to amend some of the wording in Chapter 3, article 4 to make it clearer that sponsoring members do not pay fees but make donations, and for some other wording to be changed. This was unanimously voted in favour including 1 postal vote from South Korea.

Proposal 2:            to have elections to the Board every four years. There was much discussion about this from the floor and it was noted that a board member can serve for a maximum of two terms (8 years) when after this they will have to step down, or take on another role in the board. This was seen to be a positive step as it would ensure that the expertise of the board would be sustained. 11 votes in favour and 1 postal vote in favour (2 abstentions) carried this proposal through.

Proposal 3:            Dr Napier tabled this proposal and this was to establish a new region, the Balkans. Much discussion ensued as to the benefits of a new region, the number of countries that could constitute a region and whether the new region should be only considered after they have gone through the establishing of a National Interpreting Association. Dr Stone from the UK felt that he was in favour of countries being self governing and that they should be allowed to establish new regions as for example in the UK ASLI covered England, Wales and Northern Ireland, as there were cultural similarities, and that those countries with sympathetic cultural values and political values should be encouraged to get together. This was put to the vote, and 8 voted in favour, 2 against and 4 abstained, therefore this proposal was passed. There is now a new region, the Balkan region.

Proposal 4:            This directly linked to the previous proposal and it was withdrawn by Dr Napier, as the new Regional Representative should be formally elected by the National Associations of Sign Language `Interpreters from those countries.


Retiring Vice President of WASLI, Philemon Akach chaired this part of the meeting in which we saw nominations for the posts of President, Secretary and Treasurer.


Liz Scott Gibson, Scotland, was nominated for re-election and in her speech she said that she was standing for a second term as there was still much to achieve from what she originally wanted to do when first elected. “I want to move WASLI to its next stage… we have managed to link up 106 countries so far, and there are many more to come”

Unanimously voted to return!


Zane Hema, UK, was nominated to stand for a second term and he said that when he accepted the post 2 years ago he didn’t realise how much work would be involved in ‘contacting the world’. He has started to communicate with people across the globe and it has been a pleasing experience to collate and disseminate information to people who all share a common bond and think on the same wavelength. Zane was not sure how his hair would be affected in 2011 as when he originally took up office he had black hair, now its blonde perhaps in 2011 he will have none!

Unanimously voted to return!


Dr Daniel Burch, USA was standing for this post as he had been fulfilling some of its functionality since the previous treasurer was not able to do so. He is a married man with 2 deaf children and 2 grandchildren, Daniel is a working interpreter, has taught on programmes in universities and has his own Sign Language Interpreting business, therefore he has a good knowledge of financial procedures, software and of fund raising.

Unanimously voted into office!

Post of Vice President

Liz explained that as we have no nominations for this post, unless there is a nomination today this post will not be ratified today. Liz asked those present for their permission to allow the Board to select someone whom they thought would best represent the profession. Currently the Board is made up of members from UK, Scotland and USA, therefore it would be nice to see this post being fulfilled from one of the other member regions. All agreed to let this happen.

Sponsorship Programme

Deb Russell presented this section and she detailed that in a short space of time, through the kind donations from members WASLI was able to raise funds to the tune of $15,000 which enabled 22 delegates to be sponsored to attend this conference! Those delegates are from the following countries:

  • Kosovo
  • Peru
  • Argentina
  • Burundi
  • Cambodia
  • Ethiopia
  • India
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Mexico
  • Romania

Delegates from Brazil, Philippines and Nigeria were not able to attend so their sponsorship monies have been returned to the fund.

Despite the amazing amount that was raised, there were applications from a further 49 delegates that were turned down due to lack of funds. So, please dig deep and help to get more delegates to the next WASLI conference.

Regional Representatives

We were then introduce to the representatives from the respective regions;

  • Asia Region – Emiko Ichikawa, Japan
  • Australasia & Oceania Region – Georgina Major, New Zealand
  • Europe Region – Marco Nardi, England
  • North American Region – Debra Russell, Canada
  • Transcaucasia & Central Asia Region – Anna Komarova, Russia

WASLI 2007 and Beyond….

Liz Scott Gibson detailed the vision of WASLI for the coming years, and that it included the establishment of Task Groups that can move forward more specific issues.

2011 is a date to put in your diaries for the next conference, be that in Turkey or South Africa; dependent on where the WFD will take place. Discussions have taken place with the bidding nations and they are more than happy to hold our conference alongside WFD.

Meeting was brought to a close and thanks were given to all Board members, supporters and attendees.

Specific thanks for advice and guidance received to the Board go to:

  • Philemon Akach
  • Carol Lee Aquiline, Former Secretary to WFD
  • Bill Moody
  • Jemina Napier
  • Arun Rao
  • Ito Tadashi

Francois Deysel and Knud Sondegaard (WFD) who both couldn’t be here.

Apuntes desde Segovia 2 Viernes 13 de Julio de 2007

Asamblea General de la WASLI


Esta mañana se ha celebrado la segunda Asamblea General de WASLI y hemos tenido una gran representación de los estados miembros. Para las propuestas y los votos de las actas se requieren una mayoría de 2/3 de los votos, que equivale a la presencia de 9 miembros, afortunadamente había 13.

Muchos más intérpretes querían estar presentes y nos enviaron unas bonitas palabras de ánimo, tenemos saludos de:

  • William Green, Deafblind International
  • Christina Perez Peneria de Brazil
  • Angela Jones, Presidente de RID, USA
  • Timothy Tinat, Nigeria
  • Sarah Glendenning, Reino Unido
  • Elisabeth Tomer, Suecia
  • Ann Geu Hwa, Asociación coreana de intérpretes de lengua de signos
  • Leandra Williams, Asociación Americana de intérpretes negros, USA
  • Adele Routliff, Canada
  • Claudine Chan, Singapore
  • Yahyi Jabbi, the Gambia

Tras la bienvenida de Liz Scott Gibson, presidenta de WASLI pasamos a la asamblea. De las actas de la Asamblea Inaugural en Sudáfrica hubo algunos puntos que necesitaban ser aclarados, incluyendo la petición de HEN AL CHAUD de que la lengua árabe sea reconocida de manera formal en los documentos de la WALI.

Memoria de las actividades de WASLI 2005-7

Después pasamos a la memoria de actividades de 2005-7, para lo que hemos tenido que leer los informes de los representantes regionales y de los miembros de la Junta. Como dijo Liz, “En 2005 la WASLI era un recién nacido, en 2007 somos ya niños, en los próximos años nos convertiremos en agresivos adolescentes” podremos ver como esta organización va dando los pasos necesarios para convertirse en el punto de referencia de los intérpretes en el mundo.

El informe se ha votado y ha tenido una mayoría absoluta con los votos de los 13  miembros.

Balance de cuentas

El tesorero elegido no ha sido capaz de hacer el informe, así que ha sido presentado por Zane Hena. Ha sido un informe breve porque ha habido poca actividad financiera antes del 30.12.06, a partir de entonces las cosas se han complicado un poco porque mucha gente se ha afiliado a WASLI y porque se empezó a organizar la Conferencia. Ha habido  varias cuestiones sobre este tema, errores en los cálculos del balance. Al final ha salido a la luz que ¡el secretario y la presidenta habían estado preparando el balance hasta las dos de la mañana!

Al final se ha votado el balance y 12 de los 13 han aceptado el informe y 1 se ha abstenido.

El Presupuesto para los años  2007/8 fue expuesto y  Liz Scott destacó un punto importante; hay una necesidad descubierta por la WASLI: comenzar una campaña de búsqueda de subvenciones para proyectos en áreas como intérpretes sordos y sus acreditaciones y formación en interpretación del Sistema de Signos Internacional. Desde su punto de vista se necesitarían alrededor de 30.000 libras para comenzar esta iniciativa.

Habrá una parte del presupuesto que se destinará a subvencionar encuentros de intérpretes en países en vías de desarrollo para que puedan establecer sus propias asociaciones de intérpretes e intercambien conocimiento con aquellos países que llevan más tiempo en el mundo asociativo.

Se dio las gracias a todos los países que participaron en el programa de patrocinio, al comentario hecho por  Johanna de Dinamarca sobre la imposibilidad de muchos intérpretes de pagar la cuota de la WASLI Zane respondió que la Junta iba a estudiar la posibilidad de crear diferentes categorías de afiliación para permitir la entrada de esas personas.


Propuesta 1: La propuesta era cambiar algunas frases del capítulo 3, artículo 4 para aclarar que la gente que done dinero a la WASLI no se convierte en miembro, para ser miembro de la WASLI hay que pagar la cuota. Esto se votó a favor por mayoría absoluta, entre los votos había un voto por correo de Corea del Sur.

Propuesta 2: elección de Junta Directiva cada cuatro años. Hubo mucha discusión sobre este tema, se comentó que un miembro de la junta debería mantenerse en su cargo por un máximo de 2 candidaturas (8 años) al término de los cuales debería abandonar la junta o por lo menos cambiar de cargo dentro de la misma. Lo que se percibió como algo positivo puesto que asegura que la experiencia de los miembros tendrá continuación. 11 votos a favor y 1 voto delegado por correo a favor y 2 abstenciones.

Propuesta 3: Napier presentó una propuesta para la creación de una nueva región: los Balcanes. Se debatió durante bastante tiempo sobre los beneficios que supondría la creación de una nueva región, el número de países que podrían formarla, y el hecho de que solamente pudiera considerarse la creación de una nueva región cuando en ella se hubiera establecido por lo menos una asociación nacional.

Stone del Reino Unido manifestó sentirse a favor de cada país mantuviera su propia autonomía, y que se les debería permitir establecer nuevas regiones, como por ejemplo la ASLI en el Reino Unido que engloba a Inglaterra, Gales e Irlanda del Norte puesto que comparte una cultura común, y que a los países más próximos culturalmente se les debería animar a unirse. Se sometió a votación con un resultado de 8 votos a favor,  2 en contra y 4 abstenciones aún así se aprobó. Por lo que existirá una nueva región a partir de ahora: la región de los Balcanes.

Propuesta 4: Se refería a la propuesta anterior pero fue retirada por Napier ya que el nuevo representante regional debería ser elegido por su Asociación Nacional.


El vicepresidente de la anterior junta de WASLI, Philemon Akach, presidió esa parte de la asamblea en la que vimos a los candidatos para los puestos  de Presidente, Secretario y Tesorero.


Liz Scott Gibson, Escocia, fue propuesta para ser reelegida y en su discurso dijo que quería conseguir en este segundo periodo muchas de las cosas que no había podido conseguir en el primer periodo. “Quiero que WASLI pase a la siguiente fase… hemos conseguido que 106 países se afilien, y hay muchos más por venir”

¡Reelegida por unanimidad!


Zane Hema, Reino Unido, fue propuesto para una nueva candidatura y comentó que cuando hace dos años aceptó su cargo no era consciente del trabajo que suponía “mantener el contacto con el mundo”. Ha empezado a establecer contactos con personas de todo el globo, lo que ha sido una experiencia muy agradable, recogiendo y repartiendo información a personas con un mismo vínculo y un mismo sentir. Zane no está seguro en que estado estará su pelo en el año 2011, ya que cuando tomó posesión de su cargo era de color negro, ahora rubio platino, quizá en el 2011 ya no le quede un solo pelo en la cabeza.

¡Reelegido por unanimidad!

Tesorería: Daniel Burch, de EE.UU., se presenta para este cargo porque ya se había estado encargando de alguna de las funciones desde que el antiguo tesorero presentó su dimisión. Es un hombre casado con dos hijos sordos y dos nietos. Trabaja como intérprete, y ha estado formando a intérpretes en la Universidad y dirige su propia empresa de interpretación, así que sabe de “buena mano” cómo llevar la contabilidad y la forma de conseguir fondos.

¡Elegido por unanimidad!

Vicepresidencia: Cargo de Vice-Presidente

Liz explicó que no había candidatos para este cargo, a menos que saliera alguno hoy ese cargo no se podría ratificar. Liz pidió permiso a los presentes para permitir a la Junta seleccionar alguien digno de ese cargo. Actualmente la junta está compuesta por miembros del Reino Unido, Escocia y EE.UU. por lo que sería conveniente que este cargo lo asumiera alguien de otra de las regiones. Todo el mundo estuvo de acuerdo con esta propuesta.

Programa de Patrocinio

Deb Russell presentó esta sección y explicó que dentro de poco gracias a las amables donaciones de algunos miembros, WASLI pudo disponer de 15.000$ lo que permitió la asistencia de 22 delegados subvencionados de los siguientes países:












Los delegados de Brasil, Filipinas y Nigeria no pudieron asistir y el dinero de su patrocinio ha sido devuelto.

A pesar de la gran cantidad de dinero conseguida, se tuvo que rechazar la petición de 49 delegados por la no disposición de fondos. Así que “a rascarse los bolsillos” para que en la próxima conferencia podamos cubrir todas las solicitudes.

Representantes Regionales

Se presentó a los diferentes representantes de las Regiones:

Asia – Emiko Ichikawa, Japón

Australasia y Oceania  – Georgina Major, Nueva Zelanda

Europa  – Marco Nardi, Inglaterra

Norte América – Debra Russell, Canadá

Transcaucasia y Asia Central – Anna Komarova, Rusia

WASLI 2007 y el porvenir

Liz Scott Gibson detalló los planes para los próximos años en los que está incluida la creación de las Comisiones de Trabajo que podrán desarrollar temas más específicos.

2011 es la fecha a apuntar en vuestras agendas para la próxima Conferencia, que tendrá lugar en Turquía o Sudáfrica dependiendo dónde se celebre el Congreso de la WFD. Ya se ha hablado con los países candidatos y estarían encantados de celebrar la Conferencia WASLI conjuntamente con el Congreso de la WFD.

La Asamblea llegó a su fin y se agradeció a todos los miembros de la junta, a los colaboradores y a todos los asistentes.

Se dio un agradecimiento especial por su consejo y guía a la junta saliente:

Philemon Akach

Carol Lee Aquiline, Antigua secretaria de la WFD

Bill Moody

Jemina Napier

Arun Rao

Ito Tadashi

Francois Deysel y Knud Sondegaard (WFD) que no pudieron asistir.


Interview with Key Note Presenter :ESTHER DE LOS SANTOS:Tell me about yourself

FILSE Invitied me to speak here at the conference.  I am an interpreter with 20 years experience.  I have Deaf parents which is why I became an interpreter, and 20 years ago I did so without any training.  Now I live in Barcelona, am involved with the National Interpreter association, the Catalonian association of interpreters and FILSE.

And what role do you have in the interpreting profession?

I teach interpreters now on the 2 year government funded programme.  Which we feel is not enough time to turn people into fluent signers and competent interpreters. We are working with the university now to try to develop a 4 year degree course which will increase the training and allow for more opportunity to gain fluency in sign language.  The current training includes 200 hours working with a qualified interpreter.

How is interpreting organised in your country?

Most of the interpreting assignments are offered by Deaf Organisations who receive government funding to provide interpreters.  There is limited choice, though, and if a client has a request for a specific interpreter they will be expected to pay for them.

There are a few private enterprises run by interpreters who tend to employ good quality interpreters and as a result they have a good reputation.  Interpreters from these enterprises are not provided free of charge.

Are all interpreters members of the national association?

We estimate the some 20% of interpreters are members of the national association. Most of them feel that if they are getting work from Deaf organisations there is no need to become a member of the association (until they run into a problem of course!)

How do you feel about WASLI being in your country?

WASLI will have a good effect on our country I am sure.  It is a particularly important year for us.  Sign Language was officially recognised by the parliament a few weeks ago (June 28th) and WASLI and WFD are holding their meetings here at a perfect time to ensure there is a lot of coverage for the profession and sign language on the whole.  There is little research or publications in Spanish about sign language and interpreting and I do hope that these two major events will inspire and enthuse my country’s interpreters to get involved in research as a result.

Are you looking forward to presenting your paper later today?

I am a little nervous at the thought of presenting to a world-wide audience, but I am extremely happy to be here.

The Official Signing of the WFD/WASLI Agreement. Day One Of Conference. Interviews with interpreters from around the world.
David Wolfenden, Gill Wood, Nicole Montagna, Ana Peidro, Karl Llorca, Susan Emerson, Felipe Mendez, Toñi Romero