Healthwatch's Report on Language Empire is Required Reading

Healthwatch Plymouth have released their report regarding Language Empire and their provision of BSL Interpreters to the Deaf Community in Plymouth.

It’s an old story, but it is important to tell it and re-tell it until somebody somewhere rebuilds this broken system.

Download the report here.
Complain to the CQC here.

Jim Cromwell
That Brexit News Interpretation

Jemina nails it completely with regards to Danielle Hansbury’s* viral Brexit interpretation this week.

*I think.

Jim Cromwell
Why Deaf people should go into research

I read this article on Limping Chicken today, talking about why Deaf people should go into research. Thomas talks about how research is brilliant and how it benefits the research and the researchers, but I think it goes even deeper than that.

I come from a mental health background and the need for Deaf research into Deaf experiences is particularly evident.

Imagine we want a questionnaire for autism. Pretend there is one for hearing kids. It's really good. It gives you a score out of 100 for imagination, social skills, and social language. Get less than 50 on all three and you have autism. Pretend. What about Deaf kids? You could translate it into BSL, but how do you know the translation is any good? Back-translation is the methodology of choice, but it only considers linguistic equivalence (not clinical) and for BSL a shoddy SSE translation of the items will back-translate more apparently equivalently than a decent culturally relevant interpretation. I think back-translation stinks for these purposes. But even if it were flawless, what is it measuring? Is delayed language in Deaf kids the same as in hearing kids? No. It might index autism for hearing kids, but for Deaf kids it also indexes having hearing parents, poor education, lack of confidence, etc. Likewise social confidence and social skills. If they score low are they autistic? That 50-point cut-off is based upon research on otherwise-completely-normal hearing kids. Anybody with a confounding condition is excluded from the study that gave them the normative sample and defines the cutoff. Like all the Deaf folk. There cut off is somewhere else.

So you need a normative sample of autistic and non-autistic Deaf kids against whom to compare your possible autistic kids. Do THAT research. Should be easy right? Nope. How do you identify the autistic deaf kids? There's only hearing assessment tools. Catch-22.

And anyway the entire CONCEPT of autism (or anything else) is based upon clinical experience and statistical cluster analysis of  symptom presentation in HEARING PEOPLE. It doesn't make much sense for Deaf people. What IS autism for Deaf kids? It's probably a different thing. So do THAT research. That's REALLY where to start. Deaf kids' cut-off is not elsewhere on the number line - it's on a different number line entirely!

And you need to do it in BSL. And you need to write it up in BSL. In a BSL journal. Because if you let English into it it is contaminated with Hearing-world concept-space again and you'll never get the stain out.

This level of paranoid obsessionality is why I don't do research.

Jim Cromwell
Clare Seal's Jabberwocky

I’m eighteen months late realising that this is on YouTube, having only seen it til now at its theatrical release.

It’s wonderful and it is an honour to link to it!

Matt Jenkins, of course, starring.

Jim Cromwell
Language Empire ordered to pay more than £240,000 to the Big Word

Well this is just extraordinary, comes as no surprise, and needs more coverage than Rochdale News:

A Rochdale interpreting service that set up bogus websites to mimic a world-leading language translation company managed to divert a third of its internet traffic for almost three years, it was revealed in court on Wednesday.

Little-known Language Empire Ltd masqueraded as the UK government’s go to interpreter and translation provider, thebigword, at two websites ‘specifically designed’ to syphon off business from the global contractor.

During 34 months of passing itself off as the leading language business it is believed Language Empire Ltd landed lucrative translation contracts from the NHS, police forces, civil service departments and blue-chip companies worth tens of thousands of pounds.

In a landmark judgement at London’s Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, the Rochdale-based business - based at Deeplish House on Milkstone Street - was ordered to pay double the damages sought by thebigword, after a judge agreed it made “significant sales” by converting enquiries from the websites.
— Rochdale News

Do read the whole article, and do share.

Jim Cromwell