How different is every sign language voice

The voice of the deaf

In public life, the deaf depend on help. When going to the authorities or visiting the doctor, the communication difficulties only really become noticeable. The sign language interpreters - like Edda Tucek from Guben - provide help.

The young woman's parents are both deaf. She grew up practically “bilingual”. The 34-year-old talks about the difficulties she had while learning to speak. “I learned to speak correctly much later. Grandma and Grandpa taught me most of it, but I always had problems with pronunciation, ”she explains. During school days, she always had to be present as an interpreter at parents' meetings. “Today it is no longer allowed for one's own children to translate between teachers and parents,” says Edda Tucek.

During the GDR era, she was a part-time interpreter. In the meantime it is her job, until the end of November this year she has an ABM position as an office assistant and is responsible for arranging interpreters in the state of Brandenburg. She knows all the problems that deaf people can face. But she also knows that interpreting is very exhausting. In the meantime, a second interpreter always has to be available after six hours. In the past, according to Edda Tucek, sign language was not recognized, today every deaf person has the right to an interpreter.

While the deaf during the GDR era mainly “talked” in sign language, the interpreter explains that the tactile symbols are more in demand today, and her right hand forms letters that quickly become words. “The older generation doesn't know the Tak tülzeichen, but the younger generation sometimes only talks to these characters,” says Edda Tucek with admiration. For them, too, it is not always easy to point quickly and read along quickly. Edda Tucek's mother has only known tactical signs since the fall of the Wall. In the family they are only used for names and cities that cannot be signed.

But there is also a kind of secret language, says the young woman with a grin: "Every family has some kind of gestures that outsiders don't understand, sometimes the same things are also signed differently." However, this is not a problem at all among the deaf. "If you don't understand something, just ask," says the interpreter, gesturing with her hands out of habit.

Their clear and distinct oral language and facial expressions are also striking. “This is also very important when talking to deaf people. Because in addition to reading gestures, they can also read from their lips and recognize moods using facial expressions, ”she explains. Her nine-year-old daughter Annemarie is now also learning the tactile signs so that she can talk to her deaf Grandma Karla.

A big challenge for the 34-year-old was looking after a 27-year-old woman who was trained to become an IT clerk. “I had absolutely no idea about computers and suddenly I had to translate all the technical terms. Of course, I also learned a lot on the PC, ”she adds.

From 2006 onwards, only state-approved interpreters may be used. That is why Edda Tucek is now doing a part-time qualification as a sign language interpreter in Potsdam. If she has successfully completed the training, she could imagine starting her own business.

If you need a sign language interpreter, you can contact the interpreting center in Cottbus, phone (0355) 7 29 58 90, fax (0355) 2 27 79 or email [email protected] Interested parties can also find out more about training to become a sign language interpreter there.