Last month we sent one of our English<>Spanish interpreters to spend a month at Leader Dogs for the Blind, in Rochester, Michigan, a top guide dog training schools in the United States, with an ongoing relationship with ONCE and the Lions Club in Spain. Where there is an increasing number of Spanish and Latin American clients travelling to the USA for training in orientation and mobility, or to be able to go home with a guide dog, guide dog training interpreters are fundamental.
Guide dog training schools empower people who are blind, visually impaired or Deaf-Blind with skills for a lifetime of independent travel, opening up opportunities that may have otherwise remain closed with the loss of sight. During this process, guide dog training interpreters are crucial to facilitating fluid communication between the Spanish-speaking clients and the English-speaking training instructors.
Our interpreter trained with an American instructor, five Spanish-speaking clients and each of their guide dogs in a wide array of contexts to suit their current and future necessities, including urban, suburban and rural locations; university campuses; busy shopping centres and public transport.
Key skills of guide dog training interpreters include a consistent demonstration of professionalism and compassion, punctuality, eagerness and adaptability to asssist in spontaneous circumstances as well as, of course, confidentiality. The work involves long hours, from taking the dogs out for parktime at 6:30am up until post dinner theory classes finishing at 8:30pm. On a daily basis, the interpreter will be conducting both practical assignments in outdoor situations or interpreting between the clients and the on-site veterinarian and school staff concerning required vacinations, medications, travel papers and medical history, as well as grooming and T-Touch relaxation techniques to ensure that each guide dog is as fit, healthy and happy as he/she can be!
In all aspects of the program, guide dog training interpreters enjoy an extremely rewarding service, taking part in an incredible journey of making sure blind or partially sighted people enjoy the same freedom of movement as everyone else.