A Deafinite improvement
PUBLISHED: 09:00 20 February 2014
Exeter-based Deafinite Interpreters is the preferred supplier for many large organisations
PICTURE BY MATT AUSTIN
"There have been bumps along the way, but many things of which we are really proud"
Six years ago there was a desperate shortage of sign language interpreters in Devon. Now, the South West benefits from an experienced “one stop shop” for interpreting, set up by three practising interpreters.
Helen Caldwell, Alison Kingdon and Carly Renaud set up Deafinite Interpreters and worked, at first, out of a tiny rented room with borrowed equipment, kindly loaned by Jonathon Farnhill CEO of Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education.
Following the findings of the Living Options Devon research, commissioned by various local and health authorities into the provision of Sign Language Interpreting in the county, Deafinite was born in October 2007 and has gone from strength to strength, now being appointed as the preferred interpreter supplier for Devon and Cornwall Police.
Deafinite prides itself on the high quality of its interpreting team and office staff. Talking about the company, director Carly Renaud says: “We have, in addition to me and two other directors, three office staff, eight in-house staff interpreters and a comprehensive database of skilled, supportive freelancers.
“All of our office staff are required to undergo Deaf Awareness and British Sign Language (BSL) training, as we want our office to be as inclusive as possible and all our interpreters have regular supervisions, observations and training throughout their careers at Deafinite to ensure they are continually developing and broadening their skills.
“We are proud to be a truly local agency, our headquarters are in Exeter and we are very involved in local life. We have forged links with many local organisations and currently have preferred suppliers’ status with Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education, Living Options Devon, Devon County Council, NHS England Devon and Cornwall, Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, Torbay Hospital, Torbay Care Trust, TTC 2000, and Exeter City Council.
“Although we are a community-based agency at heart, we provide interpreters across a huge range of settings including theatre performances, high-level conferences and even the occasional bit of TV work.
“We have come a long way, but there is still a long way to go. We don’t feel like we are anywhere near having conquered the market and believe that this is predominantly an awareness issue. So, we are always working hard to promote awareness with service providers of their obligation to make their services accessible for deaf users.
“We are still a small business and it hasn’t been an easy ride, there have been plenty of bumps along the way, but there are also so many things of which we are really proud.
“In the future we hope to continue growing and providing the high standard of service we have become known for, bringing more outstanding interpreters into our region and increasing awareness across the board.”
For more information, visit deafiniteinterpreters.co.uk.