Deaf community asking for more interpreters

Deaf community asking for more interpreters

by Mary Avila

Posted: October 17, 2011

Communication is part of our everyday lives but just imagine how it would
feel to lose the ability to hear or speak.

No one probably understands that more than 24 year old Ana Chavez.

She not only was born profoundly deaf but her entire family also suffers
from the same disability.

“I grew up with a lot of challenges,” said Chavez. “It was pretty

Now that she’s older the Harlingen native said those challenges have only
gotten worse.

“They don’t want to hire a person that’s deaf,” said Chavez. “Here in the
valley it’s very frustrating looking work the deaf are discriminated
against.. it’s very difficult finding a job.”

According to Chavez, the valley is really behind in terms of services for
the hard of hearing.

One of the most obvious problems she pointed out is the lack of interpreters
in the RGV especially during emergencies.

Diana “Pepper” Mendez is a well known interpreter among the deaf community
in the valley.

She told Action 4 there isn’t enough interpreters in the valley.

The statistic is staggering, according to Mendez there are only about 44
interpreters to serve the nearly 10-thousand people who are either deaf or
hard of hearing.

A brutal fact that Mendez said is affecting every aspect of those in the
deaf communities’ lives.

Luckily one valley school is listening.

South Texas College is the first valley school to offer an interpretor
certification and this December they’ll graduate their first group of

Joann Vasquez is one of those students enrolled in the program she said
she’s eager to start working and give the deaf a stronger voice.

STC will hold an ADA Awareness Day on October 25th at their Pecan Campus.

If you would like more information on the interpreter program at STC contact
Jovanda Delgado at (956) 872-2015


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