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Malta’s First Ever Crop Of Maltese Sign Language Interpreters Graduate From University

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Malta officially has its first crop of professional Maltese sign language interpreters following the establishment of a study programme at the University of Malta in 2015. 

On Monday, a group of 12 students graduated with a postgraduate diploma in Maltese sign language interpreting from the University of Malta, marking the culmination of a journey that started in 2015, with the enactment of the Maltese Sign Language Recognition Act. 

Marie Alexander, who was responsible for the course on behalf of the Institute of Linguistics and Language Technology, expressed her satisfaction at its success. 

“The course was an immense success. The students formed a closely-knit group and helped each other throughout,” Alexander told Lovin Malta

As with most other aspects of Maltese life, the course faced challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic but, she said, both students and staff adapted well.

“We are all very proud of all the graduates who worked so hard and had to extend the course up to the end of September 2000 because of the pandemic,” she said, adding that she had received invaluable assistance from professional interpreter Alison Vere.   

Alexander explained to Lovin Malta that the course was the result of legal changes in 2015. 

That year, the Maltese Sign Language Recognition Act, piloted by then Parliamentary Secretary for Disability Justyne Caruana, was enacted, paving the way for the course to be set up. 

Funding for the course was eventually made available in the 2018 budget and set up the next year.  

The course was taught by both local lecturers who tailor-made study units for the course and by foreign lecturers, including deaf lecturer, Luigi Lerose who is well acquainted with the Maltese Deaf community and two local experienced lecturers of Maltese Sign Language. 

Sign linguists and sign language trainers from a host of renowned universities across the globe contributed to the study programme. 

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Yannick joined Lovin Malta in March 2021 having started out in journalism in 2016. He is passionate about politics and the way our society is governed, and anything to do with numbers and graphs. He likes dogs more than he does people.

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