Getting to Know Ivan Octa Putra, a Deaf Sign Language Interpreter at Unpad Graduation This Year

[Unpad Media Channel] If you tune in to the live broadcast of Universitas Padjadjaran’s Graduation Procession Wave 1 for the 2021/2022 academic year on Unpad’s YouTube channel, Thursday (4/11/2021), there should be a small screen displaying a sign language interpreter carrying out his job.

Unpad has thrice provided sign language interpreting services in their online graduation processions, namely in Graduation Wave III held last May and Graduation Wave IV last August.

The sign language translation process was carried out by three people, specifically a Lecturer from the Unpad Faculty of Communication Sciences, Dr. Herlina Agustin, M.T.; sign language interpreter, Indah Pristiani, and a deaf sign language interpreter, Ivan Octa Putra.

During the event, Ivan did the translations by looking at the screen provided. In order for the translation to match up what was delivered, Ivan coordinated directly with Indah.

“The sign language interpreter adjusted the signs that I conveyed,” said Ivan, which was translated by Indah to Unpad Media Channel.

Getting the Jitters at Times

Initially, Ivan was concerned if the gestures he expressed did not match the words delivered. Moreover, he is hearing-impaired himself, which means it would be more of a challenge for him compared to sign language interpreters in general who are able to directly hear the happenings during the graduation ceremony.

To his relief, the Unpad graduation committee had anticipated this by providing a screen that displayed speeches or song lyrics. In addition, he and Indah practiced for a while before the event started, considering that it was a formal university event.

“The committee also prepared a background so that our hands could be seen clearly when moving around. This would help people with hearing disabilities that are watching to understand our sign language easily. The deaf community have a special strength in visual language, hence, hands that can be seen clearly help them focus on seeing the sign language,” he explained.

Ivan admitted that being a deaf sign language interpreter at Unpad’s graduation ceremony was not easy. A good attitude and the ability to adjust to the ethics of sign language interpreting are integral in assisting the deaf.

At the end of the event, the sign language interpreter team evaluated the interpreting service that has been provided. It was conducted to check for possible interpreting errors.

In addition, the graduation ceremony with a duration of more than three hours would require sign language interpreters to stay focused which was why the sign language interpreter was also given assistance by Indah and Dr. Agustin.

“It would be tiring for only one interpreter to assist throughout the whole event. This is why two sign language interpreters were provided. Not being able to take turns might cause the signs expressed to be out of context and all over the place,” said Ivan, who has been a deaf sign interpreter for two years.

Towards an Inclusive Campus

Ivan appreciated Unpad’s efforts in providing sign language interpreting services, specifically thrice in the graduation procession. This indicates that Unpad has continued to strive to be a disability-friendly campus, especially for the deaf community.

“I think this is a good step. Moreover, Unpad invites sign language interpreters and their team. This enables me to adjust between the sounds and the signs I express,” said Ivan.

In order to create a more inclusive environment, Ivan encourages that sign language interpreting also be provided and carried out in classes or lectures. He believes that the various courses taught should be ready with a sign language interpreter to translate.

Ivan also calls upon Unpad to initiate a special community to learn sign language. Thus, the majority of the people at Unpad would be able to easily communicate with the hearing-disabled community. “If this is implemented, Unpad would no longer need to call sign language interpreters because most people would already be fluent in sign language,” he concluded.*

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