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Kiwi's contribution to UK deaf community recognised

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Zane Hema Zane Hema Zane Hema

Former Wainuiomata man, Zane Hema, now living in London, received three awards last week from the United Kingdom’s agency that promotes standards of communication with deaf and deafblind people.

Mr. Hema won the ‘Joseph Maitland Robinson Award for Outstanding Contribution’, the ‘Communication Professional of the Year’ award and the ‘London region Teacher of the Year’ at the prestigious 2012 Signature Annual Awards held at the Plaisterers' Hall in the City of London on 2 November.

Mr. Hema arrived in the United Kingdom in 1992 with no knowledge of sign language. Within eight years, he had completed Signature British Sign Language (BSL) qualifications, an Interpreter Training Programme, and a Postgraduate Diploma in BSL/English Interpreting.

He is fully involved in the Deaf community, volunteering in various capacities; he socialises within the Deaf community, and was involved in the campaign for a recognised qualification for Deaf translators.

Mr. Craig Crowley, President of the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf, who made the presentation to Mr. Hema said, "Zane is a staunch advocate of the interpreting profession who has worked on behalf of the Deaf locally, nationally, regionally and globally. He has served as Chair of the Association of Sign Language Interpreters in the UK (ASLI), Vice-President of the European Forum of Sign Language Interpreters (efsli) and was the founding secretary of the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI). These awards recognise the outstanding contribution Zane has made to the interpreting profession over many years."

As ASLI Chair, Mr. Hema worked with Signature to bring about the interpreting standards that are in place today. During this period he turned around a dwindling membership of the professional association with the introduction of personal development programmes and other initiatives.

For the past eleven years, Mr. Hema has trained other interpreters throughout the world, running workshops and seminars in New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal, Gambia, Czech Republic, Italy, Finland and the Canary Islands.

In London, he is a regular trainer with Signamic and City Lit. He has presented papers for a variety of academic or professional audiences, his other roles, in a busy life, include assessor and mentor. As an experienced interpreter, he supports and encourages his protégés to leave their comfort zone and go that extra mile.

A recent highlight was standing alongside the Queen interpreting her words as she opened the London 2012 Summer Paralympic Games. The Games Organisers had wanted to raise the profile internationally of sign language interpreted events.

The Judges of the Signature Awards said , in conferring the awards on Mr. Hema that, "In his daily work as a freelance interpreter, Mr. Hema brings the same skill to a GP surgery appointment as to a Trafalgar Square stage, to a job interview as to a political party conference. His professional knowledge and interpersonal skills have energised and inspired volunteers, colleagues and students, and created networks around the world."

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