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New Rules Toughen Michigan Sign Language Standards

New Rules Toughen Michigan Sign Language Standards

New rules are going into effect from a Michigan law requiring more stringent education and testing requirements for sign language interpreters.

The Detroit News reports Michigan's law has some of the toughest testing requirements in the country and is intended to prevent interpreter mistakes. The 2007 law was prompted by miscommunication in legal and medical settings.

Some longtime professional interpreters and graduates of college-level sign language programs say the new state licensing test is difficult. They say it also is too focused on certain English language concepts.

Sheryl Emery, director of the state Division on Deaf and Hard of Hearing, is deaf and led implementation of the rules. She says state classifications will make it easier for government institutions and medical providers to know they're getting a qualified interpreter.

 

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