Wena' Knaup: Why I Chose to Become an Interpreter for the Deaf
I honestly never gave any thought to becoming an interpreter for the deaf until
after attending a church service in Montana in 2005. I was intrigued and awe-struck
by the beauty and feeling projected by the sign language interpreters. This experience
sounded a bell inside me and inspired me to seek to learn more about American Sign
Language and the deaf community. I found that, like any other diverse group of people,
the deaf are struggling to be accepted for who they are. In addition, here in the
Western regions there is a shortage of interpreters from diverse backgrounds. This
means that those deaf and/or blind individuals of diverse backgrounds are lacking
the services of someone who also has a greater understanding of their ethnic culture
and its nuances. Along with providing a communication conduit by which deaf and/or
blind individuals may achieve their goals, enhance their abilities, and enjoy the
same freedoms I do, I hope to bring about this type of understanding and inspire
others of diverse backgrounds to do the same.
My educational and career goals are:
- To complete this program with a high GPA and receive my A.A.S.
- To become highly proficient in American Sign Language (ASL) and a number of its
various dialects, Signed Exact English II (S.E.E. 2), Cued Speech, Pantomime, and
- To become a qualified and certified Interpreter for the Deaf
- To work in educational, religious, sports, theatrical, and musical settings
- To attend Deaf Missions’ Extension Program, an intensive, 6-month college-level
course for those seeking to minister to the deaf
- To minister among the deaf both here and abroad, and
- To eventually get a B.A. in Deaf Interpreting
Wena’ is an inspiring individual who enriches the campus culture of SFCC. She chose
our campus after consulting the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf and the National
Alliance of Black Interpreters and discovered SFCC was the only institution in Spokane
offering Interpreter Training.
When asked what SFCC could change to better serve her needs, Wena’s response was
to increase the diverse backgrounds of instructors, presenters and practicum environments.
More training and experience is needed for interpreters to better understand cultural
nuances for the deaf clients they represent.
After completing her program here, Wena’ intends to enroll in the 6-month, resident
program of Deaf Missions Extension Program in Council Bluffs, Iowa. This will empower
Wena’ to take her ministry to the deaf community.
When Wena’ is not hard at work studying, she loves to watch her son’s football games,
enjoys date nights with her husband, and singing and fellowshipping with Brothers
and Sisters in Christ, the choir at Bethel AME church.
Thank you, Wena’, for joining the SFCC family!