The training of blind students at the SSLMIT Trieste
The Interpreters' Newsletter
Year of publication
Technology has certainly come to the aid of the Blind in language learning over the past thirty years. Gone are the days of the noisy braille typewriter. Not only does our present student use modern computer technology, but she also has access to text-to-braille conversion (and vice versa), dictionaries on CD-Rom, talking books (books read out on audio cassettes) and books written in braille which she can borrow through the Italian library lending system or can order from the amazon.com bookshop online. She can communicate with the outside world via the Internet, develop her language skills by listening to the radio, DVD film or satellite TV. Today, just like their sighted companions, it is even possible for blind university students to apply for a Socrates Erasmus student exchange at a foreign university, that can cater for people with varying degrees of visual impairment. Unfortunately, though, so far no blind student at the SSLMIT has applied. The Blind are no longer confined to their homes or institutions and will certainly make great strides in our modern society in future as technological and medical innovations strive to render their lives as natural as possible. They will certainly continue to enter the interpreting profession. It is hoped that this modest contribution describing our experience with the sightless in Trieste will stimulate interest elsewhere and generate research into the many unexplored aspects of teaching languages to blind students of interpretation and translation.