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New position created to hire American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter

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Disabilities Commission

This unique governmental position will significantly increase access to City communications.

Mayor Kim Janey today announced that the City is now accepting applications to hire its first full-time, in-house American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreter as part of the COVID-19 equity in recovery efforts. This unique governmental position will significantly increase access to City communications for members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. Mayor Janey announced the City would be creating this position at the City of Boston’s annual Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Day celebration in July. 

“This new position adds to all of the City’s efforts to ensure access and equity for every Boston resident with any type of disability as Boston continues to reopen,” Mayor Janey said. “From distributing clear face masks to front line workers so residents who rely on lip-reading and facial cues could communicate with others, to distributing ramps to restaurants so that people with mobility impairments could access on-street outdoor dining, the City of Boston is committed to  accessibility and inclusion.” 

ASL is mainly used by people in the United States who identify as “Deaf” (with a capital D). The capital D signifies that they were born deaf and/or they are part of the Deaf Culture. ASL is an integral piece of Deaf Culture, and it is used mainly by people who grow up using it as their primary language. ASL is its own complete language, wholly different from spoken English. 

“During the pandemic, communication from government officials was more frequent and more important than ever,” said Disability Commissioner Kristen McCosh. “The situation and our response to it was changing regularly. Real-time access to updated information in residents’ primary language was a matter of life-and-death. We are proud that we were able to secure ASL interpretation for 100% of the Mayor’s COVID-19 press conferences during the state of emergency, but it has been difficult to sustain that success rate. Our Deaf and Hard of Hearing neighbors deserve better, and this position will allow us to do better.”

The ASL Interpreter position will be responsible for providing live interpretation/transliteration during Mayoral press conferences as well as public events and meetings. In addition, the Interpreter will produce signed videos translating Boston.gov webpages and other text-based online content. 
The position has been posted on the City of Boston’s Career Center.

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