The key to any successful workplace is open and efficient communication. Perhaps no one knows this better than Job Coach and ASL Translator Christina Alderete. Christina, an El Paso, TX native, delivers crucial communication to employees at PRIDE’s Ft. Bliss contract with her trilingual abilities in English, Spanish, and ASL. She shares her experiences below:
“In a border town like El Paso, TX, one is bound to be multicultural at heart. Growing up bilingual in English and Spanish, I became a translator at an early age for my father and grandparents. Years later, I was encouraged by a friend to learn ASL, as there was a growing need for trilingual interpreters due to the increasing Hispanic Deaf population.
In my ASL interpreter preparation program, you were highly encouraged to engage with the Deaf community, as you learn how Deaf people perceive signs and actions. I became acquainted with the “Planet EYEth,” a term the Deaf community sometimes uses to refer to themselves because they use their eyes instead of ears. This experience inspired me, and after graduating in 2014, I joined PRIDE Industries at Ft. Bliss as a Job Coach and ASL Translator.
I truly enjoy using my trilingual abilities and feel privileged to assist both Deaf and hearing employees with interpretation services. The deaf community at Ft. Bliss has been very encouraging and provides excellent feedback to help me become a better interpreter. PRIDE’s Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees work in various technical departments such as electrical, HVAC, and plumbing. With this diversity in trades comes many specific technical terms and signs. In response, the PRIDE Vocational Rehabilitation team has collaborated with employees to develop a manual with work description pictures and the names of tools and materials in English, Spanish, and ASL.
The most powerful lesson that I have learned as an interpreter is that everyone is different; not all individuals sign the same. Some individuals are highly visual and lack literacy skills in English, so I help them develop strategies to work around that. During my six years at PRIDE, my greatest accomplishment has been observing the progress of the employees I have coached and seeing them succeed in their careers.”