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, who provides interpreting services for PRIDE Industries. Christina is an El Paso, TX native who works at PRIDE’s Fort Bliss contract. There, she delivers crucial communication to employees with her trilingual abilities in English, Spanish, and ASL.
“In a border town like El Paso, TX, one is bound to be multicultural at heart,” Christina said. “Growing up bilingual in English and Spanish, I became a translator at an early age for my father and grandparents.”
Years later, the need for trilingual ASL interpreting services in the Hispanic Deaf population was growing. With this in mind, a friend encouraged Christina to learn ASL. So that’s exactly what she did.
“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,” she said. “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 Fort Bliss as a job coach and ASL translator.”
Providing ASL Services to Improve Employee Communication
Christina’s desire to bridge the communication gap in the Deaf community coincided with PRIDE’s goal to make every workplace more accessible and inclusive through ASL interpreting services and a wide range of other employment resources.
For example, many employees at PRIDE who are deaf or hard of hearing hold positions in technical departments, including electrical, HVAC, and plumbing. However, there are many industry specific terms and signs associated with these kinds of skilled trades. To streamline the training process and improve communication for everyone, the PRIDE Vocational Rehabilitation team consulted with employees. Together, they developed a work manual in English, Spanish, and ASL.
“I truly enjoy using my trilingual abilities and feel privileged to assist both Deaf and hearing employees with interpretation services,” said Christina. “The deaf community at Fort Bliss has been very encouraging and provides excellent feedback to help me become a better interpreter.”
Day to day, Christina enjoys the different ways she applies her ASL interpreting services for each employee. “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.”