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The Transition from a Metropolitan Lead Group of Interpreters for the Deaf into a National Body

PAIDE basically has a two-fold aspect in its services—sign language interpreting and sign language training. Deaf individuals are in need of the former service for a variety of reasons. This need for interpreters can be brought about by the simple reason that they want to understand the homily of the priest in Mass. Or it can be that they need someone to help converse with their doctors or lawyers or that they want to receive training in computers. Basically, the bottom line is communication. PAIDE effectively provides this service to the deaf and thereby acting as a vital and successful conduit between the worlds of sound and silence.

Sign language training is also a crucial activity in which PAIDE engages. At present, PAIDE is offering five levels of training, namely Basic I, Basic II, Intermediate, Preparatory to Interpreting, and Practicum. In each of the first four levels, a trainee undergoes twelve sessions after which he or she is evaluated before moving up to a higher level. As for the Practicum level, a trainee must undergo a required number of hours of interpreting work, whether in an educational, religious, industrial, social, or legal setting. After each season of training, the student trainees perform in a culminating activity where they showcase their newly developed talents and skills in signing and interpreting.

Each level is not an easy-easy course that a trainee can simply breeze through. The courses make a certain demand and effort from the students as sign language takes a lot of practice and requires constant interaction with the deaf. The common experience of the trainees is the impression that it's almost as if they're learning a new language, especially in the beginning. But with constant practice and sustained enthusiasm, sign then becomes a language that they gradually adopt as their second language and eventually as their own.

PAIDE does not content itself with just the four walls of its classrooms or its one-on-one services with the deaf. In order for it to grow and develop as an institution that promotes the greater benefit of the deaf culture and community, it is necessary and constructive that it broadens its horizons by allying itself with the network of organizations and institutions that support similar causes. One concrete manifestation of this is its active involvement in such activities as the annual Deaf Awareness Week celebration, where 25 members of the Metro Manila Federation for Agencies for the Deaf regularly take part. PAIDE likewise actively takes part in Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko by providing the deaf interpreting services in this socially oriented television program. There is also an essential aspect of Christian ministry to PAIDE's endeavors. They regularly offer interpreting services at the Immaculate Conception Parish in Concepcion, Marikina City during the 5:00-6:00 pm Sunday Mass and at the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Antipolo City during the 9:00 – 10:00 am Sunday Mass and at the Our Lady of Peace, EDSA Shrine, Ortigas, Pasig during 9:30 am to 10:30 am Mass. Furthermore, PAIDE also has international involvement. In July 2002, PAIDE's CEO Alfredo Celada, Jr. participated in the 1 st World Symposium for Sign Language Interpreters, held in Washington , D.C. As the only Filipino delegate to the international symposium, Mr. Celada gave voice to the state of affairs of sign language interpreting here in our country. Through this representation, PAIDE was able to successfully demonstrate that awareness and association with the deaf and hard of hearing are very much alive and thriving here in the Philippines.

With a number of successes already tucked under its belt, PAIDE is never one to rest on its laurels especially with so many possibilities of growth and development. The future holds the promise of deaf education moving towards mainstreaming. As such, there is the challenge of making deaf education and sign language interpreting truly progressive and responsive. In the US , there is even a buzz surrounding several studies that show that there are many benefits of learning sign language for kids who can hear, such as improving their reading and vocabulary skills.

PAIDE faces the future, with its inevitable opportunities and new challenges, with an open mind and its ever-present fire to be of service. It has successfully integrated the different elements of building community networks, carrying out a Christian ministry, practicing the so-called “ethics of interpreting”, developing high-caliber interpreters, providing authentic service to the hearing impaired, and maintaining a high degree of professionalism. PAIDE embodies true passion—a passion for service, education, communication, and connection. Through its services, advocacies, and involvements, it has demonstrated the actively living power of sign language. Although it is a language that flourishes in silence, sign language is a living language, made all the more powerful and dynamic by the people who constantly appreciate and make use of it. As long as institutions like PAIDE survive and thrive, we can be assured that there are guardians looking after the welfare of the deaf and that their means of communication, sign language, will live on and continue to manifest its amazing living power.

Because of an emergent need for a national agency which will coordinate all interpreting endeavors that can empower the Deaf community, the PHILIPPINE ASSOCIATION OF INTERPRETERS FOR DEAF EMPOWERMENT (PAIDE) was established in Mandaluyong City on January 4, 2006 superseding and complementing the REGISTRY OF INTERPRETERS FOR DEAF EMPOWERMENT (RIDE) which used to serve the Metropolitan Deaf empowerment needs.

PAIDE, therefore will serve as a national agency which will represent the country's most active interpreters and its empowered Deaf leaders.

It will also safeguard all the interpreting activities so that the quality of interpreters and interpreting services will be maintained and sustained throughout the nation.

Likewise, it shall also safeguard the interpreting needs of the Deaf throughout the islands.