Bridging the communication gap – As a full time employee at Standard Chartered, Rajesh sees his role as a sign language interpreter as a vocation

2 Jan 2019

My life changed profoundly when I met Sripathy at my family’s church in Bangalore, India three years ago. Sripathy is an architect who is a leader in his field. He also has a hearing impairment and is unable to pronounce sounds which meant he needed to study and work even harder than his contemporaries to reach his levels of success. Sripathy also taught Indian Sign Language and taught me to become one of only 1000 Indian Sign Language interpreters within a country that has approximately 10 million people with a hearing impairment.

I joined Standard Chartered in 2017 to help bridge the communication gap between colleagues with hearing impairments and their managers.  An average day for me may include translating at a training workshop or joining a feedback session between a manager and their team member.  This role is a vocation for me.  It’s something I was born to do and I want to dedicate my life to ensuring the hard of hearing community can reach their full potential.

One issue we face is there are many words within financial services that do not have a translation in sign language.  That’s why, working with my colleagues, we are creating our own glossary of terms which we share via video for words such as “regulators”, “mandate” and “overdraft”.

I’m proud to work for a company that is committed to equality.  We all have a role to play to ensure that workers with disabilities are included – whether that’s learning a few phrases in sign language, pro-actively adjusting the work place or ensuring we are appealing to candidates in the disabled community.

Every day I see the potential in the hearing impairment community.  My wish is for everyone to see what’s possible when everyone’s included.