In every country there are dialects, like in spoken languages. Lingustic studies on different sign languages showed that every sign language has a specific structure and corresponds to human language universal criteria. There are more than 100 sign languages and dialects all over the world.
Although there is no official language record, the people who use the Greek Sign Language in Greece are approximately 40.600, and they keep increasing because more and more people are taking interest in sign language. The constant spread of the sign language is due to the fact that it is decleared as an official language and due to the sign language interpretation shown in newscast, in Tv programmes and in Parliament meetings, in TV Parliament Channel. The Prisma+ Channel, which belonged to ERT channel, was the first channel with subtitles and sign language interpretation to a great part of its programmes.
We have to point out that the Greek Sign Language is used in Greece, but it is not a representation of the spoken Greek language like the written Greek language. Greek Sign language, like every language can capture any expression of the spoken Greek language including slang. The utility of the sign language for the deafs’ easier communication is also pointed out in Socrates’ dialogue with Hermogenes, in Platona’s play ”Cratylus”. Socrates specifically mentions : ”If we did not have voice or tongues, wouldn’t we try to use our hands, heads and bodies just like the deaf?”
An essential requirement to practise this particular profession is the excellent knowledge of the sign language of each country and at least one of the official spoken languages. The sign language interpreter must epxress and convey the right meanings in an excellent way so that the speaker’s speech will be conveyed with clarity and effectiveness.
Sign language interpreters have existed since the the community of the deaf people exists. However, the sign language interpreter’s profession and the interpreters’ association was organised in 1960.