Bridging the communication gap: Rajesh’s story

Working alongside hearing impaired colleagues, Rajesh has developed a glossary of words in sign language for financial terms not included in Indian Sign Language

Rajesh Manoharan, Sign Language Interpreter

India

My life changed profoundly when I met Sripathy at my family’s church in Bangalore 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 level of success. Sripathy also teaches Indian Sign Language, and inspired me to become one of only 1,000 Indian Sign Language interpreters in India – 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 a hearing impairment and their managers. An average day for me might 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 and I want to dedicate my life to ensuring the hard of hearing community can reach its full potential.

“I want to dedicate my life to ensuring the hard of hearing community can reach its full potential”

One issue we face is that there are many words in 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 the colleagues who have disabilities are included, whether that’s learning a few phrases in sign language, proactively adjusting the workplace or actively recruiting through organisations for people with disabilities.

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.  

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