In 2010, the first group of students will graduate in the first Brazilian Sign Language – Libras – Literature and Linguistics Undergraduate Program in Brazil (Letras Libras), at the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC).
The Letras Libras program was conceived to train sign language teachers, translators, and interpreters, preferably deaf, all in accordance with the terms of the Federal Decree Number 5626 from December, 2005. The method applied in this program aims to reach the democratization of the training process. Different regions from Brazil are having the opportunity to train sign language teachers and interpreters in a deaf-teaching perspective with highly specialized contents. It’s been offered as an E-learning system undergraduate study.
This project aims at considering deaf individuals as protagonists within deaf education, and sign language as the mediating form during all the learning process. This intention is manifested in practical terms when the video, the “face to face” classes, and students work presentations are made in Libras – which is the default language for communication in the program.
Letras-Libras is a program that provides a strong training in linguistics for those professionals who are studying Brazilian Sign Language in theoretical terms. The course does not just teach sign language, but it also requires from the students to learn about this language in the context of linguistics studies. Besides that, the students learn about methodological aspects related to their educational area. Finally, the students must know Brazilian Sign Language to be able to apply for this course.
Today, we have about 1.400 students attending this course, and almost 70 % of them are Deaf. 950 of those students are taking it to become Libras Professors (Licenciatura) and 450 are following it to become Libras Translators and/or Interpreters (Bachelor).
More information about the program is available in Brazilian Sign Language or in Brazilian Portuguese at www.libras.ufsc.br
By Ronice Müller de Quadros and Marianne Stumpf
Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina