France – AFILS

Contact details

Name association: AFILS (Association Française des Interprètes en Langue des Signes)
Name president: Mrs. Guylaine Paris
Address: 254, rue Saint Jacques, 75005 Paris
Country: France




Country Report 2010:

French Association of Sign Language Interpreters

1st January 2010, 64 667 400 inhabitants (Insee)
Population of Deaf people : About 119 000 Deaf people using French Sign Language

670 922 km2 (with overseas territories)

300 interpreters. We don’t know who’s working full-time: no data, no statistics about it.


82 interpreters and translators, 85 % female

56 % of them live in the provinces (provincial towns) and overseas territories

19 French – LSF interpretation services providers which employ 122 interpreters



In France, there are 4 universities with interpreter training.

– University of Paris 8: in partnership with SERAC (an association which provides different services, including French-LSF interpretation), Master “Science Language”, professional specialisation “French Sign Language Interpretation”. Training during 2 years. 1st year with 480 theoretical hours of training and 30 hours of observation internship (LSF refresher’s course, knowledge of the Deaf and general knowledge). 2nd year with 336 hours of training and 12 weeks during which students are being tutored by a professional interpreter (technique of translation and interpretation)

– ESIT, hosted by University of Paris 3: Master “Science du Langage”, Language Didactics, professional specialisation “French – French Sign Language conference interpretation. Training during 2 years. 825 hours of training in the whole, without guidance period.

– University of Toulouse Le Mirail: Training during 3 years (IUP: Professional University Institut). The Master is called “Working in information and communication: translation and interpretation” for professional in translation and interpretation with 3 languages, French, English and French sign Language. The 1st year is common to all students to prepare them to master technical writing translation, use help technologies and online translation tools. On their 2nd year, students chose a more specific field: “translation and multimedia” or “conference interpretation”.

– University of Lille 3: in partnership with SERAC, Master of French – French Signe Language Interpreter. Training during 2 years, 742 hours of training (theoretical hours of training and tutored period included).

Events and goals

Afils main events that have taken place since the last EFSLI AGM:

Events organisation:

– “JMS” Week (Journée Mondiale des Sourds, Wolrd’s Week of the Deaf), 21-26 September 2009

– Press conference to present the Afils 30 year anniversary colloquium, 28 September 2009

– Afils 30 year anniversary colloquium, 29 and 30 October 2009

– Afils annual Open Day in Saint-Etienne, 23 January 2010

Participation to colloquiums or meetings:

– Attending political meetings with various ministers about the VRS call centre

– Attending the committee about accessibility jobs (with regard to the 11 September 2005 law and the government program “plan métier” (professional program))

Taking part in demonstrations and looking after stalls:

– FNSF (France National Federation of the Deaf) congress, 13-15 May 2010

– Other: presentations to associations, schools or universities to give some informations about the job, ethics, training and how to become an interpreter

Most important events for the situation of Sign Language interpreters in France :

– N/A

Goals of Afils in the coming year :

– Make sure that VRS call centre become professional structures

– Continue to inform the authorities about the necessity to employ interpreters and not “interfaces” (persons with no Interpreting Degree and who work as interpreters)

– Work in partnership with parents associations, deaf persons associations to avoid the set up of the PASS (P%u014Dles pour l’Accompagnement %u0105 la Scolarisation des jeunes Sourds, Centres for the accompaniment to the schooling of the young deaf)


Code of ethics in French