Sign Language on the Web

About this time time last year, I heard about a sign in Florida airport that struck me as somewhat silly. Obviously I just didn’t get it (as the two comments on that post clarified), and I was happy to find out more about the issue - and that is that while it may seem superfluous to include sign language when you have the written word, the fact is that for many deaf people the written language is their second language. With that in mind, I’d like to refer to an article I read today regarding live signing on web sites.

"… there are about 70,000 people in the UK who use British Sign Language [BSL] as a primary means of communication. It’s not a straight translation of English ? it has its own word order, grammar and morphology ? so English is often a very poor second language to them."

On a related topic, I caught part of a program made especially for the deaf community here in the UK at the weekend (called Switch). It was just on in the background, following from something else I’d been watching. A great idea in theory, but is it just me who thinks some of the acting is dreadful? Or are my expectations too high as a non-deaf consumer (in other words, for a deaf person watching the show, a ‘flat’ delivery by one of the speaking characters - and I refer to non-mute or non-deaf characters in the show, I’m not critiquing a deaf person’s vocal delivery! - is somewhat irrelevent, so does it matter?).

Filed under: Accessibility
Posted by Ian on Tuesday, March 7, 2006

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