Hand held sign language guides

3 02 2007

These are now available at Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum, to enable deaf people to participate in guided tours. A signer is shown on a hand held screen (not an avatar). Also available at Tate Britain, Guggenheim Bilbao, Staircase House museum in Stockport, and Brunel’s ss Great Britain, the world’s first great ocean liner.

I wonder what provision is made for deaf and hard of hearing people who can’t sign but use speech? Do these portable video tours have subtitles?

It’s amazing how much provision is made for sign language users and how much effort goes into making services accessible to deaf people by making sign language interpretation available, but little thought is given to people who have an acquired hearing loss and don’t want to learn sign language, or who have always been deaf but use speech rather than sign. And the proportions of sign language users gives pause for thought too. There are approximately 9.5 million deaf people in the UK. Only about 1.5 million are BSL users. The other 8 million don’t use BSL – they are the forgotten majority.

The largest national charity that exists to support this forgotten majority in the UK is Hearing Concern who offer advice, support, access and inclusion to deaf and hard of hearing people whose main method of communication is speech. So often, access for this beleageured group slips through the net. Just think, how many UK organisations could be missing out on the business custom of 8 million customers? Heck, that’s a lot of dosh 🙂

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2 responses

3 03 2007
Chester

Magnificent words! thank you, that opened my eyes on these things

25 08 2010
LS

still same situation – sad at times, that we cannot convince our societies that we need and require captions as much as a deaf person may choose sign language; what to do? millions of us!
cheers,
lauren (founder of the CCAC), enjoying your blog and catching up a little here

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