Tate multimedia guide with BSL

3 02 2008


(Photo: Tate)

At this month’s Tate tour, we were introduced to the multimedia device which has BSL functionality, with subtitles and BSL signing available on the guide’s screen. The signing was done by various people, some of them my friends, it was so nice to see ‘real’ signing and not the impersonal signing provided by a professional. The subtitles were accurate and timely, and easy to read – a factor people often overlook. Each clip showed people explaining how they felt about each piece of art, bringing art to life. The guide is accompanied by a numbered list of the artworks included, correlating with the listed clips on the guide. This means we now don’t have to wait for a BSL guided tour to take place, we can go in and browse at our own convenience. It means I don’t have to tag along the end of a tour and tire myself out trying to lip read the tour guide, and I can improve my BSL at the same time.

The talk this month was on surrealism and I was really pleased with this as this is an area I had never understood or particularly liked (because, basically, I didn’t understand it!). The signer’s introduction explained the foundations and meanings of surrealism, before going on to comment on a number of paintings and taking comments from the audience. There was a person giving a voice-over, well actually he was providing this for the signer which was unfortunate, as this meant he was facing the signer and not the audience. I had a friend there who doesn’t sign, and she had to come to the front and face the audience, so she could see the speaker’s face. So really, this event could be more accessible for deaf-without-BSL. Then we had a super duper open bar. My friend and I were the last ones to be kicked out by security. Oops.

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15 responses

3 02 2008
lette

SWEET, more of this needed!! thats brill 🙂

3 02 2008
jen

Just wondering what you mean by: “The signing was done by various people, some of them my friends, it was so nice to see ‘real’ signing and not the impersonal signing provided by a professional”?

So the presenters in the guides weren’t professionals? And what’s wrong with professionals anyway?

3 02 2008
Alison

Re having to face the audience / interpreter voicing over, I used to do the same thing. However, how would you make such an event accessible? The whole point of a BSL event is that its BSL accessible? If someone wants to go lipread something, they could attend a mainstream event?

Your friend could learn BSL, so they wouldn’t be stuck between two modes? 🙂 (I suggest this as someone who was in exactly the same predicament and learnt BSL as an adult, because I got fed up of being able to access neither).

Glad you enjoyed, I don’t fully understand surrealism either.

3 02 2008
MM

Surrealism is deaf people knocking BSL access I would have thought. The jibe at lip-reading was uncalled for too, but then, it’s what you do.. just ignore them FOL….

3 02 2008
macian

I wish it was that easy Alison, alot of people can’t afford to learn sign, it costs alot of money for a course and there is no grant available like there is for other courses, up here in scotland anyway,which is shocking.
and as for to attend the mainstream event, thats kind of wishful thinking, unless you can get really close to the speaker, i don’t know about others but I find it impossible to lipread more than 6 ft away and in a mainstream event the speaker is more than likely to keep turning his head to face diffen’t areas of the audience.
I too don’t understand surrealism, so perhaps a few quotes from salvador dali himself is apt, here’s 3 of his many quotes…

“There is only one difference between a madman and me. The madman thinks he is sane. I know I am mad.”

“It is not necessary for the public to know whether I am joking or whether I am serious, just as it is not necessary for me to know it myself”

“I don’t do drugs, I am drugs”

well he said it lol

3 02 2008
Fintan

macian
BSL lessons cost me £5 when did you last look… my guess the cost vary from region to region. 😦

3 02 2008
macian

jeez, cheapest i can find heer is £225,for a 2 hour a week basic couse and as i’m waiting on a cochlear implant I am despearte to learn BSL, but I can find nothing here, to be honest I’d rather be taught by a fluent signer, I know a few but none within my area 😦

3 02 2008
macian

if you dont mind my asking fintan, where are you located, and who runs such cheap BSL courses

4 02 2008
Alison

@ Macian – ask social services, under care plan or something? Local grants / grant making trusts for individuals? I think I paid about £35 ish for my BSL course. Would really recommend you try and do, know it takes time etc. Being stuck between two communication modes and identities sucks, big time.

4 02 2008
Dale

I’m paying £36 for ten 2-hour-a-week sessions. Run by the local comprehensive school here (Gateshead). I don’t think it’s a question of area so much, just what the various course providers happen to feel like charging…

4 02 2008
Dale

ps. I understand surrealism perfectly. You take a brush and some paints, and go and explore some place noone has ever been before. Find out how far to the edge of your imagination you can travel…

4 02 2008
macian

I didn’t realise you were learning dale, how are you getting on with it?

and yes I totally agree alison. and I will learn but very very busy just now, and trying to find a cheaper course, RNID were of no help, neither were deaf action, my wife is going to learn it with me, she has full hearing, I am looking forward to it..
although I can swear fluently in sign, I once knew a signer years ago and all the taught me was how to swear, suppose it will come in handy lol

4 02 2008
Dale

Macian, if you know what it means to bung your right hand in your left armpit, well that’s how the class is going. It consists of some bloke from the Deaf England Rugby Union team sitting at the front jabbering away to us in sign, presumably expecting that over some extended period of time we will pick it up….

4 02 2008
macian

lol dale> takes me back to the time I stupidly signed up for lipreading classes, we got a wonderful lady , in amongst OAPS (dont you dare) all i wanted was to talk about football or golf, all i got was how much was a pound of mince in the butchers, no I didnt last the course, boredom got the better of me, good luck though dale, you are one step ahead of me mate, be sure to let me know how it goes

7 02 2008
funnyoldlife

@ Jen – I didn’t say there was anything wrong with professional interpreters. The Tate asked for volunteers, so they had BSL users signing on the guides. It’s nice to see friends interpret, and to see a more relaxed style of interpreting. It’s like the difference between a newsreader and a friend talking – they’re very different in presentation. Similarly with sign.

@ Alison – A mainstream event wouldn’t cater for lipreaders, they would require a lipspeaker or a speaker who is deaf aware and speaking very clearly. There’s not many of those tours around, the only ones I know are at the Wallace Collection or run by Hearing Concern. The Tate BSL tours are advertised as *with voice over* – why should these events be accessible only to BSL and hearing people, what about those deaf who don’t sign? The speaker only has to turn round a bit and make sure speech is clear. I agree, learning BSL is an easier way out of ‘deaf limbo’.

@ Macian – I think anyone would have problems lipreading more than 6 ft away. I’ve just been researching BSL courses as I want to refresh Level 2, so watch this space. Stay away from the lipreading classes, they are full of old ladies! At least I haven’t had anybody die on me in class like a colleague did, but I do get nervous when they start falling asleep!

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