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Sign Language Interpretation on TV: Let's give the deaf a chance

Sign Language Interpretation
Sign Language Interpretation on TV: Let's give the deaf a chance
on June, 17 2014
Sign Language Interpretation

Image credit: Sign Language Interpretation taken by State of Rhode Island under Public Domain.

Sign language interpretation on TV plays an important role. With their help, the deaf are able to understand the content of the show. In every country, there is a different law concerning sign language for television. In some countries, it is required in almost every show. In other countries, it is the discretion of the TV network. Usually, news and current affairs programs are given sign language interpreters since these are programs of extreme relevance to the viewers.

Issues related to sign language interpretation on TV

Though it seems easy to just pick out someone to who knows sign language, the truth is that it is not that easy. There are a lot of things to be considered before getting someone to do live sign language interpretation.

• Deaf people are the most reliable people to do a live sign language interpretation. The only problem is that for live TV shows, they cannot hear what is actually being said for them to do instant sign language interpretations. The words have to be transcribed first before they can turn them into sign language. Of course, it takes a lot more time and will most likely lead to delay in interpretation.

• People who have no hearing disabilities and are capable of doing sign language are the perfect candidates to do live sign language interpretation. They can hear what is being said and at the same time interpret them right away. However, even if they have fully understood what was said and they have mastery of sign language, they can still commit errors. If not, they will still not be able to fully interpret everything, as things could be very fast.

• There are different types of sign language used in various parts of the world. There are also different nuances that may be misunderstood when shown from one group of deaf people to another. Thus, if the same show will be aired in another country, there must be a different interpreter.

• Hiring someone to interpret for various shows throughout the day can be very expensive. This is why many TV networks don’t bother hiring anyone at all. This is true especially if there is no strict law in the country concerning the use of interpreters for the deaf.

Sign language interpreters are still needed after all

Despite the fact that there are a lot of issues in regard to the use of interpreters for the deaf, it is still important to provide one for them. Just imagine being able to see television shows without hearing anything. Deaf people also have the right to understand what is going on. If this is not possible to provide for all shows, then for important shows, they must at least be given interpreters. Rest assured, for those who can hear perfectly, there will always be an option to remove the deaf interpreter on the TV screen.

Even if the interpretation is not perfect or there might be some differences, the point is that the deaf people are given the chance to somehow understand what they see. It already means a lot for them to be given importance by the government or TV networks.

Bernadine Racoma

Bernadine is a writer, researcher, professional and multi-awarded blogger and new media consultant. She brings with her a rich set of experience in the corporate world, as well as in the field of research and writing. Having taken early retirement after working as an international civil servant and traveling the world for 22 years, she has aggressively pursued her main interest in writing and research. You can also find Bernadine Racoma at .

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