Expanding Translation Services: Sign Language

English, Spanish, French, Arabic, German; the list goes on for commonly translated languages. However, sign language (i.e. American Sign Language: ASL) is rarely ever recognized or provided by translation companies, which disproportionately affects individuals of the deaf community. This blog will explore how translation companies and language service providers can integrate ASL professionals in order to reach a broader audience.

What Does This Look Like?

ASL is commonly used when translating spoken word in North America. This is most prevalent in media content (e.g. live theatre, concerts) as well as the professional world (interviews, legal related matters). It is important to recognize that select individuals cannot communicate using spoken language, therefore require ASL professionals to translate for them. For example, an ASL professional translator is always depicted on the news when translating reports on COVID-19. The inclusivity of all communication methods helps spread the message across to a broader community.

Subtitles are a great advantage and mostly used for digital media content. However, ASL is needed for live reports, news, or interactions. Translation companies should integrate ASL professionals in their system in order to provide assistance to businesses in need of such translation. This is especially important for localization companies due to the wide range of sign language used around the world. The most commonly used and recognized are American, French, Chinese, British, and Indo-Pakistani sign language. Thus, sign language is unique to each region of the world.

Wrapping it Up

Conclusively, sign language is often undermined and forgotten when it comes to translation services. It is important to recognize alternate forms of communication methods in order to cater to all communities and reach a broader audience.

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