Learn to Sign!

September 20, 2011 by totalityservices

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I recently attended a workshop at Remark!, the largest Deaf-run and Deaf-led company in the UK, specialising in translation and access, broadcast TV and video production, interpreting and training.

As my colleague Bérengère and I approached the new Remark! office, just ten minutes’ walk from our own office on Fleet Street we were welcomed by a group of people on their break having a conversation in Sign Language.

The insight into the world of Sign Language was a real eye opener. Previously I had never thought of Signing as a Language in its own right, nor had I ever come across the term native Signer in the same way you would refer to a native English speaker. Translating to me was always, clearly, a written form of communication, but Sign Language definitely throws this understanding out the window. I was forced to read Sign Language in the same way I would read an English newspaper. Seeing the Signed letters and words in action and simultaneously trying to understand these in my English/Punjabi mind almost blew my brains!

We were so fascinated by the guided tour of the recording studio and editing suite, and the exciting world Remark! had opened up to us that we decided to enrol on the BSL taster session to take place the following week.

The taster session with native Signer David Morris gave us a snippet of Deaf awareness training coupled with the opportunity to do some Signing ourselves. It was only after seeing the concentration on David’s face when members of the group were attempting to Sign and allow him to lip-read did I understand exactly how exhausting the task of communication could be.

When we visit a foreign country most of us will try to learn some useful phrases that will allow us to communicate more effectively with the native people of the country we are visiting. Why then shouldn’t we make the effort to communicate more effectively with the hard of hearing? After all, they are native speakers of the very country we live in. The rights of the hard of hearing definitely hit home during the session with David, so much so that I feel that learning to Sign should be given more importance in our current education system and society. I will definitely be taking up a beginners Sign Language course very soon and would urge others to do the same.

Thanks to the great experience at Remark! Rosetta Translation has begun to offer our clients Sign Language Interpreting services. We hope that collaboration with Remark! will allow us to help raise awareness for the absolute necessity and importance of language services for the hard of hearing.

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