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Myths and Facts About Sign Language

Have you ever seen an important event on the television that shows someone standing near the speaker, interpreting everything they say in sign language? Like with any interpreting scenario, the skill of the interpreter (or lack thereof) impacts understanding and clarity.

One famous example came in 2017 when an amateur interpreter was asked at the last minute to provide sign language during a press conference before Hurricane Irma was set to hit Florida. The NY Post reported that the man “veered off course when he began signing words like ‘pizza,’ ‘bear,’ and ‘monster,’…that had nothing to do with the press conference.” The man was simply unqualified to do the job that was requested of him.

Myths and Facts About Sign Language

Here are four myths and facts about this important language.

Myth: Sign Language isn’t a “real” language.

Fact: Sign languages, like American Sign language, are just as complex and sophisticated spoken languages. “Just like spoken English, ASL is a natural language with its own grammatical structures, idioms, allusions, word play, and figurative expressions” (Springbrook).

Myth: There’s one universal sign language.

Fact: Not so. It’s called American Sign Language for a reason. “Sign language is like any other language in the sense that it is different in most countries and even regions,” according to Odyssey. Most countries have their own unique set of signs based on their own spoken languages.

Myth: Hearing impaired people can read lips.

Fact: Not always. Some do and some do not. It can be difficult for anyone to read lips, regardless of impairment. Huff Post writes that “studies show that only about 30 to 45 percent of the English language can be understood through lip reading alone.”

Myth: Writing notes is an effective form of communication.

Fact: ASL and English are different languages. ASL has no written form, meaning it might not follow the subject, grammar, syntax and other written forms of English. Those who know ASL well can have trouble translating it.

Everyone Seeks To Be Understood

Accurate translation is important to everyone who wants to understand and to be understood. Our industries are vast, as are our solutions. We provide localization for all of your multimedia projects, including subtitling. This is one way that those who are hearing impaired can watch a video from your organization and get connected to your mission.

We also offer multilingual translations in a wide range of languages that include about 80 language pairs. Diversity in the workplace has never been more important, and that’s why having your business materials translated into various languages can put you at the forefront of inclusivity.

Contact us to learn more about how good translation can work for you.

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