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August 25, 2011

Glasses that Subtitle

This morning the BBC ran an item on glasses that had the ability to show subtitles, you can see more here.

First, let it be said I am a social networking geek, I dig technology and innovation. Anyone who has followed me online long enough will get I'm a big user of such tech and always an early adopter. So as far as these glasses go, on a surface level they are a form of social software. They enable the social to happen, more than it is currently. It is good that geeks are innovating such tech and that goes without saying.

On a personal level, I probably would only wear such glasses in limited circumstances - anything on my face drives me nuts. I value my eyesight at peripheral vision, a bit more than I can tend to care about the detail of what's going on in front of me. It is that what allows me feel connected to my environment - I need to know what's going on around me, as I do not get by on environmental sound. Balance might have something to do with it too. My dislike of blinkers is a personal choice, others might feel differently. That I have no qualms about.

However, that's where my praise of this whole thing stops right in its tracks. I do not knock technology that works with a person, the departure happens when technology is used as society's excuse for what amounts of lazyitis, intolerance or projection of the need for conformity.

That is what I want to write about, and what I started to kick off about on Twitter this morning. One thing about Twitter, you have to punctuate what you say, it is limited to 140 characters and it becomes much about what you leave out and don't say (sometimes because it is obvious).

So what am I bothered about? First journalism should not be a form of marketing (yes it is nice to have positive stories), but it is important to have a form of critique and balance. Put this in the context of the BBC, and it becomes more pressing.

The BBC interviewed someone from the the Cinema Exhibitors' Association:

Phil Clapp, "The broad range of audiences do not like going to subtitled films. But it also needs to be said that the needs and wants of disabled or hearing impaired customers are as broad and varied as the needs and wants of the general audience.

BBC reporter, "Yes. Like they want to go on a Friday night."

Phil Clapp, "They do want to go on a Friday night that's true but unfortunately the economics of the industry mean that it's too big a financial hit on the industry to be able to provide that at this moment."

BBC reporter, "So can technology come to the rescue?"

(Note: it does not cost anything more to play a subtitled film).

Yes I know how the majority of society wants me to respond to that: cinemas are losing revenue because people don't like subtitles! Here's an alternative solution! So cool, we have new tech! Lets go all dizzy already, and embrace!

Except I didn't.

Instead I read the rationale was presented as: some people are intolerant towards the other, we cannot do much about that intolerance, thus lets provide something where you are least visible. You as a deaf person are a nuisance, and are costing a multi billion pound industry money. This is the point where I probably stopped listening. Once you start selling tech on the basis that I am a second class citizen, in need of hiding away, forget it. I really do not want to know. And yes, I will kick off about it.

You know, I am not an afterthought or a nuisance. I have every right to go to the cinema on a Friday night too, just like every single hearing person out there. No I am not an inconvenience, nor does the world exist solely for the benefit of hearing people. Our planet is the home for not just certain classes of people, it home for the likes of me too. Deaf people form part of society - deal with it. When it comes to equal citizenship, it is not negotiation territory.

Hearing people are not required to wear headphones so the sound doesn't disturb the rest of the audience. The speakers at the cinema are in full swing. Let it be known, the sound of dialogue often bothers me - I don't make sense of it, and the vibrations can be senseless (at least music comes with a beat). However, I put up with it; you know it is called tolerance of the other.

Instead the analogy that entered my head was: put Black people at the back of the bus, they cannot possibly sit somewhere else because it might offend the sensibilities of white people. And oh, we need to do that because we might lose business because if we don't it might drive white people away. Don't worry, you can still ride the bus (or wear glasses), just we need to make sure you are less visible. Let the ruling majority, rule. Ditto, lets have a rule where we restrict when LGBT are allowed to stay at accommodation, because Oh My God! We might offend straight people who cannot possibly allow their tolerance to stretch that far, thus it could put us out of business.

I likened the rationale given behind glasses to segregation, along the lines of hide people away and to do away with visibility.

(And imagine if the BBC ran a story about a piece of tech due to intolerance towards other minority groups, without questioning it. I can bet there would be a bit more noise than just this lone voice is making).

Get this. Open subtitles are words on a screen. I am not the least bit sorry if it annoys the crap out of you. Get used to it. And to run a story on the rationale we are providing tech because intolerance exists, is well into lost the plot territory.

A cinema is certainly a business venture, and exists to make a profit; thus it could be argued that they should meet the needs of the majority and run with that. Perhaps fit in minority groups, when they are less busy and actually drum up a profit that way. However, pure free market economics does not exist; businesses have constraints put on them all the time. Whether it be a smoking ban indoors, health and safety requirements and equality measures that you are not allowed to discriminate. All have potential economic consequences.

I would argue, if subtitles existed as much as ramps, lifts and so forth - we would not even need this conversation. Accessibility becomes the norm, and people become used to (as they get used to say, wearing a seat belt). The more we hide ourselves, the harder it is going to be to argue otherwise. Like: this is your problem, put the glasses on, be invisible and shut up.

Which is the thing that irks me about this subtitles glasses proposal. Not the fact that the technology here can't do good; of course it can and certainly in more rural areas. However intolerance of the other should never be the driving force in pushing for technology. That should be focused on accessibility, by imbracing inclusion (which in this context leads to less segregation) and acceptance for who you are. However, once we go for the intolerance line, we really are not going to get anywhere.

(There is more I could say about this, however I do not want to confuse the main thrust of my objection).

Update: The Rebuttal has written a blog post which continues the theme above.

November 19, 2009

Deaf Christmas!

Are we just totally in love with Google?

Today Google announed automatic captioning on YouTube.

Plus more here, if you're interested:

For the past few years, how to make user generated content (UGC) has played on my mind, and I could see the internet becoming less accessible to deaf people (a decade ago we had more access). Did people have the will to innovate, and get around this?

People like Ken Harrenstien (Deaf Software Engineer at Google), are vital to any workforce. Kind of a very good example as to why workplace diversity matters. Bring people in who'll think outside your traditional box, and push for something that your average Joe won't be so bothered. That said, geeks seem to run on creativity, and a perfect example of tech working with people not trying to change them.

This doesn't just have implications for deaf people, but the captioning will be made available in 51 languages. That's a significant chunk of the world's population, and bridging across cultures. Captioning is also beneficial for Google's business, in that it'll be able to index content better; so everyone wins. A major development in bridging people globally with huge implications on accessing content (even via basic search), yet the mainstream doesn't notice. The current trending topic on Twitter? #newmoon, which says it all.

I for one cannot wait, its certainly better than any (material) present I may receive this Christmas!

Elsewhere:
New York Times: Google to Caption YouTube Videos
Lifehacker: YouTube Adds Machine-Generated Automatic Captions

May 13, 2009

TED Talks Now Subtitled

ted_logo.gifTED runs an annual conference bringing together some of the world's foremost thinkers and doers. In addition to their conference, they also carry these videos online. A list of speakers can be found here.

Since the medium of presentation is video, yep you've guessed it. Deaf people have not been able to access this. However, TED talks are now subtitled, or if you live across the other side of the pond and must use American English they are captioned! w00t! Not only in English, but they invite people to translate to other languages. Its a shame there's no recognition of signed languages in that drop down list, and whilst we're on it, Welsh is not included either.

TED Translations page says:

Every talk on TED.com will now have English subtitles, which can be toggled on or off by the user. The number of additional languages varies from talk to talk, based on the number of volunteers who elected to translate it.

Along with subtitles, every talk on TED.com now features a time-coded, interactive transcript, which allows users to select any phrase and have the video play from that point. The transcripts are fully indexable by search engines, exposing previously inaccessible content within the talks themselves. For example, searching on Google for "green roof" will ultimately help you find the moment in architect William McDonough's talk when he discusses Ford's River Rouge plant, and also the moment in Majora Carter's talk when she speaks of her green roof project in the South Bronx. Transcripts will index in all available languages.

The interplay between the video, subtitles and transcript create what we call a Rosetta Stone effect. You can watch, for example, an English talk, with Korean subtitles and an Urdu transcript. Click on an Urdu phrase in the transcript, and the speaker will say it to you in English, with Korean subtitles running right-to-left below. It’s captivating.

Back in 2007, I blogged on Noesis complaining about the lack of subtitles on the TED website.

Continue reading "TED Talks Now Subtitled" »

May 12, 2008

Post about iPlayer on Noesis

Earlier I knocked together a post on iPlayer, over at Noesis. If you're interested in iPlayer issues, you might want to read.

May 10, 2008

HandTalk: A glove that (supposedly) translates sign language

hand-talk.jpg

There's a glove being developed at Carnegie Melon University which is supposed to translate ASL hand shapes into speech, via a mobile phone. One would hope some collaboration is happening with linguists.

Now I don't know the first thing about the linguistics of ASL, but as a mere user of another sign langauge - BSL - I can't see this working well anytime soon.

Receptive BSL requires a recognition of facial expression and an understanding of placement. Would some crazy device be developed that incorporates facial expression and body movement picked up in some Wii like fashion? Let not the mind limit possibilities here, if man can go to the moon and all that! However, it kind of feels a bit mind blowing, and I'm feeling old! Give me a human interpreter.

But. Who exactly would wear a huge glove like that? Would you?

Sure, its a prototype, and scientists being scientists are seeing how they can push boundaries. In all seriousness, at least this computer works with different languages, and does not seek to change the user but work with them. On the same basis as electronic translation tools for spoken languages.

However, I'm not sure I'll be taking this up anytime soon. Its will that gets you by with communication.

Sources:
HandTalk Project
HandTalk: A Glove that speaks for the Deaf
Glove converts sign language into sound
HandTalk Glove Turns Sign Language Into Words via Cellphone

April 18, 2008

Geeky device to alert you to goings on in your home

alertme.jpgAlert Me is a new UK start up, which has a product right deaf people's street, and looks cool.

Its a product based on the back of your wifi signal in your home, and it will alert you via SMS or via a website, the status of various sensors including the doorbell, alarm detector, smoke detector and even door and window sensors. Check this page out.

What's more it actually looks totally cool, works with modern technology and its not something that looks as if its dropped out of a social services department storeroom cupboard and has been sitting there since the 1970s.

Its excellent that mainstream manufacturers have built something that we can use too. This is the kind of innovation we should be embracing. Tip for the manufacturers, you might want to get this to work with an alarm clock too plus a baby alarm; that way you might cut into the deaf market. Although I'm not up to the idea of sleeping with a mobile phone under my pillow due to associated risks, the market might be there. For wider commercial, group or family use, it would be good if this piece of kit could be linked up to Twitter to send out status updates to more than one person. E.g. family members of a household or might want alerts for intruders.

The only pull down is price, currently stands at £400, and a subsequent £11.75 monthly fee for the service. However, the price might come down (more demand for economies of scale, competition, ceases to be such a new concept). Who knows, someone's social services department or Access to Work budget might be persuaded to purchase it.

Via Ben in Deaf UK Chat. Thanks!

April 14, 2008

Problems with DeafRead

Earlier Tayler posted something about solutions for DeafRead. I've got my own thoughts on this, but its not quite the subject of this post. I've stopped using DeafRead, because it does not work for me and its having implications on the free flow of content.

Since most of our UK readership won't know what it is, DeafRead is a moderated or filtered aggregator. The deal is best stuff (its subjective) goes on the front page. Anything else, including not deaf related content / not of mainstream interest / contains adult content and it gets pushed. Guidelines here.

As far as I'm aware, its moderated solely by humans living in North America, yet has some international reach. Am sure it works out fine as a US issue, but running into issues in the UK. I suspect the same could happen for other countries. Before I go on, moderating is not an easy task, thank you, etc. But ..... here's some examples:

Posts that made DeafRead main page this year, i.e. Best of!:

BSL Activist having a go at Paula Garfield: to me, its libel and full of wrong information. However, if John feels the need to attack yet another person, and have a go ... go right ahead. Deaf people for the record were invited to the event (I was!), and since its a private theatre event, the theatre can do damn well what they please. Whatever. Not entering this argument, and not the point of this post.

MM and well ...!: One of our top trolls in the UK, and I'm sure he's delighted to get that honour. Sure he can have his say, just erm ... Deafies were dealing with MM long before the net, via Ceefax. I certainly remember him trolling his way through the 90s. Hi, MM, hope you're having a good day!

Posts that went into DeafRead Extra:

BSL Recognition:, representatives of deaf organisations get to meet the Prime Minister, to discuss the official recognition of BSL. Huge issue that has dominated the past decade for campaigning (we've had marches, road blocks etc), and this was not covered on any other blog. For our US friends, its like the President of NAD going to see George W. Bush to discuss protecting ASL in law, then putting any mention of it in Extra! Not deemed newsworthy.

Transcript: BBC Radio Wales, Good Morning Wales: a national radio station (Wales is a country) reporting on the ethical argument of deaf embryos and the right to be developed. It for some reason gets shoved into Extra.

Access to Work: potential cut in funding by the government, which means it will be harder to get e.g. BSL/English Interpreters, speech to text for workplace settings, and huge implications on deaf people's employment in the public sector. (Incidentally a subject I've put off blogging for a few months).

Wrong way around

These last three examples to me are *much* bigger in terms of broader policy issues, they impact everyone nationally and good for a comparative approach internationally; vs those from individuals who have some personal gripe. Don't get me wrong, I will defend your right to of freedom of speech even to produce utter crap, and put them in best of ... but the logic above *really* does not make sense, when major policy stuff is downgraded. Against posts which are essentially no more than personal attacks, being labelled as quality content.

In recent months, I could have cited a good few more examples. To me, those lists should be reversed.

Logic? Its not, and I'm of the opinion that international human filtering cannot work; unless those moderating are extremely clued up on the idiosyncrasies of every community. Jared, before you pop up in your PR role and tell me Editors are human etc (we've both had this conversation before), its not just happening once or twice.

Before it has been suggested that we put posts in context, i.e. background information. Firstly, you've got the aggregator influencing content, where blogs should be free from bias and even independent. Personally, I'm against this idea as it influences the animal of what blogging should be. Secondly, as a UKer, I frequently see background information *not* being supplied for many US blog posts. Thus its being moderated from a US angle, where posts are being treated as "foreign" and US subjectiveness applied. If that's what you want, fair enough ... but its not an ecosystem that works from an international basis.

There are wider issues, re blog content, which puts me off visiting. However, that's not the purpose of this post, and I wanted to give another dimension to feedback from the ground.

See also:
An example of how deafread doesn't cater for an international audience

March 12, 2008

Horseradish Fire Alarm for Deafies

horseradish.jpgThrow away your vibrating fire alarm, a new Horseradish Fire Alarm has been developed for deafies! Yes it sprays a strong smell of horseradish to wake you up in as little as 10 seconds.

Medical equipment manufacturers have developed a technology to extract components of the strong odor of horseradish, seal them inside a can and spray them out.

Shiga University of Medical Science Hospital cooperated with the makers and carried out experiments to see if the horseradish smell can wake up people from a deep sleep.

Fourteen people, including those with hearing disabilities, took part in the experiments.

In the experiment, 13 out of the 14 subjects woke up in less than two minutes after the smell reached their noses.

The people with hearing disabilities were particularly quick to wake up, with one person emerging from sleep in just 10 seconds.

Perhaps they could diversify and make alarm clocks too?

Source:
News Now Report: Horseradish Fire Alarm, via Boing Boing

August 8, 2007

iPlayer: A Deaf Perspective

iplayer.jpgThere's a long overdue post over at Noesis on the BBC's iPlayer. Deaf perspective that is, not a general mainstream one which people can get elsewhere.

Please note I've closed the comments are closed on this blog entry, but comment over at Noesis. (Doing this so people can read / participate in commenting at one place).

August 4, 2007

The RNId's new digital hearing aid...

blingaid.jpg ... not. I don't think even the RNId can afford this hearing aid. For a start, it's made from solid 24-carat gold and is studded with 220 diamonds. It has a remote control. It is expected to sell for over £25,000.

Jeesh. And yes, it's real! It was designed by a bloke called Barry Moule for a company called Widex:

"Creating this aid required the services of Barry Moule a highly specialised London-based jeweller with a unique set of skills. “Though I have produced exotic items such as jewel encrusted mobile phones in the past this is the most unusual project in my career,” commented Moule."

... So it looks like lots of rich hearing aid wearers are going to have to fight over it. Too bad if you want a matching one for your other ear(!)

Jen

See also:
Coming soon: will you be forced to get your hearing aids from the RNID?
Autonomy and Gurning
RNId = The New Google?

July 12, 2007

Bizarre gadget for "couples and deaf-mutes"

Yes, I know I am guilty of not blogging or vlogging here on GOD for ages. Got a lot on at the mo, and anyway Alison is doing such a fab job so who needs me?!

However, I couldn't resist blogging about this vibrating ring/alarm clock thingy for couples and deaf-mutes..! Whatever next?

(If you scroll down to the little man, you will see the speech bubble saying "I am deaf. But I must go to work everyday at 8.30..." - why the "But"?! There is no but. We Deafies have jobs too! Sigh. I hope it was simply a translation glitch, i.e. the English wording in the advert looks as if it may have been translated from another language.)

Jen

June 11, 2007

Rob interviewed by BBC Access 2.0 blog

Rob got interviewed over on the BBC's Access 2.0.

Its good to get some coverage, and I have to congratulate the BBC for showing initiative here.

Question: why does the BBC have to call us hearing impaired, especially when Rob has used 'Deaf' throughout his interview answers?

Note to Rob: you've been vlogging since June 2004.

June 6, 2007

Parliament: 999 sms?

A question was tabled in the House of Commons around a national 999 sms service:

Cheryl Gillan (Chesham & Amersham, Conservative)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will set up a nationwide 999 text message service for deaf people who cannot telephone the emergency services.

The reply:

Vernon Coaker (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Home Office)

An emergency text relay service is already available to give the deaf and hard of hearing access to the emergency services. In addition a working group, including representatives from the emergency services and the mobile operators, has been set up by the 999 Liaison Committee to see whether an SMS emergency number service can be provided.

Why doesn't the government ever get it? I've yet to see a question properly answered in parliament.

Whilst there might be an emergency text (as in minicom / TTY) service, who has a minicom these days? I don't. Do you ever see anyone carrying one about? For international readers, we don't have a internet based relay service.

Question on They Work for You

May 29, 2007

Simple phone for the hard of hearing (with fat fingers)

oldphones.pngI don't hear on the phone, and wouldn't even bother trying, so this is really not aimed at me. However, it makes me cringe anyway. Techcrunch is carrying some article about Jitterbug: because cellphones scare old people. On the face of it looks like its built for technophobes. However it does not stop there, and Techcrunch says:

Jitterbug promises to be the perfect phone for old, blind, hard of hearing folks with fat fingers.

Of course, I have to check out exactly what this phone is for hard of hearing people with fat fingers! Jitterbug's website says,

- Hearing-aid compatible
- Padded earpiece to reduce outside noise
- Convenient no-mistake volume control

Okay! But does the phone need to look like the equivalent of NHS glasses? What I find really amusing is the demo on that website, lots of talking, but there's no subtitles. If you want to market a phone to people with broken ears, is this a good plan?

Business Week's review included:

For example, the soft rubber cup around the earpiece doesn't just make the phone more comfortable, it also blocks ambient noise, making the phone easier to use for the hearing-impaired

Question: would you use such a phone? Why assume that "hearing impaired" (pass me the sick bag re the awful terminology), wouldn't know how to use a piece of tech? Oh I forgot, all hard of hearing people are over the age of 70.

May 9, 2007

Porn site, with subtitles & audio description

It had to happen. There's now a porn site that carries subtitles. It also provides audio description and zoom in for blind people too.

Users can also listen to graphic descriptions of saucy photos. For those who are not blind but are visually-impaired, a 'zoom' button lets them get up close and personal to the images. The site even provides subtitles on adult movies for deaf subscribers.

Nice(!)

The Londonist goes onto suggest there should be a terp:

Gah – where’s their sense of fun? What they need is a little naked chap in the bottom-right corner teaching us how to say ‘fuck me harder’ in sign language.

No I've not tested it, so no analysis from me. Someone else can do it.

Via: Londonist, the original article in the Metro.

May 5, 2007

Who said no-one in the UK isn't being active? (But it could be so much better)

Recently I've seen this in a few places: no-one in the UK is doing anything politically.

Crap.

What do you think a blog is? Why is the definition of activism so narrow? Sitting in the middle of a road is one way to demonstrate, going along to a meeting is another. Blogging about something, and actually having open conversations is another.

Blogging is not the same as e mailing lists. E mailing lists are frequently closed and can be controlled, where the rest of the world is unable to listen in. What's the benefit of talking amongst yourselves, where everyone already knows the information and probably agrees with you anyway? The dynamics are different too.

Blogging might be a bit different form of activism you are familiar with, and causes you to redefine something because goes outside your traditional beliefs or thoughts. However, that doesn't mean that its not a valid form. Yes there needs to be more blogs, this is just one. And it goes without saying, we need more people to be proactive too, and not just restricted to publishing online.

Back to blogs. This blog had nearly 20k visits in April (visits not hits), thus not something to be mocked at. Drip drip form of communication, and perhaps something indirect and constructive can come out of this. And for the record, I don't think we've even began to touch the surface re a potential impact here. I don't see blogging as a soapbox, but a conversation, which you need to participate in to fully get it.

However, the snag: there's not enough UK people being active here, and on that count alone could be interpreted as not enough is being done politically. Its not difficult to have an opinion. If you want to do your bit to get moving over here, one way is to actually set up a blog or vlog and start to enter some quality open conversation, and engage with other bloggers. Each blog is the building block for a bigger picture. Go for it.

May 1, 2007

British Deaf Football website launched, where's the RSS?

gbdeaffootball.jpgThe Great Britain Deaf Football website was launched this evening.

I'm not a football fan so I'm not best placed to do an analysis of this site. However I'm always a fan of independent Deaf stuff, on the face of it, the website looks good and I welcome online content. However, one thing that's really bugging me: where's the RSS feed? I tried to add you to my reader, and I got the 'no feed found'!

This frustrates me so much, UK Deafies and more importantly web designers please come into 2007.

There is this great page full of news, what makes you think I'm coming back to read it? Okay, I'm not exactly your target audience, but I still want your news delivered to me. I might even be interested in some of the content, just from keeping in touch with Deaf stuff goes, but I want a feed to enable me to do this! Deaf Football people, please use something like FeedFire to create one. You have news to share, make sure the content gets delivered to as many people as possible. Same goes for your calendar page too, events delivered to your reader as another feed. Having a feed doesn't mean noone will visit your site, quite the opposite, it reminds people you are still there.

This is what I was getting at in an earlier post over at Noesis re the use of RSS (please watch the video if you haven't done so already).

P.S. Football people, where's the BSL? Some vlogs integrated into the news section would be cool.

Update: See the comments, there's now a RSS feed. Yipee! If you want to subscribe to the news, here's the feed. Nick, where's the calendar feed - I want one. Other thing, there's one BSL video on the site, presented by Helga. Just linking it, as I missed it on my first visit.

Update 2: BDF website has addressed the RSS further. The RSS feed buttons can be seen at the bottom of the website, there's also one for the calendar plus messageboard. Go and have a look.

April 11, 2007

VeeSee

veesee.jpg

Thoughts on VeeSee over here.

April 10, 2007

BBC & accessible online content

If you are interested in forthcoming plans by BBCi to address subtitling and BSL through its website, go here.

March 24, 2007

National Video Conferencing Events for Deaf Pupils

Deaf pupils have the chance to participate in two online video conferences for schools next week. This is the second event of its kind. The primary school event is on Monday (which requires a password), and the secondary event takes place on Wednesday (open access). Here's the website.

March 13, 2007

BSL on your mobile

If you ever wanted to download signs onto your mobile, this is the place to do it.

March 12, 2007

Boys, boys!

"Wow", you might think; "three Grumpy blogs in one day!?" - yes, but the two good posts below were written by Alison, and not me (jen). We need a new skin, amongst other things.

Anyway, I've finally got round to blogging on GOD after tooooo long (again) because I am annoyed. (Again).

So what has annoyed me? This has. While I'm very happy to see how happy Deaf Americans are with their Deafreaderships, can we please not keep rewriting history? Am soooooo fed up seeing posts that seem to have forgotten that, although Mr Mayer says the Deafread idea come to him out of nowhere while walking around one fine day, actually, Deaf-blogs.com came first.

The weird thing was, Deaf-blogs.com was featured in SIGnews a year ago, probably in February/March, because it was launched in January 2006(!)

It doesn't really matter in the greater scheme of things. It would just be polite to acknowledge us Brits from time to time, for a change. Yes we come from a small island, but we do have good ideas sometimes.

So please don't pretend you didn't notice..!

January 23, 2007

BSL / English ICT Dictionary

The BSL/English ICT Dictionary has been released, and available online.

This project was managed by DirectLearn, and follows a similar structure to previously released BSL/English online glossaries: ArtSigns, Engineering Signs and Science Signs. Provision of such publications goes some way to raising the status of BSL, in the face of criticism.

As with previous glossaries, it faces criticism in respect of BSL standardisation, and signs being unfamiliar to those who use them. What happens when you use a different sign to what is on a website? It becomes an issue where BSL students and perhaps interpreters start to use it as a web resource.

Correct sign usage becomes noticeable in the context of associated signs relating to mailing lists, and possibly the oldest signs and most distributed signs in existence in UK after signs relating to e mail, internet; as its tech that people in the UK are most familiar with, and been in common usage since 1998.

Is this really the sign for client? Fingerspell blog? A sign for this has existed since at least 2004, and can be found on blogs on the net. Vlog - is not the sign that is used by people who vlog regularly. Where's the sign for Web 2.0, which has been the buzzword for the last 2-3 years? Long Tail? Decentralised networks? Social Network? Synchronise? Blogger? Vlogger? Digital identity? Widget? etc. These are all standard words I would use when discussing tech.

All the above comments aside, any attempt at recording BSL has to be commended, its no small task and takes a substantial step towards any future call for legal recognition.

December 21, 2006

Deafies not welcome at Yahoo!

Yahoo! Video is an idiot, and certainly a case of indirect discrimination.

Yahoo! Video states:

"Videos without audio will not be processed"

So that means videos using sign language, which will often be processed with no sound, cannot be uploaded.

November 9, 2006

Interpreter Saga continued

Today I got two replies around the relevancy of Deaf events to interpreters, and a continuation of this post. Before sharing, I would like to state there's many issues around moderation of lists here, and the inability to engage in conversation because egos come first. No I don't have time for it either. This is what I would like to try and dissect in future posts, and why blogging is important as a future means of publication.

It means that your postings will be subject to moderation. E-newsli is about sign language interpreting and sign language interpreters. Your posting was not even remotely about that. If there had been some hidden connection, you should have checked it out with me or Frank. I do not want this newsgroup to be hijacked by other agendas, as has happened with other newsgroups recently.

Since Deaf UK Events is used by interpreting agencies, e.g. to advertise NVQ Level 4, Magistrate Court Training, etc., this is a strange reply.

And a reply to my longer e mail:

Thank you for sharing your opinions with us.

When someone else asked about this on list, the reply was:

I am not going to enter into a discussion about this.

My direct reply was, and so people can get a better picture:

If you actually mean Deaf UK, I'm not actually responsible for what has been happening over there, and on no attempt to hyjack anywhere. Please do not judge a situation on a whole lot of wrong information, where I have largely refrained to respond to date on the grounds of xxxx mental health, and this has actually come from nowhere. If you mean something else, please say so. It would be helpful if you were more specfic here, and not resort to generalisations. If you have any questions, including any wrong information you've been fed from elsewhere, please go ahead and ask them.

Secondly, as a long term subscriber to E-Newsli, 7+ years, it is nothing but victimisation. The list has had some very off topic postings recently, including personal e mails which is even less about interpreting. Someone's mother in hospital, relevant to interpreting? Its not just one mistake e mail. Additionally, I actually fail to see how cued speech had any relevance to BSL/English interpreting being way off topic, as discussed on the list recently. (This point was not made by me, but an interpreter and reminded me of relevancy). If you put these people into moderated mode, then why didn't you give them a public scolding off too, without even contacting them?

Furthermore, get nothing in terms of an apology from you, and as remains a public e mail. Secondly, a complete refusal to engage in dialogue. Another example of patronising and oppressive behaviour. I've not done anything to you, I posted one e mail which you / Frank did not agree with, that I was not aware of breaking any rules (no periodic reminder, since I've been a member since around 1998). Have posted to this list in the past (been a member since 1998/9) and you have not indicated otherwise, again no communication from you if you are unhappy with my postings or I am breaking some rule (didn't even know about them) / should I be doing xyz. Suddenly, I get moderated, no direct communication to sort out and told about publically. As explained, I thought my post had a lot of relevance to interpreting, and the way this has been handled this smacks of arrogance.

Every interpreted event I've gone to, the interpreter invariably asks me: how can I get more Deaf people there? I get comments from interpreters, Deaf people don't come, use it or lose it etc. The interpreter even thanks me for showing up! On the grounds of this feedback, as a user of interpreters for 14 years yes I thought interpreters would be grateful for a tool. (The existing ones are streamlined, not every theatre subscribes to SPIT, every art gallery to MAGIC etc). You have just made a decision for all interpreters and sent out a strong message, interpreted performances, and actual attendance of, is not an interpreting issue. I will remember that one. Secondly, I assume there is no longer any need for interpreters to go to other events, as an issue of continuing professional development? Again, since you are both involved with the training of interpreters, this is another one I find extremely worrying. Interpreters don't subscribe to other lists, pure and simple (have been moderator for way too many years to know this). That is my only reason for posting this, even if you actually might find this incredibly hard to believe.

Eventually got a reply:

I simply don’t have the time to debate this. I have other priorities. I’ve made a decision in what I perceive to be the best interests of newsgroup’s members. If you don’t like the way I and Frank handle things, you can simply ask to be unsubscribed.

There's a lot I could say here, but bottom line this leaves me with the thought on how dated e mailing lists are.

Save the Deaf UK Four (!)

OK so thus far, four of us have been banned from Deaf UK for various silly reasons: Tony explains it all very clearly here.

I still don't know why I was banned because I honestly did nothing - I was shouted at for forwarding emails and then did nothing at all! Suddenly last night I found out I was banned. I'm probably guilty "by association" because I'm friends with the other DUK Three. That's fine by me, I accept I have sinned by having friends.

Sigh. I simply can't believe I have even bothered to write this post. More to the point, I can't believe what used to be an important British Deaf resource has been reduced to a silly playground-style fighting place.

I'm glad to be out of it, in all honesty.

May 11, 2006

Tucker needs to get over herself

Bonnie Tucker is a law professor, who became deaf at two. She communicates orally.

On the subject of Cochlear Implants, it has been analysed that she supports the view that "if CIs become widespread enough and work well enough for most D/deaf people, the most deafness would become a choice. And if people then chose not to have CIs, the general public would probably not -- and probably not be morally obligated to support -- extensive federal and state aid to schools, interpreting services, etc."

Choice, what about we were born this way and that argument is based on man over nature, and no respect for diversity. Would she like to tell that to all the linguistic diverse groups that make up the world, and we essentially become a one language globe. Does she fail to appreciate that diversity in language leads to windows of new understanding, and to failure to acknowledge this, buries our heads in the sand. Why not tell all minority language users to drop their native language, and just use English. Tucker's arguments are based on the premise that money makes the world spin, and decisions are based on this.

She might have her own insecurities about her own deafness, have a desire to hear, but she she doesn't need to project her own personal crap onto the rest of us who are perfectly happy.

As she's a lawyer, perhaps she should suggest to suggest genetically modifying Black people's skin, white. That way they would not experience discrimination, or any other inaccess. In turn, society would not have to pay for nor accommodate diversity. People choosing to stay Black, or how they were born, then the state would not be obliged to have in place race discrimination legislation, modes of redress nor enforce this.

That is essentially what she is saying, and its downright offensive. I do not wish to have a hole drilled into the side of my head, nor pretend / learn to be a hearing person, at the whim of some unsound academic argument.

April 10, 2006

A quick question for Deafies

Sorry it's so blurry! Was asking why so few Deafies blog in BSL (vlog).

TIP: Press 'play' and then 'pause' straight away so that the video loads. When it's loaded press 'play' again.

March 2, 2006

Online TV Recorder

There is such a thing as an Online TV Recorder.

Who wants to find out if it is possible to record subtitles, and probably report back there's none?

Update: Democracy - Internet TV Platform, whilst not serving as a recording function, serves as an internet tv platform. It does raise the same access issue.