Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Now With Signing For the Deaf

I've written to my MP to demand that something is done to help the deaf. Not sure if that's the right word. Is it 'deaf' or 'hard of hearing'? Or perhaps it's 'aurally impared'? I can never keep up with the latest PC terms. Not that it matters. The point I've written to my MP about has less to do with the deaf and more to do with those of us with good hearing. Now I come to think of it, it's hardly got anything to do with being deaf at all. It's really a vision problem.

I mean why are the people who provide sign language for TV programmes so ugly?

It’s hardly helped by their gurning for hours on end. Didn't their mothers warn them that it might stick like that? And can’t something now be done to help these poor people?

As the government introduce new initiatives to ensure that more of the TV output is signed, broadcasters are cramming their night time schedules with signed programes, leaving their peak hours free. It's ruining my late night TV. I’m finding that I can’t watch a program after midnight without it being spoiled by some face in an overweight blouse grimacing at me. And then they do all that pointing, holding their noses, and flapping their hands. Sometimes they stick out their tongues and make obscene shapes with their tonsils.

If you think I’m being a bit harsh, I want to emphasise that I don’t have a problem with the deaf. My problem lies with the people who do the all the signing, many of whom aren’t actually deaf. When you think about it, none of them can be deaf, otherwise how would they know what to sign? And I don’t actually understand why they have to scowl so much. The deaf can see perfectly well. Do they prefer to see facial emotions exaggerated. Aren’t they supposed to be able to see better than the rest of us?

If technology can show half a dozen courts at Wimbledon, or dozens of camera angles for football matches, why can’t it provide signing for the deaf that doesn’t spoil a film or TV programme for the majority of the viewers?


monix said...

Might I recommend a Deaf Awareness course for you? That might give you some insight into the life of a deaf person. You have the choice to record programmes broadcast during regular hours. Signed versions for the deaf are only broadcast late at night and that concession has only been made after years of campaigning.
(Retired Teacher of the Deaf and champion of all underdogs)

Big Chip Dale said...

Monix, I don't need any deaf awareness courses. I know a number of deaf people, both fully and partially deaf. My problem isn't with the deaf, it's with the patronising and somewhat cloying attitude of the rest of society who have to wear their concern on their sleeves as though it’s a merit badge defining their humanity.

Technology is such that every program on TV can be signed or have subtitles. It only takes a bit of investment by the TV stations to provide this. The need for the government to force channels into signing programmes is pure gesture politics.

As for signing, it’s annoying. What’s wrong with my saying that? It’s distracting. It’s also, to be honest, faintly amusing. It’s becoming so commonplace during night time schedules that it’s hard to watch something on BBC1 after midnight without having signing.

monix said...

Sorry, Chip, didn't mean to sound so pompous! Why isn't there investment in the technology to make optional signed versions of every programme on TV available? Because there are not enough deaf voters or viewers. However, if enough hearing people complain about the intrusive nature of the current provision, maybe someone will take action, so complain away. My experience tells me that the result will not be an improvement but a removal of the few concessions that have been made.
I'm sure your deaf friends are as annoyed as you are by the standard of some of the interpreters but there is a national shortage of qualified people. Why don't you do it on your nights off - the viewer ratings would soar if we had Signing in a Thong!

Big Chip Dale said...

That's okay, Maureen. And sorry to sound so annoyed in my reply. It's just that I hate the injustice of it myself. I see what they're doing. It's their cheap way out. They won't disturb their main viewers by showing signed programmes in the day. Nor will they have channels dedicated to deaf viewers (the obvious choice given that most satellite channels contain nothing but phone in quizzes all day and naked bimbos all night). And the government shouldn't have to rule on this. It should be channels doing it on their own initative. I keep meaning to write something about the moral choices that big businesses make. I think this is an example of where they fail.

Of course, I still find the people doing the signing terribly funny to watch. They looked quite embarassed on Sky the other night when they had to stand there and sign a nude scene in some film. And I swear the woman when white when it turned gory in Texas Chainsaw Massacre last night.

Paul said...

Chip, I think you'll agree that this clip is very amusing!

Big Chip Dale said...

Paul, so good. It was hilarious. It's such an obvious thing to do but that just makes it funnier. What I love is the fact that on News24, people never acknowledge the people doing the signing. They're just busy being professional, I guess.

Anonymous said...

As a hard-of-hearing person, I vastly prefer closed captioning. I like the asides like, 'the wind blows and the birds stop singing. . . ' or whatever. Signing is a whole other language and it doesn't include ambiant noise. It's just like a spanish voiceover or something. Not enough.

Littlebear in America

Anonymous said...

Oh, and 'Deaf' means you can't hear. Hard-of-hearing, means you have a reduced ablity to hear. There is a scale, you don't want the details, but, for example, I am 'moderately' impared. That an my spelling as well. Go figure.

Mopsa said...

Chip, you are watching too much late night telly. Get some rest.

Lizzie said...

Sorry to be a bit irreverent about the content of this post by leading you over to my place to peruse 'An Italian Tale'.

Over & out, Lizzie x