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Reading text for the deaf? Please don't!

When creating audio guides, the question of which solution should be offered for deaf people arises time and again. The seemingly most obvious and unfortunately often used solution is to implement the words spoken in the guide as reading text in the guide or as wall text, with the thought: “If they can’t hear the guide, then at least they can read the texts.”

No, they can’t!

In order to learn to read and write, it is necessary to transfer sounds into a writing system – and vice versa. The written word is based on spoken language. Experts therefore assume that a spoken language must be mastered as a basic language in order to learn to read and write. 

If a spoken language is not available as a basic language, one possibility would be to use sign language as the language of instruction in schools and training centres, but this hardly ever happens. International studies therefore show that around 50% of all deaf people leave school illiterate, 40% can barely read and only 10% have satisfactory reading skills.

For these reasons, written text for deaf people is “well-intentioned but badly done”. The addressees cannot do anything with a written text and still do not receive any information. The only inclusive and appreciative solution is sign language.

Hearonymus has been offering the creation of audio guides for smartphones in sign language (DGS, ÖGS, LIS, DSGS, International Sign) for years. This means that deaf visitors can also take part in art education and are not excluded. 

Incidentally, the International Day of Sign Language will take place shortly – as it does every year on 23 September. This day of action was established in 1951 by the WFD (World Federation of the Deaf).