News ‘with’ or ‘in’ sign language? Case study on the comprehensibility of sign language in news broadcasts

Autor/a: ALEXANDER, Dhoest; RIJCKAERT, Jorn
Año: 2021
Editorial: Perspectives, Studies in Translation Theory and Practice (2021)
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Traducción e Interpretación, Medios de comunicación y acceso a la información


This paper explores the issue of comprehensibility in TV news with sign language. It starts by discussing academic research showing that Deaf viewers often struggle to understand the simultaneous interpretation of newscasts in sign language. Based on this literature review, we investigate the Flemish case, where public broadcaster VRT offers the evening news with Flemish Sign Language (VGT) by a hearing interpreter, in three empirical research stages. First, we conducted 20 interviews with Deaf viewers who confirmed that comprehension is a key problem, for reasons mostly related to the signing of the interpreters. Second, we analyzed three international alternative approaches, focusing particularly on the use of Deaf interpreters and presenters. Third, based on the interviews and the international examples, we developed an alternative, summarized format and produced a test broadcast, which was shown to and discussed with the same 20 interviewees. Overall, they preferred the summarized format and understood the newscast tailored to their language and information needs much better, among other things because of the Deaf presenter who they thought was more fluent in sign language. Fundamentally, they also identified more strongly with the Deaf news anchor presenting TV news in sign language.