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Why This is Important
ASL interpretation is accessible to Deaf and Hard of hearing people who understand ASL.
Blind and visually impaired people use screen readers to interact with websites and apps. A screen reader is a type of assistive tech that converts things on screen to audio and/or braille. It's important that things are understandable and interactive to screen readers.
Keyboard accessibility is essential for people who do not use a computer mouse (which might be because they have unpredictable or very specific movement due to a motor disability). Many Blind and visually impaired people also use keyboard interactions in order to use their screen reader.
Error support is accessible to people with a diversity of disabilities. A cognitive disability might affect how a person perceives and understands things. A physical disability might lead to unpredictable movement. Other factors such as environment, stress, and multi-tasking may also lead to errors.
In order to be accessible, gestures and interactions must account for people with physical and motor disabilities, who might have unpredictable or very specific movement.
Because ASL can provide emotion and intonation, it often creates a richer experience than text captions alone.
However, it's worth noting that there are various dialects of ASL, that ASL education is not widely available, and not all Deaf/HoH people are fluent in it. The nuances of Deaf culture should be taken into account when implementing this.
This references WCAG criterion 1.2.6 Sign Language (Prerecorded) (Level AAA)
Level AAA compliance is considered more difficult to meet because it requires more resources to fulfill. It also might encompass conflicting access needs (meaning what is accessible to some might be inaccessible to others). Use your best judgment of your target audience and your team's capabilities to determine if this is a pragmatic goal to reach.
How to Implement This
Adding ASL interpretation to a video usually involves embedding a second video stream, either a split screen or (more typically) a smaller video overlay in the corner.
ASL video production
There are various services that offer adding ASL interpretation to videos. Here are some examples:
- ASL Video Production - Sign Language On Any Video! | ACA Video Remote Interpreting
- ASL Video Production | Sign Language Video Embed | Video Overlays
- CODA Brothers Edit Access - CODA Brothers
- ASL Video Production Services - Access Simplified
Since this is a visual language, it's important that the video quality is clear and background is not distracting. Here are tips for recording and live streaming video with ASL:
- Sign Language video production and live streaming tech tips - no diva. no drama. just vo.
- Enabling for American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreters
- Producing sign language videos
This guide explains how to overlay video using HTML5: Adding Sign Language to HTML5 video
Hire ASL interpreters
ASL interpretation is a highly involved skill that requires proper compensation (make sure to pay your interpreters and give them the resources and rest they need!) Here are a few directories where you can find and hire interpreters.
- Certified American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreters | Languagers
- Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf
- Interpretation and Translation Servcies - Language People, Inc. - American Sign Language
- Sorenson Community Interpreting Services - SCIS
Some ASL interpreter FAQ's and things to keep in mind:
- Frequently Asked Questions for Hiring an Interpreter
- Hiring Sign Language Interpreters
- ADA Quick Tips - Sign Language Interpreters
Note: Small businesses can get tax credits for the expense of an interpreter. A small business is one with 30 or fewer employees OR with $1 million or less in gross receipts for the preceding tax year.
Interesting further reading
- How To Sign In BASL (Black American Sign Language) | Strong Black Lead
- What is Black American Sign Language?
Content about Deaf experiences
How to Test This
If there is video with audio content that requires interpretation, check for the presence ASL interpretation. Consult an ASL expert for accuracy.
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