Sign language on television

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Sign language on television is the use of a signer for a television programme. The signer usually appears in the bottom corner of the screen, with the programme being broadcast full size or slightly shrunk away from that corner.

Paddy Ladd initiated deaf programming on British television in the 1980s and is credited with getting sign language on television and enabling deaf children to be educated in sign. [1]

In traditional, analogue, televisions, many programmes are repeated, often in the early hours of the morning, with the signer present rather than have them appear at the main broadcast time.[2] This is due to the distraction they cause to those not wishing to see the signer.[citation needed] Some emerging television technologies allow the viewer to turn the signer on and off in a similar manner to subtitles and closed captioning.[2]

Legal requirements covering sign language on television vary from country to country. In the United Kingdom, the Broadcasting Act 1996 addressed the requirements for blind and deaf viewers,[3] but has since been replaced by the Communications Act 2003.

On the BBC, many programmes that broadcast late at night or early in the morning are signed.

Links[edit] - a project documenting sign language television shows for the Deaf around the world


  1. ^ Prasad, Raekha (2003-03-19). "Sound and Fury". Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  2. ^ a b "Sign Language on Television". RNID. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  3. ^ "ITC Guidelines on Standards for Sign Language on Digital Terrestrial Television". Retrieved 2008-01-30.