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Ph TV Stations to Provide FSL Translations in News Programs

December 12, 2012

The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a consolidated bill requiring television stations to provide sign language translations in their news programs. Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño is the bill’s principal author. His co-authors are Representatives Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro City, Maximo Rodriguez of the party-list group Abante Mindanao and Raymond Palatino of Kabataan.

Casiño said the measure aims to make television more accessible to persons with hearing disabilities. He said the bill requires television stations to provide Filipino sign language insets in at least two newscast programs a day and special programs covering events of national significance.

He said TV stations would have the option to provide sign language insets in other programs such as those pertaining to cultural affairs, livelihood and those catering to children. [For the full report of Jess Diaz, click http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2012/12/10/884270/house-okays-bill-sign-language-translation]

My take on this: For those who prefer subtitles over FSL translations — especially hearing people, on the ground of neutrality — please keep in mind that the bill is meant to benefit the majority of Deaf Filipinos who prefer or recognizes FSL as their natural and national sign language. Scrolling subtitles or those that pop in / out won’t benefit the Deaf at all as primary beneficiaries of the bill  since reading texts is secondary or just an alternative to not having simultaneous sign language interpretations of the news. Besides, if one is observant enough, Ph TV news put a lot of graphic stuff or elements that at times distract, rather than help in adding up to the info that they want to relay — i.e., logos, subtitles for unintelligible sounds, name of the interviewee, multitract images, effects, etc. Let me repeat — the bill is for Deaf Filipinos. It is not meant for hearing Filipinos! Forget politics! And do not think that this bill is ‘NOT SO’ USEFUL. It may not be useful to you. But it is very, very useful and would answer one of the main needs for access information of the Deaf.

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