Last May 21 we witnessed an evolution in the field of interpreting in Italian sign language (LIS) in tactile sign language (LIST). The Chamber approved article 34-ter of the Sostegni decree, according to which the LIS is officially recognized by the State ten years after the 2009 ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The purpose of the Convention is to promote sign language for the ultimate purpose of ensuring total accessibility and allow a full enjoyment of rights and freedoms by people with disabilities.
The Ente Nazionale Sordi (ENS) has enjoyed this long-awaited and fought-for progress, considering it a sign of recognition and inclusion. The project manager of ENS, Amir Zuccalà, declared how much this law (although still to be implemented with implementing decrees) means for the category of people with disabilities.
Especially in the article of the amendment, what stands out is a professional change of the lis and list interpreters: both are entitled to the recognition of the professional figure they cover in communication. Only a subsequent decree will establish the training courses for access to this kind of profession, given that so far the interpreting training in lis was mainly entrusted to private entities - with the exception of some pilot courses conducted by the University of Ca' Foscari. Paragraph 3 of article 34-ter defines a more active promotion of interpreting services in sign language, in list and subtitling, for all public administrations.
According to Istat data from 2015, in Italy there are 8.6 million citizens with hearing limitations. Sign language is the only language known and mastered by deaf people since birth, it is the only way to communicate with them.
Knowing this language can prove useful if you prefer to replace your hearing aids, which can often generate a rather annoying rumble sound effect. Among the measures requested of the Government, there are the inclusion of plant batteries and equipment prostheses that can be supplied by the Health Service and a service of high quality subtitling for television broadcasts.
We have seen how under the pandemic, the decrees announced electronically by the Prime Minister have always been translated with sign language. That small picture in the lower right translated for the deaf what has just been stated, so as to avoid that someone at home would feel excluded or disoriented. The Pope has promoted the "Nobody excluded" project according to which the general audiences and some prayers, such as the Queen of Heaven, will be translated into Italian sign language.
Sign language is universally universal?!
The sign language è una lingua a tutti gli effetti, con le sue regole grammaticali e la sua sintassi. La lingua dei segni tattile è invece stata sviluppata per le persone anche non vedenti. Entrambe relativamente complicate, hanno bisogno di years of study and of exercise. Suffice it to say that generally for words without a gestural correspondence, such as city names, we proceed with the typing, that is, with a sort of spelling, according to which a sign corresponds to each letter.
What many are wondering is whether there actually is a universal sign language, that is universally valid for all states, all continents, all nationalities. You hear about Italian Sign Language, American Sign Language (American Sign Language, ASL), English Sign Language (British Sign Language, BSL), etc. In today's world there are more than 300 sign languages, since every people and every community has its own and characteristic.
However, it is also fair to consider the international sign language (ISL, International Sign Language), rather known by the name of sign or gestured. Developed by the World Federation of the Deaf in the 1950s, it allows communication between deaf people, even of different nationalities. It is a series of purely lexical "international" signs, listed in the volume Gestuno. International Sign Language of the Deaf of 1975 published by the International Commission of Experts of the World Federation of the Deaf.
The step forward made by the Government makes it clear how much credit is given to the figures who, by mastering sign language, are able to convey messages between hearing and deaf people. The lis and list interpreters are essential, so that your event, your video, your conference does not remain inaccessible to anyone. Adding translation and subtitling services, and interpreting in lis for your event means showing great humanity and consideration to the category of deaf people.
International Congresses Press Office