Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Hearing Impaired?--Let Guido Point the Way

Guido, the "virtual signer" Posted by Hello

From Britain comes news that an animated "virtual signer" has been developed to help the hearing impaired navigate their way across cyberspace. As I'm fond of saying, the era of silent movies ended in 1928, so why should the Internet mostly be silent? But sounds are only of value if you can hear them or have them translated.

I don't know for sure how Guido will go about doing his job. What I do know is that I have 50 sound-enhanced PowerPoint tutorials on WebCT. If hearing-impaired students are to hear those files, they would need a live signer to interpret. Guido will work for nothing and thus make it practical to provide interpretations of sound files to hearing-impaired students. I have a feeling that unlike live signers, Guido could be on duty 24/7. According to the BBC, Guido utilizes British sign language. Maybe that's different from the American version. If it is, then Guido won't be up to the job in the U.S.

Can America come up with its own competitor to Guido? What shall we name the all-American virtual signer, if one is developed here in the colonies? With a name that sounds Italian to me, Italy could get the credit for developing Guido. That may be OK with the British, but we wouldn't want another country to get the credit for our virtual signer. We Americans have too much pride for that. According to this source, it was Thomas Gaullaudet who invented American sign language. Perfect! Let's call our virtual signer Tommy. The name is about as all-American as they come.


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