Home Deaf Stuff Equality in the public

Equality in the public

by Sherrie

Deaf people have a right to equality while out and about in the public, right?

Last night was a good example.

Equality at the cinemas is one. I used Captiview for the first time ever while watching Hunger Games: Catching Fire. It took me a good 30-40 minutes into the movie to adjust it and for myself to get used to it.



I think it’s great that we’re still achieving equal access to movies, but I personally would prefer to have open captions make a comeback in the cinemas. Since the introduction of Captiview, less Deaf people have been going to the cinemas in large groups. Cinemas are allocated at least 4-6 units, and that’s not enough.

Imagine a group of Deaf people trying to share a couple of units. That’d be extremely uncomfortable.

I’m not too keen on becoming a regular user of Captiview – maybe once in a while will suffice. I felt rather awkward carrying the device all over the cinemas, then placing it in the drink holder in my seat.

There’s a few Deaf Cinema clubs popping up in Australia – Melbourne and Brisbane. Not too sure about other states, but Sydney will hopefully get one soon, which means we’ll see open captioned sessions making a comeback!

Now onto the second equality issue from last night…

As I got home, I was made aware of the bogus sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service. It was all over Facebook and my friends were saying how they could not understand him and that he was not making any linguistic sense at all. Charlie Swinbourne of The Limping Chicken wrote an excellent article about the said bogus interpreter.

The article has a YouTube video showcasing the “interpreter” signing away at the memorial. I had a look, and WOW. I could NOT understand him at all. He was repeating signs. No linguistic sense was made.

Nelson Mandela fought for freedom and equality…and the latter was mocked at his memorial service by having a bogus sign language interpreter on stage. I’m sure Mandela would be rolling over in his grave.

A significant quote by the great man himself:

I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.

Lucky for us, a TV station in South Africa had a qualified SASL interpreter broadcasted in a frame for the memorial service, and Deaf people rejoiced that. Apparently the bogus interpreter was taken off stage after a number of Deaf people made a lot of noise on social media.

The moral of this:

Make sure you are treated equally in the public – be it cinemas, access to information in sign language AND having the right to use accredited sign language interpreters. Most importantly, when booking an interpreter, you should check if they are accredited by a national interpreters/translators accreditation agency such as NAATI. Make sure they have relevant qualifications in your sign language – Auslan, BSL, SASL, NZSL, ASL and/or any other sign language you use.

Yours in equality,


You may also like

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.