One of the great accessibility challenges facing the Olympic and Paralympic Games is communication. Can you imagine how a blind person can converse with a deaf person who communicates predominantly through ‘Libras’ (Brazilian Sign Language)?
It’s no simple task: the blind person is unable to see the signs made by the deaf person who in turn is unable to hear what the blind person is saying. All this becomes easy with the help of an interpreter, doesn’t it? The blind person speaks to the interpreter, who translates what he says using Libras. It appears quite simple when you are dealing with a scheduled meeting with an interpreter present. But what happens when the interpreter is not there when needed by the deaf or blind individual? What do you do then?
Thanks to technology we had the opportunity to witness a dialogue between two members of staff here at the Committee: Marcos Lima, who is visually impaired, and Leandro Fonseca, who is hearing impaired. For this to take place, the services of an online Libras interpreter based in another city were used.
It’s already possible to picture the hearing impaired carrying a portable Libras interpreter around with them in their backpacks. In a not-too-distant future, this interpreter will be a fixture in our tablets and smart phones. Not only will this technology facilitate communications accessibility during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, it will also have the potential of bringing people with disabilities together and integrating them into society.
For the first time ever, Marcos and Leandro were able to enjoy a conversation. It was an emotional experience, one that will undoubtedly change the world of the hearing impaired. Check it out in the below video!