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Re: ALT tools (was: Censorship by laziness)

From: HowRose <HowRose@aol.com>
Date: Fri, 23 Jan 1998 16:28:55 EST
Message-ID: <86bb3667.34c90b99@aol.com>
To: asgilman@access.digex.net, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
In a message dated 98-01-23 16:08:29 EST, asgilman@access.digex.net writes:

<< The experience I have heard from a linguist is that the most
 effective approach is not to try to clean up the output to be
 fluent in the target language.  People are very flexible and
 tolerant of technical errors.  The reader can read through that.
 The first brute force word for word transliteration removes the
 bulk of the mystery.  Polishing after that is past the knee in
 the curve. >>

That may be true of people in general, however, many deaf people use a form of
sign language (e.g., American Sign Language) as their first language and
therefore are often not fluent with a written language even though the person
may have lived their whole life in a country speaking that language.  For
example, there are many deaf people who have lived in the U.S.A. all their
lives and nevertheless do not have a fluent grasp of the English Language but
rather utilize ASL as their native language. 

For these individuals, reading some written language without technical errors
is a challenge, and therefore reading a translation with technical errors
would likely be insurmountable in terms of comprehension.

I state this not to throw a monkey wrench in your efforts to improve
accessibility but to make you all aware that there is a significant population
of deaf people who have difficulty reading error-free written language let
alone technically deficient written translations.  Of course, I want to
clarify that there are just as many deaf people who will be able to gain
sufficient understanding of the message from poor translations, and that no
one should have a stereotypical image of the average deaf cyberspace surfer. 

Just my two cents,
Howard A. Rosenblum
Attorney, Monahan & Cohen (Chicago, IL)
Representative for National Association of the Deaf, 
               Committee on Computing Technology Access

The above statements are the opinion of the writer alone and are not intended
to be given as legal advice nor representative of the opinions of the law firm
of Monahan & Cohen.  The statements are given in representation of the general
interests of deaf consumers on behalf of the N.A.D.
Received on Friday, 23 January 1998 16:29:29 UTC

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