Background and educational needs of deaf and hard of hearing peopleWithin European societies and educational systems sign language and bilingualeducation were suppressed for centuries. The structure of sign languages is verydifferent from that of spoken and written languages. As a result, deaf people couldn’tdevelop their mother tongue in a rich way and written text (especially literature) is verydifficult to access for deaf and hard of hearing people.Aims and activities - how to enable access to World Literature?The S¡GN LiBRARY! project aims to facilitate access to literature for deaf people bytranslating World Literature into Sign Language. In the course of the project our partnersin Austria, Germany, Hungary and Slovenia will translate a set of literary works into therespective national sign language. An expert jury of deaf peer-group-members andEuropean literary & linguistic experts will choose the texts. Sign language poets andinterpreters from the peer group of deaf people will prepare these texts for signing andwill translate them. Their signing performance of the literary texts will be filmed. TheseSign Language Books will be available on the barrier-free Online Sign-Library(www.signlibrary.org), where users can “read” them as videos online or download themfor free. Moreover the website will offer an open-space-community for visitors to updatetheir own “releases”.Dissemination - let the public know about it!The National Libraries of Austria, Hungary and Slovenia, the Austrian Federal Ministryfor Education, Arts and Culture and the International Pen-Club – will share theirknowledge to disseminate the results of the S¡GN LiBRARY! project outside thecommunity of deaf and hard of hearing people.The Sign Library Books will be also accessible at the National Libraries supporting theproject and policy-makers and important stakeholders will be informed about apracticable, affordable and user-evaluated procedure to carry out such translations.Sponsorship and national fundraising will assist in sustainability.Impact - do it yourself!The S¡GN LiBRARY! project will develop Guidelines for the Production of SignLanguage Books of relevance to the people and communities interested in producingthem and will get hints for professional (but not expensive) production, Sign Languageperformance,recording, edition, production of video-files, etc.Our aim is to lay the foundations, that the production of Sign Language Books during theS¡GN LiBRARY! project is not a single event, but the starting point for the rapid growthof the online-library www.signlibrary.org all over Europe.
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