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Technique G54:Including a sign language interpreter in the video stream


Applies to all technologies that present synchronized media information

This technique relates to 1.2.6: Sign Language (Prerecorded) (Sufficient).


The objective of this technique is to allow users who cannot hear or read text rapidly to be able to access synchronized media material.

For those who communicate primarily in sign language it is sometimes less preferable and sometimes not possible for them to read and understand text at the rate it is presented in captions. For these latter individuals it is important to provide sign language presentation of the audio information.

One universally compatible way of doing this is to simply embed a video of the sign language interpreter in the video stream. This has the disadvantage of providing a lower resolution image that cannot be easily enlarged without enlarging the entire image.

If the video stream is too small, the sign language interpreter will be indiscernible. When creating a video stream that includes a video of a sign language interpreter, make sure there is a mechanism to play the video stream full screen in the accessibility-supported content technology. Otherwise, be sure the interpreter portion of the video is adjustable to the size it would be had the entire video stream been full screen.

Since sign language is not usually a signed version of the printed language, the author has to decide which sign language to include. Usually the sign language of the primary audience would be used. If intended for multiple audiences, multiple sign languages may be used. Refer to advisory techniques for multiple sign languages.


  • Example 1: A television station provides a sign language interpreter in the corner of or beside its on-line news video.

Other sources

No endorsement implied.

  • Guidelines for the Production of Signing Books

    • "Sign Language presentation" gives a broad overview of issues to consider when filming sign language interpreters. Includes discussion of signing both written and spoken originals.
    • Techniques for filming are discussed in chapter 12, “Filming the Signer(s)".
    • Useful information about how to display the sign language interpreter in relation to the original synchronized media content is provided in Chapter 13, "Editing"

      These techniques may need to be adapted for Web-based presentation.



  1. Have someone watch the program who can hear and is familiar with the sign language being used.
  2. Check to see if there is a sign language interpreter on screen.
  3. Check to see that dialogue and important sounds are being conveyed by the interpreter visible on screen.

Expected Results

  • #2 and #3 are true
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