Today is not a day like the others for me. It’s 8 am on a Tuesday in mid-September and I’m heading to our studio located in the heart of Milton Keynes. Our British Sign Language Interpreter and Lip Speaking experts are already here; ready to start the translation of some educational material. The script covers everything from letters, numbers, domestic animals, activities, foods, drinks and other everyday items found around the school and home… It’s a lot of work to get through but we are all very motivated and passionate about the project and can’t wait to start!
Why? I mean, don’t get me wrong translating animals, drinks and food are great but most important these videos are destined to school and pre-school children with hearing and learning difficulties. Thanks to these videos, they will be able to learn new words, concepts and things from everyday life. This might seem like a small contribution but it means a lot to me, being able to contribute to their wellbeing and their development is an essential reward.
Behind the Scenes
First, back to the basics. For those who don’t know what a BSL Interpreter and a Lip Speaking experts do, I will try my best to explain. The role of the Interpreter is to interpret each word, then spell the individual letters of the word using Finger Spelling. The Lip Speaking expert has to speak in a way where the words are almost over-pronounced, allowing individuals with hearing difficulties to read the lips of the person on screen. Everybody following? Great.
The second step, we translated the list of words from the Polish source into English which created its own challenges. For example, the Polish ‘śmieje się’ means ‘to laugh’, whereas clearly ‘laughing’ is the best tense to use in this instance. All terms are checked for context and then presented to our client before we start filming. After finalising a number of points with our client such as film format, compression rate, screen ratios, we fire up the cameras!
It’s 7 pm on Friday, the team is great and everything has been done in time. I just need to grab one of these bubble envelopes and send the tapes to our client. I really enjoyed working with these great professionals, getting involved in the video-making process and being part of a real human project such as providing translations for children with hearing and learning difficulties here in the UK. Undeniably, this day has not been like the others.
Few days later, I received an email from our client. They are very happy about what we produced and we are definitely looking forward to working with them again in the near future.