New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) was declared an official language of New Zealand when the New Zealand Sign Language Act 2006 was passed.
There are approximately 20,000 people who can use NZSL, this figure includes both deaf people and hearing people such asparents and family members, friends and NZSL interpreters. Approximately 4,500 deaf people who use NZSL as their primary form of communication. English is not their first language.
NZSL has its own grammatical structure which enables users to communicate fully and express all thoughts and emotions. It differs from spoken languages because it is solely visual and requires motion picture to capture. NZSL is not signed English words in English-word-order, and this coupled with the fact that many deaf adult have experienced barriers to their education, means that English is like a second language for many Deaf people.
NZSL Translation provides access and participation for the Deaf Community by providing clear communications for those whose primary language is New Zealand Sign Language. Providing access to your information in NZSL means Deaf people can be better informed about your information or services.
NZSL interpreting and NZSL translation are different.
NZSL interpreters relay information in real-time and interpreting is essential for time-critical situations such as emergencies and public-speaking events. Because the information is relayed live in real-time, the NZSL interpreter needs to quickly think of the best way to present the information spoken a few seconds ago whilst also processing what the speaker is currently saying. Very occasionally information may be misinterpreted that can later be rectified by the interpreter. NZSL interpreting allows the Deaf Community to have access to live information at the same time as their hearing peers.
NZSL translation deals with “frozen text”, that is information that is written or recorded on video and is not live. . The written/recorded content is able to be more carefully analysed to consider the best ways to present the content. The NZSL translated product may include additional accessibility features such as on-screen graphics/pictures, closed-captions and voice-over. Translated information is usually presented in a studio setting allowing a comfortable pace.