Sign language videos cost Rīga 3,000 euros

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From the beginning of this year Rīgans have had access to information about 20 Rīga municipal institutions and their services in sign language through 20 online video clips costing the municipality 3,000 euros, according to a Latvian Radio broadcast on January 13.

The idea to create these video clips came about after a Rīga City Council Education, Culture and Sport Department meeting with representatives of the Latvian Association of the Deaf. The clips took two months to create.

"As the information is presented in simple language it could also be used by people with developmental disorders who can't comprehend complicated text, or also foreigners who know basic Latvian," said department representative Ilona Stalidzāne.

Stalidzāne claims that this form of information could be useful to over 30,000 deaf and hard of hearing residents. As the videos contain subtitles, they could be of use for additional residents as well.

As previously reported, the Association of the Deaf said that too few services are available for the deaf, according to Latvian Radio on December 13.

Without a translator, it's not possible for deaf people to communicate readily with state and local government institutions. Latvia currently has 35 translators, but it's not nearly enough. The association has created an online interpreter service for business use, but it's currently only in a handful of pharmacies. The deaf would like to be able to communicate in this way with government institutions.

Services for the deaf and hearing impaired are practically unavailable. This segment of the population can't enjoy cultural events or communicate with the government. The 35 interpreters isn't enough for the 2000 people in need of services. The Association of the Deaf is asking municipal governments to prepare all necessary information in sign language, but there has been little response according to association President Sandra Gerenovska.

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