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Wireless RERC Recommends ASL Translation of Emergency Messages

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May 2014 – The Wireless RERC filed comments regarding EAS Rules to Support Multilingual EAS and Emergency Information [EB Docket No. 04-296] corroborating the work of the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC) in their efforts to increase access to emergency information for people whose native language is not English, specifically noting the need for the inclusion of American Sign Language (ASL).  ASL is a distinct language used by individuals of the deaf community and is fundamentally unlike English. Many deaf people are conversant only in ASL and have difficulty understanding written English. Currently, emergency alert messages are not accessible for deaf people that rely on ASL. This signifies that potentially millions of Americans are not adequately receiving, understanding, and reacting to emergency messages. There currently is a great need to provide these accessible messages for this population in the language they understand best.

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The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies is sponsored by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under grant number 90RE5007-01-00. The opinions contained in this website are those of the Wireless RERC and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or NIDILRR.