Around 430 million people, that’s over 5% of the world’s population, live with some form of hearing loss and disability. Sign language is an effective way for the hearing and deaf community to interact. It enhances inclusion, appreciation. and global communication. Learning to sign is also likely to open up a global career for translators, linguists. and interpreters. In this blog, we will help you learn about sign language and the different sign language courses you can take to communicate in a unique manner.
This Blog Includes:
- International Sign Language Day
- What is Sign Language?
- List of Sign Languages
- Top World Schools Offering Sign Language Courses
- Top Indian Schools Offering Sign Language Courses
- Best Courses to Learn Sign Languages
- Online Sign Language Courses
- Fees and Duration
- Benefits of Learning to Sign
- Challenges Associated with Learning to Sign
- Job Profiles and Average Salaries
Here’s a blog to know How to Build a Career in Foreign Language!
International Sign Language Day
Did you know that the World Federation of the Deaf estimates that there are around 72 million deaf persons worldwide? More than 80% of them are from underdeveloped nations, and they utilise more than 300 different sign languages. Thus, the International Day of Sign Languages is a unique opportunity to promote and safeguard the lingual uniqueness and cultural variety of all deaf people and other sign language users.
The United Nations General Assembly declared September 23rd as International Day of Sign Languages in order to promote awareness of the relevance of sign language in the full realisation of deaf people’s human rights. The World Federation of the Deaf has declared “We Sign For Human Rights” as the theme for 2021, underlining how each of us – deaf and hearing people all around the world – should work together to promote the acknowledgement of the right to use sign languages in all aspects of life.
The date of September 23rd was chosen to commemorate the founding of the WFD in 1951. This day celebrates the establishment of an advocacy organisation with one of its primary aims being the preservation of sign languages and deaf culture as prerequisites to the implementation of deaf people’s human rights. The inaugural International Day of Sign Languages was observed in 2018, as part of the International Week of the Deaf. The International Week of the Deaf began in September 1958 and has since grown into a global movement of deaf solidarity and concerted lobbying to raise awareness of the difficulties that deaf people confront on a daily basis.
What is Sign Language?
Sign languages are a way to convey messages with visual and manual gestures. These sign languages not only help deaf and hard of hearing people but also serves as a medium of communication for the people who are unable to physically speak or have trouble in speaking due to some disability or condition. Sign languages also come as transport of communication for those whose family members lack the ability to speak. Sign language involves signs made with hands and other movements including facial expressions and postures of the body.
Also Read: Easy Languages to Learn for English Speakers
List of Sign Languages
Sign languages developed and shaped themselves over the years in different parts of the world. Some of these popular sign languages that the polyglot in you will love:
- American Sign Language (ASL)
- British, Australian and New Zealand Sign Language (BANZSL)
- Chinese Sign Language (CSL)
- French Sign Language (LSF)
- Japanese Sign Language (JSL) Syllabary.
- Arabic Sign Language.
- Spanish Sign Language (LSE)
- Mexican Sign Language (LSM)
- Ukrainian Sign Language
Top World Schools Offering Sign Language Courses
- Peralta Community College District
- Alamo College
- Valencia College
- Fresno City College
- University of Rochester
- University of Central Lancashire
- Goshen College
- Siena School of Liberal Arts
- Reed University
- University of Wolverhampton
- Heriot-Watt University
- Queen Margaret University
- York St John University
Top Indian Schools Offering Sign Language Courses
Indians schools that offer sign language courses that take very nominal fees and provide a certificate of completion are:
- Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre
- Delhi School of Language
- Deaf Enabled Foundation
- Langma School of languages
- The Equal Opportunity Cell, Delhi University
- International Open Academy, Jaipur
- Lead Academy
- Bright Training Centre, Chennai
Best Courses to Learn Sign Languages
The best sign language courses that you can take up which will make you proficient in the same are:
- American Deaf Culture (University of Houston) – Coursera
- American Sign Language- Udemy, Skillshare, skill success
- Sign Language Structure, learning and change – edX
- Udemy: Breakthrough BSL
- John Academy: British Sign Language (BSL) Level 1 & 2
- BSL courses: BSL Training
- Reed: British Sign Language (BSL) Level 1 & 2
- YouTube: Let’s Learn BSL
Must Read: World’s Most Difficult Languages to Learn
Online Sign Language Courses
Due to Covid -19 major universities and institutes offering sign language courses have shifted from their traditional on-campus teaching to providing online courses. These online courses can be taken from any part of the world and are much safer and cheaper than physically going to a country or even stepping out of your house in these uncertain times. Now let us look at both sign language courses offered by Indian as well as universities abroad:
- Gallaudet University
- American Sign Language University
- ASL Meredith
- Sign It!ASL
- Start Asl
- SignOn Connect
- ASL Defined
- Signed With Heart
- National Institute of Speech and Hearing
- Class Central
Fees and Duration
Usually, Indian government Institutes have nominal fees ranging from INR 5k-10k. The universities or institutes abroad offering sign language courses have fees ranging anywhere from $7000-$12000 (INR 5-8lakh).
A diploma or any course in sign language is for two years with the following eligibility requirements:
- Senior Secondary (10+2) or equivalent with
- minimum 50% marks
- Functional hands
- Fluency in at least one language
- Hearing in the normal range
Online sign languages do not have a particular or rigid duration. Every site or institute has its own duration for the course. Online courses are flexible in timings be it 90 hours a week or 6 weeks course, it depends on the per how fast he/she is able to finish the course.
Benefits of Learning to Sign
- Sign language is extremely important for the deaf community. It is their language and some form of communication with others and the hearing community.
- Learning to sign allows people to interact with millions of people and opens up a plethora of job opportunities. It’s inclusive, expressive and a unique form of communication.
- Learning signs can help in various industries like the corporate, mental health and hospitality industry. They can help children and adults with autism to interact with the rest of the world.
- Sign language experts are popularly hired by government agencies and MNCs as interpreters and can earn up to INR 20 to 40 lakhs per annum.
Challenges Associated with Learning to Sign
- It is often mentioned that learning sign language is difficult but it solely depends on what sign language a person is learning and with what passion.
- The level of difficulty depends on the age. For example, a young adult will be able to grasp the language faster than a comparatively older person.
- Another challenge occurs when you are sitting in a group and the pace of talking is fast so you may not be able to convey the messages that fast.
- Another challenge is that in spoken languages there are many slangs and dialects which are hard to translate to a deaf or disabled person.
Job Profiles and Average Salaries
Taking a sign language course is a great way to communicate and develop a fine career in the world of translation. Learning different languages can make you proficient and a potential candidate for job opportunities in various fields and in language translation. Sign languages also allow learners to work with the government, schools, universities, and private groups as interpreters and translators. Let’s look at some job profiles for sign language courses:
|Job Profile||Average Salary|
|Community Interpreters||$ 29k-$55k(21-40lakh)|
|Conference Interpreters||$ 29k-$55k(21-40lakh)|
|Educational Interpreters||$ 29k-$55k(21-40lakh)|
|Escort Interpreters||$ 29k-$55k(21-40lakh)|
|Federal Court Interpreters||$ 29k-$55k(21-40lakh)|
|Foreign Language Interpreters||$34k-$64k(25-47lakh)|
|Health or medical interpreters and translators||$ 29k-$55k(21-40lakh)|
|Healthcare interpreters and translators||$ 29k-$55k(21-40lakh)|
|Judiciary interpreters and translators||$ 29k-$55k(21-40lakh)|
|Liaison or escort intep||$ 29k-$55k(21-40lakh)|
|Literary Interpreters||$ 29k-$55k(21-40lakh)|
|Literary translators||$ 29k-$55k(21-40lakh)|
|Localization translators||$ 29k-$55k(21-40lakh)|
|Medical interpreters and translators||$ 29k-$55k(21-40lakh)|
|Mental health interpreters||$ 29k-$55k(21-40lakh)|
|Simultaneous interpreters||$ 29k-$55k((21-40lakh)|
|State court interpreters||$ 29k-$55k(21-40lakh)|
|Trilingual interpreters||$ 29k-$55k(21-40lakh)|
Must Read: Branches of Linguistics
Sign language courses are an inclusive form of communication for the deaf and hard-hearing community. These courses are also the gateway to tremendous job opportunities in the world of translation. Want to know more about this field, then connect with a Leverage Edu expert on 1800572000 for a free counselling session today!