Language Accessibility

Imagine going to work daily to a place where you were the only one who spoke a different language, all day, every day!

Your first response might be that you were determined to learn that other language. But imagine that no matter what you did, no matter how hard you tried, it would be nearly impossible for you to speak their language.

Your world would become very small, isolating and lonely.

For millions of Deaf people all around the world that is their reality. No matter how skilled or educated a Deaf person becomes, without equal language accessibility their environment can be a daily struggle.

Gabe, who is Deaf and Deaf Bible Society’s Digital Media Specialist, shares his experience of past work environments where he was the only person who communicated in American sign language.  Everyday he faced communication misunderstandings and isolation. He experienced being left out of conversations and news in the workplace.

Deaf Bible Society (DBS) recognizes the need for equal language accessibility. This means their cross-cultural workers understand and respect the cultural and language differences between Deaf people and people who can hear.

In September, International Week of the Deaf is celebrated. The focus is on equal rights for all Deaf people which means having the basic human right to language.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities reports “[the] United Nations seek to protect the rights of people with disabilities all over the world. This resolution is especially important for Deaf people, because it defines the right to language – including sign language – as a basic human right.”

However, even while International Week of the Deaf is celebrated, millions of Deaf people around the world still do not have equal language accessibility; in the workplace, a place of worship or at home.

Additionally, limited language accessibility means that the majority of Deaf people do not have access to Christian resources in their heart language. In fact, “around the globe 98% of Deaf people have never been introduced to the gospel.

When we take away the right to language, we take away hope and the right to prosper.

Deaf Bible Society is working hard to change those statistics. They believe in equal rights to language accessibility, which includes providing God’s Word in every sign language in the world! Their vision is motivated by the Great Commission, “which seeks to reveal the hope of the gospel, in Jesus Christ, so that every Deaf person has the opportunity to receive, experience and share it.” DBS is committed to the task of making the gospel accessible by partnering with skilled workers around the world in order to make a difference in the lives of every Deaf person.

Every Deaf person should have the same opportunity as those who have a written Bible to know Christ as their Savior and experience the gift of hope, in their own language!