Expecting Parents.


With each pregnancy I have experienced (and there have been five of them in total) I have people watched with great interest in the waiting rooms at two different maternity hospitals that I had been referred to, in the past. There have always been a good handful of nervous expectant couples,

Living in such a diverse community, there have also been those who cannot speak English. They just happen to be of another nationality. Myself, I just happen to be deaf. I have however, never seen a translator being provided, for any of these foreign speaking families. They always seemed and seem to be happy enough.

A while ago I noticed a post on social media, by the BBC’s ‘See Hear’ about one of their upcoming programmes, concerning a couple.

The woman is hearing whilst her partner is legally deafblind. They are expecting their first baby but they are unhappy…. The NHS is repeatedly asking the mum-to-be to interpret, for her partner, at HER appointments.

The NHS say that since SHE is the patient, they do not need to accommodate / provide an interpreter for HER partner. Which I think is fair enough, having thought back on all my pregnancies and rifling through my hospital memories. The patients have always come first, regardless of who they happen to be. The dads,, mums, siblings, families and visitors come second, once again, regardless of who they happen to be.. For they are not the patient, it is not their well being, pregnancies or bodies being treated and/or monitored and if they need(ed) support, what is stopping them from arranging their own? Especially if they are otherwise, unsatisfied.

The NHS’s primary concern and priorities, are their actual patients.

Granted, there will be times when a loved one is being operated on and their anxious partners, who may happen to be deaf or a foreign speaking national, will not be able to fully understand, what is being said to them by the professionals. Then, the care system should assist in providing an interpreter or a translator to ensure their patient gets the full care and treatment by their loved ones, as this would mean a full recovery.

Fortunately, I have no complaints at all with each and every NHS experience I have encountered, despite being profoundly deaf myself.

I am more conscious of seriously ill premature babies being born abroad, to parents who are having to pay for incubators, medicine, tests out of their own pockets and on borrowed money. The same people who are having to live hand to mouth, daily. I do not see them complaining one iota for they, do not know how to take things for granted.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)



Judge Rinder Does Sign Language

I seized the opportunity today, to compile several of the signs Judge Rinder learnt – he never ceases to entertain with his sharp wit and humour.

Judge Rinder signs

I only wish he learnt the more appropriately used sign for a “Liar” and not the other sign (suggesting cocaine).

How to sign stupid. The same way, but knocking on the head twice for two syllables of the word.

Liar is one finger as in video BUT under the bottom lip or chin, NOT nose.


~ SJ (Sara Jae)

P.S. My apologies for the doorbell in the beckground – the perfect timing was freaky to say the least!

The Ever Increasingly Elusive Subtitles

In the evenings, I do tend to enjoy watching a film in order to unwind and the other night X-Men First Class was on TV. Can you spot what and where the error is and how long the subtitles froze for seeing Charles is on the ground, writhing in pain?

Photo by SJ (watermarked)

However, in the last few months I have noticed the quality and the quantity decreasing. My family also gets frustrated when the subtitles cover the translated in-vision captions whereas before, the subtitles did not cover the in-vision captions at all but now they do… increasingly.

the mummy 2
Subtitles covering the translation
Subtitles lagging AND covering the translations still.
Subtitles lagging AND covering the translations still.

Another more common error happening now is that the subtitles often lag and freeze – the context of subsequent dialogues bear no relation to what had been captioned. Alternatively, when a programme such as the News puts up the interviewee’s name – the subtitles are non-existent as not to cover the name. Should we miss out on reading someone’s name or what is being said which could turn out to be extremely vital?

What I do know is that subtitles contribute to the standards of English today not just for those who happen to be deaf but those learning English too, as a foreign language. As for in-vision signers? They too are vital for those who prefer the visual communication method yet some would prefer it if they used Signed Supported English (SSE) because the structure of BSL (British Sign Language) is rather basic and does not convey in full, the context, whereas SSE would be more correct in terms of translating from spoken English in the grammatical sense.

Subtitles have not always been around and unfortunately, in some countries, broadcasters have still not been able to include their viewers on an equal basis so that should make us appreciate what subtitles our broadcasters here, can manage. There was recently a call for subtitles to be added to digital media by the CEO of Action on Hearing Loss – I felt rather perplexed by a conversation that the said article produced because surely, higher on one’s list of priorities should be online news, especially “breaking news” etc, not mindless video games?! Go figure…

Rant over. 🙂

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Update – Many thanks to Red Bee Media / Ericsson and Ofcom for taking heed 🙂