Deaf writer criticises London’s Free Word Centre for only offering audio recording of sign language talk

Posted on October 31, 2016

Deaf writer Sara Novic has written an article about how disappointed she was to find that the Free Word Centre in London had only offered an audio version of a presentation on sign language literature and poetry, without offering a video version or transcript so that Deaf people could access it online.

Her article says:

[My friend] “wrote that the Free Word Centre in London had featured a presentation on sign language literature and poetry as the closing talk in its International Translation Day programming and she thought I’d be interested; however, she could only find the link to the audio recording. That can’t be right, I thought, still thrilled at the prospect that Deaf poets had been featured alongside other writers in translation. I clicked through the link and began to search.

But the talk, aptly titled “Through the Looking Glass,” was only available as an audio file—no video of the presentation, no transcript. I wrote to the Centre to point out the irony of having made a plenary on sign language completely inaccessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing people, to whom sign language and its literature belong. The Operations Coordinator responded later that day with a single line: he’d “passed on [my] comments to the events team to consider.”

The article then goes on to discuss how Deaf culture is often handled in non-Deaf hands.

The Free Word Centre has since agreed to add a transcript to their website.

Read the article here:

The Limping Chicken is the UK’s deaf blogs and news website, and is the world’s most popular deaf blog. It is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.

Please note that the views of the writers are their own, and not necessarily the views of the Editor or site as a whole. Read our disclaimer here.

Find out how to write for us by clicking here, or sign a blog for us by clicking here! Or just email

Make sure you never miss a post by finding out how to follow us, and don’t forget to check out what our supporters  provide:


Posted in: Site posts