Sign Languages

Sign Languages

Read in: English

First published in Multilingual Magazine, by Jeannette Stewart. If you want to translate this or other Multilingual articles, please click here.

Anyone who has seen Netflix’s spooky drama series Dark must have been struck by the character of 8 year-old Elisabeth Doppler, who communicates using sign language, a trait that makes the plot even more compelling. In fact, Dark has attracted comment for its use of auto-dubbed English from German and its disparity with the subtitling, also in English. Non-German speakers like me must wonder about the original. Leaving that issue aside, it is interesting that the creators devised a role for a child character who is mute. However, she most certainly can communicate, as we watch her sign the description of a man for a photofit portrait to a police officer investigating the abduction of her little school friend. Netflix, of course, offers its streaming service in numerous countries and is a leading developer of multilingual technology. But a question that has grabbed my curiosity is, how does sign language fit in with the rest of the language community? A definitive answer is somewhat elusive, but given that mushrooming localization is enabling our devices on a global scale, how do we help facilitate services for those who use non-verbal communication?

Signing & Language Community