How Zoom is changing American Sign Language

Originally published at: How Zoom is changing American Sign Language | Boing Boing


Before closed captioning was common, there was sometimes a picture-in-picture sign language interpreter shown doing a simultaneous translation. (This is what the old SNL news for the hard of hearing inset was parodying back in the 1970s.) I assume that interpreters had to make some compromises back then, and it will be interesting to see what effect this will have on ASL now that video calling has become commonplace.

I have a zoom meeting tomorrow, is the finger still the same, I really need to know, I got some middle finger giving to do in that meeting?


So is the problem doing ASL on Zoom, or ASL on camera?

I have an ASL studio to support my daily broadcasts. Their camera is fixed on a wide shot and I use PiP & cropping to compensate for the three different interpreters that come in. Mind you, I’ve got a proper switcher and PiP is the only way to go.

Another entity in town has the ASL guy stand off to the side of the table and streams a very wide shot… it looks stupid. The shot composition is brutal and you can’t make out gestures properly.

It isn’t rocket science… compared to some of the stuff I’ve had to build and integrate over the past year… ASL was by far the simplest.


It sounds like you went on to answer your own question and confirm that yes, post title is correct, these issues are more specific to the zoom calls which individuals are hosting at personal desktops.

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