Sign Language Service at Paralympics Enhancing Experience for Athletes and Fans


Anchor: The Paralympics in PyeongChang are in full swing. A sign language service to assist the hearing impaired is making a world of difference to athletes and fans alike who all want to enjoy the games to the fullest.
Our Park Jong-hong has this report.

Report: More than a dozen sign language volunteers are roaming the Paralympic venues offering much-needed services to the hearing impaired.

As a sign language volunteer Lee Ki-sang says, for the hard of hearing, it can be tough to navigate through the vast sports complex.  

[Sound bite: Lee Ki-sang - Volunteer (Korean)]
"The Paralympics are not just Olympics for the disabled and the Olympics are not just for the non-disabled. Things like interpretation services and wheelchair accessible buses must also be provided during the Olympics, so that the disabled can also enjoy the event."

Having lived near a school for the deaf when he was growing up, Lee said he is proud that the Paralympics are being held in Korea. 

He said he had always dreamed of providing substantial help for the hearing impaired with the skills he has acquired.

Many visitors couldn’t be more grateful and say sign language interpreters are helping them better enjoy the Paralympics.

[Sound bite: Yoon Young-soo - Visitor (sign language)]
"Without an interpreter, it would be difficult to understand what is happening. However, with an interpreter, the message is relayed and I can enjoy the Paralympics better."

The host province of Gangwon is operating a call center for deaf and hard-of-hearing visitors to PyeongChang at 010-4418-8745 where sign-language video conversation services are provided. 

In Korea, the Korean Sign Language law went into effect in August 2016. Among a number of stipulations, it mandates that a Korean sign language service be provided during live broadcasts.

Although there is more to be done to accommodate the needs of the physically challenged, many agree the country has come a long way and constant efforts by authorities are making a huge difference to many lives.
Park Jong-hong, KBS World Radio News. 

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