Who owns the Dutch Sign Language? Who makes new signs? How are signs published and accessed? And who trains the interpreters for the news? These are all questions that the Dutch Sign Center answered during our visit. The director gave a presentation about the history of the center and their current work. An engineer presented the backoffice of the online Dutch Sign Language dictionary that hosts more than 22000 signs.
Of course the delegation searched for signs like ‘Jordan’, ‘Petra’ and ‘Aqaba’. Those were all available, because one of the employees picked them up on a visit to Jordan. What they didn’t have, was the sign for His Majesty King Abdullah II. But now they do and it will be added to the dictionary soon!
Another important subject is the availability of Sign Language interpreters. The Dutch organisation ‘Tolkcontact’ mediates between Deaf and interpreters. But who pays for an interpreter and how can you call someone on the phone who doesn’t understand Sign Language? Or more important: What if a Deaf person calls the emergency center? Tolkcontact gave a presentation about their services and live demonstrations of their software. It was incredibly interesting.