Friday, 15 June 2012

Rio+20 for everyone

Story by Ms. Brianna Fruean, 14 years, Samoa

L - R Humberto Fernandes, Brianna Fruean

14 June 202, Rio de Janeiro - Accessibility is a key concern for the United Nations at the Rio+20 in Brazil this week.

For the first time, the conference proceedings will not only be translated into the official UN languages, but they will also be translated into sign language and closed captions for Deaf people.

Close captions are the audio sound that happens but is not said, for example music. People who cannot hear the music will be notified of it with a message in brackets; (music playing). The audio is transformed into text by a trained accessibility member in a booth at the back of the conference room.

This member uses a program to talk into a computer and the program turns what he or she is saying into audio. The accessibility members train all week getting the computer to use to their voices.

Humberto Fernandes from Brazil is one of a team of 28 people working on accessibility that carries out this work at Rio+20.

“I repeat simultaneously what is being said at the conference so a software program can create subtitles through my voice.”

As well as repeating what is being said, Humberto also announces what people are doing for example; “the Prime Minister has raised his hand”, for people who are blind.

“I love doing this work, I love helping people”

The Rio+20 is the first UN Conference to start this program with plans for it to be continued at other UN meetings.

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