The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down, for better and for worse. On the positive side, we have seen a marked improvement in the availability of press briefings and public broadcasts in Quebec Sign Language (Langue des signes québécoise, LSQ) thanks to Deaf and French-LSQ interpreters. Information available in LSQ for the Deaf and hard of hearing population also includes content adapted for Deaf and hard of hearing children and teenagers!
If there’s one project that will be remembered for years to come, it’s Télé-Québec en classe, one of the greatest achievements by the Deaf community, for the Deaf community. This unique project came to be thanks to the dedication of Ms. Pascale Castonguay, responsible for affairs related to students with intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorder or deafness at the Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignment Supérieur (MEES), and the support of Ms. Chantal Turcotte, a teacher at Lucien-Pagé Secondary School.
The introduction of the Télé-Québec en classe project was made possible thanks to the financial contributions of the MEES and the Office des personnes handicapées du Québec (OPHQ). CB Linguistic Services (CBLS), headed by Ms. Cynthia Benoit, was tasked with translating three programs from French to LSQ: Les Moments doux avec Passe-Partout, L’école à la maison and Les suppléants, for a total of 150 episodes. Needless to say, this was a huge challenge that we all enjoyed taking on.
This project was undeniably the first of its size in Quebec for Deaf and hard of hearing children and teenagers, and for anyone interested in LSQ. These programs interpreted in LSQ enable all Deaf and hard of hearing people in the province to have access to educational content while contributing to the promotion and preservation of Quebec’s cultural heritage!
Together, CBLS, TraduSigne and Cinéall worked tirelessly to complete this major project. Despite the fact that certain people left when the project was just beginning, it is important to recognize the determination shown by everyone involved. Some people even took on many roles.
The solid team of French-LSQ translators without whom it would have been impossible to make these videos accessible in LSQ:
The Deaf signers you enjoyed watching on-screen:
The LSQ directors who oversaw the quality of the translations:
The technicians without whom the videos could not have been finalized:
The one and only editor who handled the entire video editing process:
with the support of
The eagle-eyed quality assurance team:
And finally, we would like to wholeheartedly thank Marc Laflamme and Patrick Lazure, who oversaw health safety and social distancing for everyone, from the logistics of filming with a reduced team to the setting up of a second studio and scrupulous disinfecting.
This incredible project was entirely coordinated by Audrey Beauchamp, Charline Savard and Martin Boucher.
As mentioned above, thanks to the increased on-screen presence of interpreters and translators since the start of the pandemic, sign languages have never been so visible and omnipresent in the media worldwide. The population of Quebec has been able to become more familiar with our beautiful language, LSQ, and numerous articles, news reports and videos have been published or aired. We hope that this sudden visibility has managed to raise awareness and perhaps even allowed people to develop an interest in the subject! The LSQ interpretation of three Télé-Québec en classe programs is a first step in better understanding sign languages and their importance for Deaf and hard of hearing children, and, in turn, in creating a more inclusive society for everyone. Who knows—maybe in the near future we’ll see programs in LSQ or ASL with Deaf or hard of hearing actors