Crucial to providing education are the terms needed to understand important concepts. Many of these terms do not exist in BSL, and simple English translations only confuse meaning. As an example consider the word ‘artery’. In BSL the closet interpreters or BSL-users get to this term is ‘art’, and thus it has a completely different meaning. Finger-spelling does not help make the concept any clearer either as most Deaf people lack basic health literacy, and have little conceptual recognition of what an artery is or how it works.
Signs that are used by medical professionals are mostly not developed with community involvement. For example ‘oxygen’ will be signed by placing a cupped hand over the mouth, indicating supported breathing, however, this is not conceptually connected to how oxygen is used internally within the body, or other contexts
Visual BSL descriptions of health terminology can generate accessibility and knowledge. Our BSL glossary does exactly this. Developed under The Information Standard guidelines and in partnership with the community we develop BSL signs that are not translations, but are native signs built linguistically and conceptually using the foundations of good health literacy and the Deaf community involvement.