Sign language video support for the electoral participation of people with hearing disabilities
- The Sign Language Video Interpretation Service of SERVEL
- SERVEL - Electoral Service of Chile
- Country of Implementation
- Latin America & Caribbean
- South America
- Start Year
- First published
“The sign language interpretation service on our website has a great impact on the deaf community.” Ricardo Downey, Head, Citizen Attention Unit, SERVEL
The National Electoral Service (SERVEL) is a public entity in Chile in charge of electoral and voting processes. In 2021, SERVEL introduced a permanent video-interpretation service in Chilean sign language on its website to support the electoral participation of persons with hearing disabilities. It provides guidance on electoral related issues, as well as real-time information during elections, through especially trained sign language interpreters. In 2021, 340 people used the service.
Often persons with disabilities are unable to participate in elections due to a lack of voter information and accessible voting methods.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
On the occasion of the Chilean presidential elections in 2021, SERVEL implemented a permanent video-based service providing online Chilean sign language interpretation for the deaf and persons with hearing impairments. The aim of this new digital platform, called Vi-Sor, is to provide personalized sign language support; and there is pre-recorded material such as videos explaining information about voting dates, which authorities are being elected, etc. This material has sign language translation or subtitles. For direct support services users can access SERVEL’s platform through web or mobile devices. They are then connected to a trained interpreter, who is able to answer their questions as well as to provide useful electoral information. The service is enhanced during election days with more interpreters added to the platform and voting centre staff receiving training on how best to support persons with hearing impairments during election day. In 2021 the platform supported 340 persons.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
The SERVEL platform is hosted by Red Apis, an external service company (and 2021 Zero Project Awardee), which currently operates the programme for an approximate annual cost of $10,000. For the next three years, given that several elections are fixed in the electoral calendar, the objective is to have more material available for the most vulnerable groups, such as people with disabilities and women. For non-election periods, SERVEL plans to carry out field activities in isolated places to inform citizens about specific procedures (e.g., change of electoral address) and it hopes to bring the Vi-Sor platform to these areas as well.