I’m writing this whilst many of our Muslim colleagues and friends are celebrating Eid and have gone on holiday or have chosen to celebrate at home. Meanwhile hear in the UK we have had some interesting times with a referendum and making choices about staying or leaving the European market. The idea of choosing how to celebrate, how to vote and how to communicate feelings is not always easy for those who use AAC with symbols and is something we have been trying to help by offering a wide range of options with our symbols. We keep saying these symbols are to be used in conjunction with other symbol systems so that learnt small words such as prepositions, conjunctions remain as they always have.
Much of the discussions we’ve been having as a team in recent months has been about the decisions we need to make when prioritising the types of symbols we develop in the last few months of our project. We do not want it to stop in November and need to find a way of maintaining what we have already developed whilst creating a framework for new symbols to continuously appear.
For the ICCHP conference next week we have developed a poster that shows how we have been building a vocabulary list as well as all the symbols. We hope the criteria we have been using can be taken on by anybody who wishes to help us in the future. You’ll see that the most important things we have been thinking about when it comes to the localisation of symbols includes:
- Being aware that individuals portrayed in symbols should be suitably dressed, having options for male and female.
- Colour matters just as facial hair and hairstyles impact on the look and feel of symbols
- Care with social nuances between people and the amount of bare skin on display.
- Symbols need to have the appropriate orientation to match culture, religion and how they are seen in text – think reading/writing right to left or left to right.
- An awareness of use of different parts of speech in multilingual situations such as dual plurals, gender and use of nouns, verbs, pronouns, adverbs and adjectives etc. plus accents or diacritics for text to speech output.
- Thinking about the environment – local currency, places and not too much greenery if it’s inappropriate.
- Considerations relating to culture and religion especially the provision of special holidays, prayers, customs, local landmarks and food.
All these ideas have been condensed into the poster you see below.
At ISAAC you’ll also see a video that has been made with Mohammed talking about the way he appreciated using the Tawasol symbols and members of the team will be presenting. We will make sure the slides are available and the video goes on to YouTube after August 13th, when the conference is over.
Have a very happy holiday and hopefully we will have a chance to meet some of you at the conferences.