American Sign Language (ASL) is the hand and arm movements used by deaf people to communicate. As a recognized language, ASL is offered in many school systems as a second language option. Despite the increased use of this language, movies and TV shows are far behind the inclusiveness curve. That might be changing. HBO has added a special feature to the newly released “Barbie” movie. HBO Max subscribers tuning into the “Barbie” movie can select the ASL option.
In a press release, Chairman and CEO of HBO and Max content, Casey Bloys, stated, “Max is the premiere destination for storytelling, so being able to share the biggest movie of the year in ASL, the first language for many, will make this story resonate in a more meaningful way.” He talks about the film’s “empowering message of inclusiveness” and that adding the ASL option is a way to build on that.
When discussing inclusiveness for the deaf, everyone mentions closed captioning, which has been the standard for many years. The difference between captioning and ASL interpretation is monumental. Closed captioning depends on the reading skill of the watcher. Words cannot convey emotion. With ASL, the interpretations are in real-time, at the speed of the dialog. The translator uses their entire body to convey emotion so the message is easier to comprehend.
Meet The “Barbie” ASL Interpreter
The amazing interpreter is Leila Hanaumi, who announced her collaboration in an Instagram post with the movie’s star, Margot Robbie. The two are signing “Hi Barbie” in the short video.
Although no stranger to the spotlight, Leila has become an internet sensation with this collaboration. HBO Max is winning new fans with the decision to include ASL. If you’d like to support this inclusion, show HBO Max that they should continue providing this option by watching the ASL version yourself or showing your support online. We hope this is only the beginning. If you enjoyed reading about this wonderful option for viewing the “Barbie” movie, please share this.
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