The Scotch Whisky Experience adds sign languages to its tours

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In a pivotal move to enhance accessibility, here at the Scotch Whisky Experience we have invested over £50,000 into multi-functional audio guides which feature interpreters conducting tours in both British Sign Language (BSL) and American Sign Language (ASL).

As 80% of visitors to The Scotch Whisky Experience come from overseas, subtitled tours in German, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch and Swedish will also be launching, allowing deaf visitors from these countries to enjoy the tour in their own language.

The addition of the new BSL and ASL devices means that we now offer whisky tours in a total of 20 languages here at the Scotch Whisky Experience.

Lenka Whyles, Head of Operations at The Scotch Whisky Experience, said: “Investing in American and British Sign Language to enhance our suite of languages shows both our commitment to accessibility and our wish for all our visitors to enjoy a 5-star experience in their own language.

“Careful consideration has been given to the background colour of the screen on the new devices, as well as the clothes of the interpreters to make them as user-friendly as possible and we also flew one of the American signers over from the USA.

“We are really excited that this project is ready to go live and very much look forward to welcoming our first BSL and ASL customers.”

The BSL and ASL tours at the Scotch Whisky Experience are officially launching from Tuesday 23rd January.

In 2017, the visitor attraction continued its commitment to accessibility and made upgrades to allow increased flexibility for wheelchair users, enabling them to experience the new audio-visual tour elements in full. A wheelchair was also purchased for visitors to use on a free of charge basis.

The full list of languages offered at The Scotch Whisky Experience is as follows: British Sign Language, American Sign Language, Gaelic, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Japanese, Czech, Russian, Mandarin, Hindi, Hungarian, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese and Cantonese.

American signers’ biographies:

Peter Cook is an internally-known deaf storyteller and poet and a Wine and Spirit Education Trust certified scholar specialising in wine and spirits, so he was the perfect fit for this project. The second American signer, Robert G. Lee has been an ASL and English interpreter for 30 years. Currently living in England, Robert also teaches, researches and publishes on various aspects of interpreting.

British signers’ biographies:

British signers Joseph Sheridan and Alex Duiguid are very experienced interpreters. Scottish-born Joseph Sheridan is Head of SignPost Scotland and is responsible for managing ITV’s on-screen sign language services in Scotland. Alex Duiguid is an expert and native user of British Sign Language and is a regular presenter of ITV’s signed programming including Emmerdale and Coronation Street.

The Scotch Whisky Experience’s Access Guide can be found here:  

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