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Sign Language Interpreters To Show Lollapalooza To Deaf Fans

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A sign interpreter demonstrates how to "show" a music concert to deaf and hard-of-hearing fans. (Credit: YouTube)

A sign interpreter demonstrates how to “show” a music concert to deaf and hard-of-hearing fans. (Credit: YouTube)

(Credit: Lisa Fielding) Lisa Fielding
Lisa Fielding is a news anchor and reporter for Newsradio 780....
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CHICAGO (CBS) – What does music look like to those who cannot hear it?

WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding reports so-called “performance interpreters” from Austin-based LotuSign will be on hand at Lollapalooza this weekend to help the deaf and hard-of-hearing experience the many concerts going on over the next three days.

“So many people, through technology and other ways, have access to music in their daily lives; and this just provides the access in the live experience between fans and the bands that they love,” said executive director Barbie Parker.

She is one of seven live music sign language interpreters who will be perched next to the stages. She brings the music and the emotion to those who can’t hear it.

“Lollapalooza has an access program that is set up in front of the stage. The platform for the performer is just to the side. They can see the interpreter and get the feel of the music from the speakers and have the visual access too,” Parker said.

LotuSign specializes in live music. She said it’s something that the deaf community requested repeatedly at various events.

“We became specialized in live music, because the deaf community requested our services routinely, at events that they were attending,” she said. “We wanted to make sure that the fans who are deaf and hard-of-hearing had the same experience as everyone else.”

Parker said interpreters do their homework about their artists so they can bring the audience the complete experience. She has translated shows by Kanye West, Coldplay, Green Day, and others.

LotuSign provides sign language interpretation at music festivals across the country.

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