Technology November 22, 2021
Google Chrome Extension SignUp offers Sign Language for Disney+ Movies
The SignUp Google Chrome Extension overlays ASL interpretation on the streaming platform, Disney+, for more accessible captioning. Founded by 17-year-old Mariella Satow with lots of help from ASL teachers and the deaf community, SignUp is constantly expanding its movie library. The need for this app was felt because many young people from the Deaf community find written captions undescriptive, or even absent from media sites.
Developed in partnership with an India-based tech company, the team coded many prototypes before Mariella decided to focus on Disney+. “I’ve always been a huge Disney fan and everything on Disney+ is accessible to young children — it’s the most popular platform I could think of with solely kids movies on it,” says Mariella.
She further states, “A 2017 study showed that 80% of children who signed face challenges with reading – making written captions inaccessible. It will also be used as a learning tool for ASL students. SignUp is a fun way for kids (and adults!) to enjoy mainstream movies.”
What a welcome for SignUp!
The response to SignUp has been overwhelming since Mariella has launched it . There have been thousands of visitors to the website, hundreds of likes on social media posts and dozens of emails. Here are some of the testimonials on the SignUp website which speak how much this app means to deaf kids and their parents.
“SignUp is simply amazing. My son was born deaf and until recently, captions did nothing for him. He is only 8, so often captions are still way too fast. SignUp provides full access to movies he loves and now he loves them even more! We are so thrilled to finally have full access! This is true equality!” — Jarod Mills
“We watched ‘Moana’ Thursday night, with the SignUp interpreter on. My six year old daughter’s face was priceless. She LOVED it. She’s not reading yet, so captions don’t mean anything. It was the first time she’s had full access to a movie. Thank you, thank you!” — Karli H.
“This is an incredible resource! Thank you so much for the time and talent this took to develop. My son, who has non-speaking autism, is taking a high school ASL class and we are always looking at ways to see ASL in action.” — Sabrina L
Some of the videos currently available with ASL captions on Disney+ are Moana, Zootopia, The Incredibles, Frozen, The Toy Story, Luca etc. Mariella has been sustaining SignUp as a free app with her dog-walking money. However, SignUp is growing at a rapid rate and Mariella has started the GoFuneMe for advertising, hiring more interpreters and expanding to other platforms such as Netflix and Hulu.
Watch this video to know how to use SignUp
- ASLAN, the robot arm that translates words into sign language for people who are deaf & hard of hearing
- New York is America’s first city to offer ASL Direct to people who are deaf & hard of hearing
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