In French-speaking areas of eastern Canada, most deaf people use Quebec Sign Language (LSQ). * Because that deaf community numbers only 6,000, there are few publications available in LSQ. However, to help people to understand the Bible, Jehovah’s Witnesses have recently intensified their efforts to make high-quality LSQ publications available free of charge.
To understand why these translation efforts are so significant, consider Marcel’s story. He was born in 1941 in the Canadian province of Quebec. Two years later he contracted meningitis and lost his hearing. “At the age of nine, I started attending a school for the deaf, and there I learned LSQ,” relates Marcel. “Although there were some books to teach basic sign language, there were no publications in sign language.”
Why is it important to produce publications in LSQ? Marcel answers: “Deaf people wish to have information in a language they can fully understand instead of struggling with a language barrier. Without LSQ publications, we have to rely on spoken languages—and we miss out on so much!”
To meet the needs of Marcel and other deaf individuals who use LSQ, Jehovah’s Witnesses released their first LSQ publication in 2005. Recently, they expanded their translation office in Montreal, Quebec. The office staff now includes seven full-time workers and more than a dozen part-time ones. Organized into three translation teams, they use two professionally equipped on-site studios to produce LSQ videos.
The LSQ community appreciates the quality of the publications that Jehovah’s Witnesses produce. Stéphan Jacques, assistant director of the Association des Sourds de l’Estrie, * says: “I find their publications to be very well made. The signs are really clear, and the facial expressions are beautiful. I also appreciate that those on the video programs are well-dressed.”
The Watchtower, a magazine used at the weekly meetings of Jehovah’s Witnesses around the world, is now available in LSQ for the 220 of Jehovah’s Witnesses and the others who attend seven LSQ congregations and groups in Quebec. * In addition, the Witnesses continue to publish a growing number of other LSQ videos online, including uplifting songs based on the Bible.
Marcel, quoted earlier, is thrilled to have more LSQ publications available. He particularly appreciates those produced by Jehovah’s Witnesses. “It is such a blessing to see the many LSQ videos on jw.org,” he says. “When I see all the content available in my own language, I am so happy!”
^ par. 2 LSQ (from its French designation Langue des signes québécoise) is a unique sign language, although it shares some characteristics with the more widely used American Sign Language.
^ par. 6 A charitable organization for the deaf in Quebec.
^ par. 7 The monthly study edition of The Watchtower in LSQ began with the January 2017 issue.