Video Fix: How sign language innovators are bringing music to the deaf community

April 12, 2017 3:02 pm

Sign language interpreters are taking music to the next level by providing detailed interpreting of rhythm, melody and harmony in live concerts!

VideoFix How sign language innovators 1

This week’s Video Fix is a tribute to those reinventing themselves to make this a better and a more musical world. Amber Galloway Gallego is an (American) Sign Language interpreter who has decided to go beyond the traditional hearing concept of music and explore other ways of conveying all those messages hidden behind the staves. In this video, Gallego addresses what are the challenges of interpreting live music and the reasons that have led her to interpret for bands such as Adele, The Red Hot Chilli Pepers or Drake. This ASL interpreter claims that the deaf community was being somehow denied the opportunity to experience the energy of live concerts when not being provided with adequate interpreting and she encourages sign language interpreters to let go with the flow. Gallego explains that when faced with some kind of melody, most interpreters simply sign the word “music” (making no difference between a solemn anthem or an electric guitar solo) or only stick to interpreting the lyrics, preventing users to actually access the nuances and energy expressed in music.

She has taken advantage of the rich resources present in sign language, such as gestures and facial expressions, to improve her interpreting and deliver a better musical message. She even dares to interpret challenging songs, such as Eminem’s “The Monster”. However, she is not the only interpreter working on stage and other colleagues have already been working in concerts moved by the same goal: achieve equality through sign language interpreting! We invite you to watch/listen/read this video and learn more about this new ground-breaking sign language experience!

Written by Doris Fernandes del Pozo – Journalist, Translator-Interpreter and Communication Trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament. She is pursuing a PhD as part of the Communication and Contemporary Information Programme of the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain).


  • ASL Sign Language Dictionary (2017) Music. Available at: (Accessed 11th April, 2017)
  • British Sign Language Dictionary (2017) Music. Available at: (Accessed 11th April, 2017)
  • Caswell, Estela (ed.) (2017) “How sign language innovators are bringing music to the deaf”, Vox. Available at: (Accessed 11th April, 2017)
  • Jepsen, Katherine (2013) “For Deaf and Hard of Hearing, the Joy of Live Music”, The New York Times. Available at: (Accessed 11th April, 2017)
  • Open Culture (2017) “How Ingenious Sign Language Interpreters Are Bringing Music to Life for the Deaf: Visualizing the Sound of Rhythm, Harmony & Melody”, Open Culture. Available at: (Accessed 11th April, 2017)


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