University of Edinburgh

Lipreading Issues

Presented in December 2005

What does a Lipspeaker do?

The Role.

A lipspeaker will (without voice) convey a spoken message to lipreaders by producing clearly the shapes, rhythm and flow of natural speech as used by the speaker. They will also use facial expression and natural gesture to aid the clarity of the message. In agreement with lipreaders, the lipspeaker may also use fingerspelling to aid clarity of the message.

In situations where the message is delivered at speeds which do not accommodate lipreading, the lipspeaker may pare down language to a lipreadable pace, keeping the meaning intended by the speaker.

Registered Lipspeakers adhere to The Ethical Code and Code of Practice for Lipspeakers as held by The Council for the Advancement of Communication with Deaf People (CACDP).

Practical Tips.

  • Please do not ask the Lipspeaker for an opinion as they must remain impartial.
  • Provide the lipspeaker with any relevant background information i.e. minutes of previous meetings, handouts, outline of material to be covered, overheads, power point slides.

This will allow the lipspeaker to anticipate likely vocabulary and decide on strategies to deal with difficult unlipreadable words/phrases.

In a Question and Answer, or group discussion situation, the lipreader need only focus on the lipspeaker, as the lipspeaker will indicate to the lipreader who is talking.

Types of Assignments undertaken by appropriately qualified lipspeakers.

Level 2 Lipspeakers.

Meetings which are organised by or for deaf or deafened people only, and where permission is given for lipspeakers to interrupt proceedings if necessary.

Informal Talks and Club Meetings.
Some 1:1 Consultations
Religious Services.
Telephone Work.
Educational Work: small group practical courses such as self defence, relaxation, first aid or in Further Education where the lipspeaker has background knowledge of the subject.

Level 3 Lipspeakers.

Open or Public Meetings.
Religious Services
Education: Lectures, tutorials and seminars in Further and Higher education.
Job Interviews.
Workplace Assignments.
Personal Consultations.
Legal Assignments.
Television Theatre and Cabaret work.
Assignments with Lipreaders needing particular support: i.e. people with Usher’s Syndrome, people with learning disabilities.
Health Service Consultations.
Social Services.
Conference Work.

Using a lipspeaker in a Classroom setting.

Things to consider.

  • Positioning. Environmental factors - light, background, noise, tutor, group work.
  • Pace. One person speaks at a time, if naturally fast speaker - pause between sentences.
  • Video. Allow lipspeaker to preview if possible, subtitles if possible.
  • Overheads/Power Point. Copy to lipspeaker in advance, lighting, pause between slides.
  • Group work. Suitable location for lipreaders group – less noise, lighting.
  • Length of session. Breaks, are 2 lipspeakers needed?, natural breaks.
  • Other Language Service Professionals. Could student benefit from a notetaker?