Sifting through some of my favorite blogs, I come across a title that seems made to measure for this blog: ‘What’s in a word? The evolution of disability language‘ by Glenda Watson Hyatt.
Glenda is a famous blogger who’s living with cerebral palsy, so she knows her subject, and she wrote this long article to show how society, culture and language are slowly evolving in their treatment of disability. I once had a very interesting discussion with the only conference interpreter I know who comes to work in a wheelchair. I was arguing that translating documents mentioning people with disabilities was very difficult, as you had to tackle two sets of the society-culture-language conundrum, usually at different evolutionary stages, but you also have to take care not to use language that can be considered offensive by the people concerned.
And since we are approaching the date celebrating the beginning of the French Revolution, I can’t help digressing: how is it that in the ‘country of human rights,’ so many places are still inaccessible to disabled people, when there are laws making it compulsory to make all public places accessible?