Israeli startup to make 2022 World Cup deaf-accessible

i24NEWS

3 min read
A young fan cheers for Uruguay's national soccer team before a friendly match, the last before going to the 2022 Qatar World Cup, in Montevideo, Uruguay, on June 11, 2022.
AP Photo/Matilde CampodonicoA young fan cheers for Uruguay's national soccer team before a friendly match, the last before going to the 2022 Qatar World Cup, in Montevideo, Uruguay, on June 11, 2022.

'We don’t care where you come from... We just want to help deaf people be a part of society'

Planning for the 2022 World Cup is reaching its final stages, including for people with disabilities, who are the focus of an Israeli startup that is working to make the mega-event in Qatar accessible to the deaf community.

“There are going to be thousands of deaf people coming to Qatar from all over the world,” Tomer Levy, founder and CEO of Sign Now, told i24NEWS.

“From their houses, some 50 million deaf people will watch the games,” he added.

Sign Now, an app that connects deaf and hard-of-hearing users to sign language interpreters, made its debut in 2019 when it managed the Israeli-hosted Eurovision song contest.

Levy explained that only part of the focus is on the upcoming international soccer tournament, while the other parts are on helping people in emergency situations and in everyday life.

“We allow deaf people around the world to communicate with banks, shops, and hospitals. With the war in Ukraine, we helped dozens of deaf people escape and communicate with emergency call centers.”

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Speaking to i24NEWS while an interpreter signed in Arabic from another location, Levy revealed where he plans to take the service next.

“We have a combined team of deaf and hearing, Jews and Arabs, helping especially the Arab society in Israel,” he said.

“We are starting our overseas strategy with Arab states. In 2022, we will manage accessibility in hospitals in the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, among others that I shouldn’t say.”

In a final message, Levy addressed the global deaf community: “We don’t care where you come from, we don’t care about politics. We just want to help deaf people be a part of society.”

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