Video: Scotch Whisky Experience begins sign language tours in Edinburgh

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The Castlehill attraction has invested more than £50,000 into digital companions suitable for ASL and BSL signers.

The Scotch Whisky Experience on the Royal Mile has held its first guided tour for a group of deaf visitors.

Head of ITV SignPost Scotland with Deborah Preston and her hearing dog. Pic: Ian Georgeson Photography

Head of ITV SignPost Scotland with Deborah Preston and her hearing dog. Pic: Ian Georgeson Photography

For the first time in Edinburgh, visitors can wander round the attraction with a multimedia guide pre-loaded with British or American sign language (BSL or ASL) videos to enhance their visual experience.

Each touchscreen device isn’t much larger than your smartphone and can be activated to play relevant videos as guests walk into a new room, or by a tour guide.

Around 80% of visitors at the Scotch Whisky Experience are international tourists, so in addition to ASL and BSL videos, the multimedia companions can now translate the tour into 20 languages.

Deborah Preston and Alison McDonald were two in the first group to be experience the improved access facilities.

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Looking at her digital companion, Deborah said: ”It’s been really useful for access here so deaf people can come and they don’t need to book an interpreter.

“We can just use this device here and it’s got both subtitles and sign language. It’s really useful if deaf people want to come.”

Alison praised the device for giving her the ability to see and understand the exhibits in a whole new light.

Eyeing up the shelves, she said: “There’s history here - all these old dates on these bottles.

“I mean, look around - there’s so many here that we can see - thousands and thousands of pounds worth.”

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Lenka Whyles, Head of Operations at The Scotch Whisky Experience, said: “Investing in American and British Sign Language to enhance our suite of languages shows both our commitment to accessibility and our wish for all our visitors to enjoy a 5-star experience in their own language.

“We are really excited that this project is ready to go live and very much look forward to welcoming our first BSL and ASL customers.”