Saudi Arabia


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Basic information of the country/area
Name of the country/area Saudi Arabia
Formal name of the country/area Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Country/area information The World Factbook (CIA)
Wikipedia (English)


Indigenous signs for "Saudi Arabia"

Illustrations in the literature

"Saudi Arabia" (In: Japanese Federation of the Deaf ed. Supervisor: Hedberg, Tomas. 2003. Country name-signs. Helsinki, Finland: World Federation of the Deaf. 85.)

Spoken languages


Sign languages

Saudi Arabian Sign Language

Population of Deaf/deaf people

Saudi Association for Hearing Impaired's official or approximate number of Deaf people: 100,000. (WFD. 2008. Global Survey Report. : See Bibliography below.)

Legal status of sign languages

  • Status of the National Sign Language(s) from WFD. 2008. Global Survey Report. (See Bibliography below).

1. The government recognises the country's sign language(s) in : the Guideline.

2. The year when the country’s government formally recognises the country’s sign language(s): Unknown.

3. Deaf Association/Deaf Group lobbies the government for the recognition of the country’s sign language(s)

Organizations and associations of the Deaf/deaf

Saudi Arabia Association for the Deaf

Saudi Association for Hearing Impaired; established in 2000. (WFD. 2008. Global Survey Report. : See Bibliography below.)

Deaf Group of Saudi Arabia (Facebook)

Institutes, associations and universities for sign language studies

Education for the deaf

  • Access to Education from WFD. 2008. Global Survey Report. (See Bibliography below).

1.The government recognizes that Deaf children and Deaf students have the right to receive an education.

2.Legislation or policies on Deaf Education:

1. Regulation Principles for Deaf schools and Special programmes for the Deaf in mainstream schools – Department of Special Education – Ministry of Education:
2. Disability Code:
3. Ministry of Education's Strategic Plan:

3.The government provides those educational settings for Deaf children and Deaf students:

Kindergarten (Between 3/4 years old to 5/6 years old)
Primary (From 5/6 years old to 11/12 years old)
Intermediate (From 11/12 years old to 13/14 years old)
Secondary (From 15/16 years old to 17/18 years old)
University (After 18 years old)
Vocational Education/Training

4.The government provides bilingual education using the country’s sign language(s) for Deaf children and Deaf students in those educational settings:


5.Total number of schools specifically for Deaf children and Deaf students in the country, and the educational approach for communicating with Deaf children and students at the Deaf School:

20 Deaf Schools
Oral Method
Oral and Sign Language (Total Communication)

6.Deaf people’s access to a University education and sign language interpreting services at University:

The Saudi government issued a decree to allow Deaf students to enrol in any College or University, but currently there are only three or four Universities and Colleges that accept the Deaf.
No sign language interpreting service.

Sign language interpretation

  • Status of Sign Language Interpreting Services from WFD. 2008. Global Survey Report. (See Bibliography below).

1.The number of sign language interpreters in the country:

Around 30 interpreters, but not all of them are fluent signers as they didn't get professional training in Saudi Sign Language

2. Sign language interpreting qualifications.


3.The provider of the sign language interpreting services:

National Association of the Deaf
Others: Deaf clubs; Cultural Centre for Deaf Women; Contact to interpreters through their cell phones

4.The area of life sign language interpreting services are available:

Health/Medical Services
Employment Services
Court Services
Educational Services

5.The payment for interpreting services, and those who are responsible for paying:

Sign language interpreters receive payment for interpreting services
Government pays
National Association of the Deaf/Deaf Group pays
Others: If the interpreter is hired by the Prince Salman Centre for Disability Research (PSCDR), PSCDR is responsible for paying the interpreter.
Any institution, whether it is private or governmental, is responsible for paying for the sign language interpreter if they are the ones who hire him/her.

6.The average hourly rate of payment for sign language interpreters:

If the interpreter is hired for a limited time he/she gets About 250–300 Saudi Riyals per hour (48.22€ - 57.87€ on 15th September 2008).
If the interpreter is hired for a big event and a full day programme, he/she gets about 1000–2000 Saudi Riyals per day (192.89€ - 385.78€ on 15th September 2008)."

11.Sign language interpreters sometimes provide voluntary service for all sign language interpreting assignments.

7.National Association of Sign Language Interpreters:


8.National Code of Ethics for sign language interpreters:


9.Legislation or policy in the country which states that the government has a responsibility for the provision of sign language :


Deaf communities and cultures

Religious activities by the Deaf

Famous Deaf persons and hearing persons concerned with sign languages

Sign language dictionaries

The country has a sign language dictionary (WFD. 2008. Global Survey Report. (See Bibliography below)).


Basonbul and Kyle. 2015. Sign Bilingual Innovation in a Saudi Girls Deaf School. Poster presentation at 2nd International Conference on Sign Language Acquisition, 1-3 July 2015, Amsterdam.

Kozak, L. Viola and Tomita Nozomi. 2012. A Field Method Course of Saudi Arabian Sign Language (Abstract). Presentation at International Symposium on Signed and Spoken Linguistics (1) ‘Description, Documentation and Conservation’ (Saturday, July 28, 2012-Sunday, July 29, 2012) National Museum of Ethnology. Osaka, Japan.

World Federation of the Deaf and Swedish National Association of the Deaf. 2008. Global Survey Report. WFD Regional Secretariat for Arab Region (WFD RSAR). Global Education Pre-Planning Project on the Human Rights of Deaf People. World Federation of the Deaf. Finland.

Brelje, H. William. ed. 1999. Global Perspectives on the Education of the Deaf in Selected Countries. Hillsboro, Oregon: Butte. (Includes Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia.)

Abdulla al-Muslat, Zaid. 1999. The extent and kind of educational services for the deaf in Saudi Arabia. In : H. William Brelje ed. Global perspectives on the education of the deaf in selected countries. Hillsboro, Ore. : Butte Publications. 323-342.

Sakuma, Kikuko. 1998. Situation about special education in Saudi Arabia. In: Sign Language Communication Studies (Japan Institute for Sign Language Studies, Japanese Federation of the Deaf) 28(1998.06) :68-72.

Abdulla Al-Muslat, Zaid. 1994. The history of deaf education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In: Erting, Carol J., Robert C. Johnson, Dorothy L. Smith, and Bruce D. Snider eds. The Deaf Way: Perspectives from the international conference on Deaf culture. Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet University Press. 275-292.

Abdulla Al-Muslat, Zaid and M. Salem. 1982. Education of the deaf and hard of hearing in the kingdon of Saudi Arabia. Riyadh. ( in Arabic)


History of sign language research



Deaf cultures and Sign Languages of the world: Saudi Arabia

Sign Puddle Online 1.5 : Write Sign Language Dictionaries & Literature in Any Sign Language in the World...

Hearing loss and other ear problems among schoolboys in Abha, Saudi Arabia.

Fingerspelling of Saudi Arabia Sign Language


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