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The word rate has a variety of meanings and each of those meanings is signed in a different way.
If you mean rate as in: "The ASL teacher rated his students’ signing skills" you could use a sign such as:
If you mean rate as in: "I rated his presentation abilities after his in-class presentation" you could use signs such as:
IX-[he/she/that person] presentation-[LECTURE] FINISH, I MULL-OVER DECIDE POSS-[hers/his/that-person's] SKILL LEVEL.
If you mean rate as in: "The movie was rated R" you could sign it as:
"THAT MOVIE R-[slightly-shaken.]
Or if you are being emphatic you could sign: "THAT MOVIE R-[jabbed-forward.]
If you mean rate as in "annual percentage rate" you would just spell APR. The argument that the viewer won't understand what APR means could be applied to any language not just American Sign Language and Deaf people. The ability in "any" language to understand an acronym is dependent on the listener or viewer being familiar with the acronym. The sign for Annual Percentage Rate is to spell APR! If you need to "explain" what APR means you can sign:
fs-RATE (fingerspell rate).
If you need to explain what "yearly percentage rate" means you are going to get into giving a micro-lesson involving signs such as: "APR ITSELF PERCENTAGE THIS-[point-to-referent such as the loan document or an established location used to refer to the loan]. FOR BORROW THAT MONEY YOU PAY BANK INTEREST. YOU PAY INTEREST HOW-MUCH DEPEND APR. HIGHER APR MEANING YOU PAY MORE. LESS APR MEAN YOU PAY LESS. "
There are many other ways to sign "rate" depending on your intended meaning. For example you might be referring to a rate of flow and need to use a sign such as:
Thus to know how to sign "rate" you are going to basically have to know how to sign every different meaning of rate while adjusting for levels of context and viewer familiarity with your topic.
There is no "one size fits all "sign" in regard to "rate." If you want to know how to sign rate (and similar multi-meaning words) -- Invest the thousands of hours it is going to take to become generally fluent -- and enjoy the process!
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