Chapter One of Sign Language Interpreting continued...
While sociolinguistic issues have been recognized as pertinent to the field of translation since long before the term sociolinguistics existed, the emergence of sociolinguistics as a field with its own theoretical frameworks and methodological practices has provided a means for the systematic investigation of sociocultural issues impacting translation and interpretation. Although much work remains to be done, one interesting phenomenon that is apparent from the sociolinguistic studies discussed here is that the interpreters under investigation have clearly influenced the interpreted encounters in which they work in all three areas identified by Hatim and Mason (1990): communicative, pragmatic, and semiotic. Yet, as Hatim and Mason point out, while some of these influences are inherent to the process of translation, others appear to be particularly significant to interpretation. Thus, while the processes of translation and interpreting have much in common, it is worth noting some of the differences that result from the different modes that translators and interpreters face in their work.
In discussion of the impact of working within different modes, Nida (1976) considers the written and oral mediums to have a significant impact on the form of the source and target messages. In addition to the written and spoken modes, there is yet a third medium to be addressed: signing. Not only can a distinction be made between translation and interpretation, but also between interpreting with spoken languages and signed languages.
It has been said that the prerequisites to good translation and interpretation are the same. Both require the understanding of the sense of an original utterance and its function within the context in which it occurs (Seleskovitch 1978). However, the amount of time allowed for the production of a rendition has a tremendous impact on the nature of these two distinct processes. For example, because translation conveys messages from and to the written medium, the translator can refer to the original at any time (Wilss 1982). Cokely has outlined the implications of this time factor as follows: