Chapter One of Sign Language Interpreting continued...
banner Hatim and Mason have proposed a sociolinguistic model of translation that categorizes issues involved in translation in an effort to impose greater consistency within the discussion of translation (1990). The model is based on three major principles involved in the translation of text: communicative transaction, pragmatic action, and semiotic interaction. Communicative transaction encompasses the factors involved in translating the effects of communication. That is, translators must be sensitive to cultural factors and the impact of both the originator and the setting on linguistic output. Cultural differences are also relevant in the notion of pragmatic action. Here, the translator must balance the need to incorporate culturally appropriate interactional strategies within both languages. Semiotic interaction refers to the need for translators to incorporate equivalent access to ideological aspects of a text. That is, texts often depend on prior textual experiences in order to evoke significant meanings (intertextuality). When recipients of the discourse have not had experience with a particular language and thus, the relevant prior texts, it becomes the responsibility of the translator to provide a translation that allows the recipients to infer the ideological stances intended in the source.

Several early studies in translation attempted to focus on a communication model, which takes into account the perspectives the original speaker and audience, rather than an information-processing model, which focuses more on the cognitive processes of the interpreter or translator (Nida 1964; Nida and Taber 1969; Kade 1968; Neubert 1968; and Thieberger 1972). Catford (1965) focuses on the impact of situational variables on language use. For Hatim and Mason (1990), communicative transaction specifically refers to language variation. The types of variations addressed include variation with regard to language use (register) and user (dialect). Of particular relevance is research regarding language variation in ASL-English interpretation. Davis (1989, 1990), in an examination of two ASL- English interpreters, found that both interpreters exhibited patterned incorporations of code switching, or switching between two languages; code mixing, or mixing the use of two languages, perhaps within a sentence or combining both codes (such as mouthing English while signing ASL [Lucas and Valli 1992]); and lexical borrowing, or borrowing words from one language while using another. This is attributed, in part, to a unique situational factor often faced by ASL- English interpreters: one of the "monolingual" parties might actually be bilingual. As Davis points out, "In many interpreting situations, the deaf audience has some degree of written or spoken proficiency in the source language (English). In a sense, the interpretation is needed not because the deaf audience members don't understand English, but because they cannot hear it" (1990, 319).

Because some deaf participants might be fluent in English, a unique form of interpreting has evolved for use by interpreters working with such a population: transliteration. Transliteration has traditionally referred to the translation between English and a signed code for English.1 In an analysis of a transliterator providing access between a hearing teacher and class and a deaf student in a university course, Winston (1989) and Siple (1995) found that the transliteration actually consists of not only "English-like signing," but has some of both English-like and ASL-like linguistic features. The findings from these studies indicate the importance of sociolinguistic research regarding aspects of the communicative transaction in translation.

Previous Page
Back to information about this book
Next page
Catalog Submissions Permissions Ordering Home