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11:11 Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Found in Translation: Deaf Interpreters

The Latest Volume in the Studies in Interpretation Series
Examines the New Field of Deaf Translators and Interpreters

Throughout history and across the world, whenever sufficient numbers of Deaf people live within a community, sign languages have developed and hearing members of those societies who are able to sign have been called upon to act as translators/interpreters (T/Is) on the Deaf people’s behalf. In Toward a Deaf Translation Norm, volume six in the Studies in Interpretation series, Christopher Stone examines how Deaf and hearing T/Is in the United Kingdom (UK) render English broadcast television news into British Sign Language (BSL). In addition, Stone also looks at whether Deaf T/Is in particular employ certain strategies to present BSL to audiences who, like them, are culturally Deaf and identify as members of the BSL-using community.

In the UK, sign language interpreting became recognized as a separate profession in the 1970s. However, “despite the emergence of the BSL/English interpreting profession,” notes Stone, “there have been very few publicly visible interpreters from the ‘core’ of the Deaf community (that is, Deaf people from Deaf families). This contrasts with most minority spoken-language T/Is, who come from within their communities.” Although it may not seem feasible to the mainstream that a Deaf person could work as a T/I, Deaf T/Is work in conference settings, provide Web translation in Europe and North America, and serve in many other capacities. Stone’s research explores and enables the training of Deaf T/Is to include a Deaf translation norm.

Read more about this new volume in chapter one, “Interpreting and Translation”, and use your exclusive subscriber discount to receive a savings of 20% off when you order Toward a Deaf Translation Norm online or by mail. When ordering online, type “NOV2009” in the box labeled “use promo code” located next to the “checkout” button.


“Personal narratives are one way people code their experiences and convey these experiences to others,” explains Kristen Jean Mulrooney, author of Extraordinary from the Ordinary: Personal Experience Narratives in American Sign Language. “Given that narratives simultaneously express information and define a social situation, analyzing how and why people structure the telling of personal narratives provides insight into the social dimensions of language use.”

Mulrooney’s study, the 15th volume in the Sociolinguistics in Deaf Communities series, has made several contributions to the understanding of narratives in general and American Sign Language (ASL) personal narratives in particular. “I have described the overall structure of ASL personal narratives, which I identified from the narratives themselves rather than look for characteristics of narrative structures found in spoken languages. Another contribution of this research is the illustration of the importance of analyzing everything a signer produces. Further, we can now look at what linguistic structures are used to tell stories. Through this examination of ASL narratives we see how the extraordinary develops from the ordinary: when signers relay the ordinary events of their daily life by sharing personal narratives with others, they do so in extraordinary ways.”

Order Extraordinary from the Ordinary at a 20% savings off the regular price. For online orders, type “NOV2009” in the box labeled “use promo code” next to the “checkout” button. You may also order by mail.


“As a volume on educational interpreting,” states The Sign Language Translator and Interpreter in a recent review, “[Elizabeth] Winston’s text [Educational Interpreting: How It Can Succeed] offers an unparalleled scholarly contribution to the field. It is a laudable compact collection of work and should be a staple text in the professional library of interpreters working in education settings, interpreter educators and researchers. In addition, it is a ‘must have’ item for institutions and schools providing interpreted education to deaf students. It would be of interest to community interpreters and students of interpreting also, with chapters on issues of relevance to the wider profession, including the ‘interpretability’ and visual accessibility of information, performance assessment, job analysis and expectations for occupational standards. This anthology offers a variety of perspectives to the reader, all pointing to the same flashing neon ‘use with caution’ sign that apparently should come with an interpreted education. The chapters by Winston herself, [Brenda] Schick, [Claire] Ramsey, and Schick and [Kevin] Williams are particularly noteworthy in the volume.” Educational Interpreting explores current educational interpreting, why it fails, and how it can succeed by defining the knowledge and skills interpreters must have and developing standards of practice and assessment. Read chapter six, “Competencies of K–12 Educational Interpreters: What We Need versus What We Have”, and order Educational Interpreting here.


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