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Sign Language Studies

American Annals of the Deaf

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Signed Language Interpreting in Brazil
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It is in the social interactions that the members of a community of practice negotiate rules, behaviors, and discourses that define gender. Heberle, Ostermann, and Figueiredo (2006, p. 9) add this:
Even though we adopt the notion that gender is socially constructed, we recognize that the sociocultural practices which constitute this category, which includes language, are very often the object of resistance or contestation. When men and women participate in social interactions via language, when they produce or consume [written or spoken texts], they align themselves with the gender roles articulated in these linguistic practices in different degrees, at times accepting them thoroughly, at other times partially disagreeing with them or even rejecting them completely.
As the contemporary perspectives on gender and language demonstrate, it seems relevant to rethink concepts related to women’s or men’s language and to refer instead to styles produced by men and women in specific sociocultural contexts (Coates & Cameron, 1988). The studies on language and gender briefly discussed here have contributed to the development of our study since they challenge the essentialist binary opposition between male and female forms of talk and open up the possibility of examining gender traits in professional practice, specifically in sign language translation and interpretation.

Translation Modalities

The translation modalities proposed by Aubert (1998) have served as support for the analysis of gender traits in the simultaneous interpretation from the Portuguese language to Brazilian Sign Language. Translation, as has already been seen, is understood as an act of communication that takes place between different cultures, ideologies, and worldviews (Aubert, 1998) and is actualized in texts and discourses (Nicoloso, 2010). Aubert (1998, pp. 4–9) describes these translation modalities as follows:

    1. Omission. Omission occurs whenever a given segment of the source text and the information it contained cannot be found in the target text.

    2. Transcription. Transcription, which is the real “zero degree” of translation, includes text segments that either are the common heritage of the two languages involved (e.g., numbers, algebraic formulas) or pertain to neither the source language nor the target language but to a third language and which, in most cases, would be deemed as loanwords or expressions already in the original text (e.g., Latin phrases and aphorisms such as alea jacta est).

    3. Loan. A loan is a segment of the original text that is reproduced in the translated text either with or without specific loanword markers (e.g., quotation marks, italics, boldface type). Proper nouns (including place names) are common loans, as are terms and expressions directly related to specific anthropological and/or ethnological realities.

    4. Calque. A calque is a word or an expression borrowed from the source language that has undergone certain graphical and/or morphological adaptations to the target language and is not found in recent major dictionaries of the target language.

    5. Literal translation. Within the descriptive model presented here, literal translation is synonymous with word-for-word translation, in which, upon comparing the source text and the target text, one finds (1) the same number of words, in (2) the same syntactic order, employing (3) the “same” word classes, and (4) lexical choices that can be contextually described as interlinguistic synonyms.

    6. Transposition. This modality occurs when at least one of the three first criteria for literal translation is not met (i.e., whenever morphosyntactic rearrangements take place).

    7. Explicitation/Implicitation. Two sides of the same coin, whereby implicit information contained in the source text is made explicit in the target text (e.g., by a paraphrase or in footnotes); conversely, explicit information contained in the source text is identifiable with a given text segment and is converted to an implicit reference.

    8. Modulation. Modulation occurs whenever a given text segment is translated in such a manner as to impose an evident shift in the semantic surface structure, albeit retaining the same overall meaning.

    9. Adaptation. This modality is typically a culturally assimilative procedure (i.e., the translational solution adopted for the given text establishes a partial equivalence of sense, deemed sufficient for the purposes of the translation, but abandons any illusion of “perfect” equivalence, including cultural false cognates).

    10. Intersemiotic translation. In certain instances (especially in the so-called sworn translation mode) figures, illustrations, logos, trademarks, seals, coats of arms, and the like that are found in the source text are rendered in the target text as textual material.

    11. Error. Only obvious muddles are classified as errors.

    12. Correction. Not infrequently, the source text contains factual and/or linguistic errors, inadequacies, and blunders.

    13. Addition. Any textual segment included in the target text by the translators on their own account and not motivated by any explicit or implicit content of the original text is considered an addition.

Aubert explains that transcription, loan, literal translation, and transposition are collectively categorized as direct translation modalities, while explicitation, implicitation, modulation, adaptation, and intersemiotic translation refer to indirect translation modalities. In addition, these modalities may occur in either a “pure” or a “hybrid” form (Aubert, 1998). Aubert also points out that the study of these modalities may contribute to a better understanding of similarities and differences between linguistic and cultural pairs and to awareness, which is an aspect of translation theory.
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