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Toward a Deaf Translation Norm

Christopher Stone

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Read chapter one.
Read reviews: The Midwest Book Review, Interpreting, Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education.

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The Sixth Volume in the Studies in Interpretation Series

From Interpreting, the International Journal of Research and Practice in Interpreting

Is there a difference between the products of a translator/interpreter for whom the target language is their native language and the products of those who are working into their second language? If so, what is that difference? These questions are at the heart of Christopher Stone’s study. In his book, Toward a Deaf Translation Norm, Stone explores the burgeoning profession of Deaf translators/interpreters in the United Kingdom in an attempt to answer these questions. His focus is on translators/interpreters who perform translation/interpreting work presenting English news footage in British Sign Language (BSL).

       Stone begins by providing a discussion of the theories that have been employed to explain the translation/interpreting process. A wealth of knowledge is provided here that would undoubtedly be very interesting to the expert or aspiring linguist; however, for those of us whose area of study falls outside this field, this information can, at times, become overwhelming as we attempt to conceptualize the myriad theories with respect to the study we have yet to begin to read. This should not keep the reader from continuing on the journey Stone is aptly qualified to lead.

       Once the theories applicable to the study of translation and interpreting are understood, Stone asks the reader: “What makes BSL unique?” That is, what are the features of BSL that are similar to and different from those of spoken language? In identifying these, Stone identifies the variables he plans to examine in his study: head movements and eye-blinking; and whether they differ between Deaf translators/interpreters and non-deaf translators/interpreters. The goal is to determine how non-deaf interpreters can “domesticate” (p.41) the target language so that it resembles that of Deaf interpreters.

       Stone finds his voice in explaining the methodology by which he gathered his data. In describing the participants and the source texts, he is extremely clear and articulate. He performs a critical ethnography that relies on semi-structured interviews with Deaf translators/interpreters who regularly work presenting news footage from English (via autocue) to BSL. Relying on Think-Aloud Protocols (TAPs), Stone talks with three Deaf translators/interpreters from Deaf families and two non-deaf translators/interpreters in order to discover the processes by which the translators/interpreters render a message in the target language.

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Christopher Stone is an associate professor in the Department of Interpretation at Gallaudet University.

Print Edition: ISBN 978-1-56368-418-0, ISSN 1545-7613, 6 x 9 casebound, 216 pages, 16 tables, 25 figures


E-Book: ISBN 978-1-56368-442-5


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