Tuesday, July 13, 2004


One nice thing about blogging is that you learn things that you might not have otherwise learned. For instance, I always assumed that when interpreters signed for deaf people they literally translated what was being said word by word. T’ain’t necessarily so. It seems that deaf students, just like the hearing students, need to use their eyes for visual communication clues in order to accurately interpret what is being said. Deaf sign language in North America, is not the same language as BSL in Britain or Auslan in Australia. All three sign systems developed independently with different lexicons, grammars and syntax’s. When hearing people see interpreters communicating ASL messages into English and vice versa, they get the impression that the interpreters are literally translating both languages word for word, but what they are really doing is not translation, it’s interpretation. The difference being that the interpreters must rearrange word order, delete words that don’t add meaning, and add words that do add meaning. Interpretation is a judgment call in many cases, and as such, is more of an art than a science. Here is an example:

English Sentence:

In any language of a particular group, everyone agrees upon and follows the same social rules, and agrees upon common rules for their language so the entire group can communicate.

Here's the ASL version:

Language that for people one group same together, each other social understand same rule share. People one group together polite agree same, all same way agree proper with language for same rule all share communication.


outofdate said...

I'm going to stay here for a while if you don't mind:)

The Mountain Girl News said...

A friend of mine in college was hearing impaired (she said she could hear "a little" so that meant she wasn't "deaf") and she explained how the language was indeed a language. It was always an impossibility to make my fingers make the signs, but for a while I was pretty good in understanding (reading) sign. It is a fascinating thing! Now I don't understand one jill except "yes", "no" and "bull_ _ _ _".