3. Translating and interpreting sign language

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Translating and interpreting signed languages has received relatively little attention outside the applied world of sign language interpretation. In this chapter, the general theme of the translator as the mediator of cultures will be applied to the complex case of signed languages, using ASL and, to a lesser extent, other sign languages, as cases in point. Because of the diversity within signed languages, and the typical lack of overall codification for signed languages, the tasks of translation and interpretation become heavily reliant on the cultural and linguistic knowledge, sensitivity and judgment of the interpreter or translator. In this chapter, I will explore the concept of diversity in signed languages, the special challenges faced by signed language translators and interpreters, the role of culture in deaf-hearing interchanges, and finally, the implications of such points for other translators and interpreters.


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