Topics in Signed Language Interpreting: Theory and practice

John Benjamins Publishing
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Interpreters who work with signed languages and those who work strictly with spoken languages share many of the same issues regarding their training, skill sets, and fundamentals of practice. Yet interpreting into and from signed languages presents unique challenges for the interpreter, who works with language that must be seen rather than heard. The contributions in this volume focus on topics of interest to both students of signed language interpreting and practitioners working in community, conference, and education settings. Signed languages dealt with include American Sign Language, Langue des Signes Québécoise and Irish Sign Language, although interpreters internationally will find the discussion in each chapter relevant to their own language context. Topics concern theoretical and practical components of the interpreter’s work, including interpreters’ approaches to language and meaning, their role on the job and in the communities within which they work, dealing with language variation and consumer preferences, and Deaf interpreters as professionals in the field.
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John Benjamins Publishing
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Published on
Oct 26, 2005
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Language Arts & Disciplines / Translating & Interpreting
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A New York Times Notable Book for 2011
One of The Economist's 2011 Books of the Year

People speak different languages, and always have. The Ancient Greeks took no notice of anything unless it was said in Greek; the Romans made everyone speak Latin; and in India, people learned their neighbors' languages—as did many ordinary Europeans in times past (Christopher Columbus knew Italian, Portuguese, and Castilian Spanish as well as the classical languages). But today, we all use translation to cope with the diversity of languages. Without translation there would be no world news, not much of a reading list in any subject at college, no repair manuals for cars or planes; we wouldn't even be able to put together flat-pack furniture.

Is That a Fish in Your Ear? ranges across the whole of human experience, from foreign films to philosophy, to show why translation is at the heart of what we do and who we are. Among many other things, David Bellos asks: What's the difference between translating unprepared natural speech and translating Madame Bovary? How do you translate a joke? What's the difference between a native tongue and a learned one? Can you translate between any pair of languages, or only between some? What really goes on when world leaders speak at the UN? Can machines ever replace human translators, and if not, why?

But the biggest question Bellos asks is this: How do we ever really know that we've understood what anybody else says—in our own language or in another? Surprising, witty, and written with great joie de vivre, this book is all about how we comprehend other people and shows us how, ultimately, translation is another name for the human condition.

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