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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Wed Feb 10, 1999  7:00 pm
Subject:  Question on SW Translations

February 10, 1999

QUESTION: Another question on translating: Here in my classroom we are
working with translation but it is not a literal word by word translation.
We translate the idea from spoken language into Sign Writing. How do you

ANSWER: I would suggest that your students sign their translation onto
videotape, and then your classroom can write SignWriting from the video, as
a classroom project. That way, you all will learn how to analyze what you
sign. It will give you information you can refer to. Later you may become
skilled enough that you will not need the video, and you will be able to
write directly into SignWriting without thinking in a spoken language.

I personally have never done a translation. Here we write SignWriting
documents in one of two ways...

1. Transcription from video...The story is signed directly in a signed
language onto videotape and we transcribe into SignWriting from the video.

2. Write directly in SignWriting. The person who is fluent in a signed
language writes directly in that signed language without thinking in
English or any other spoken language. Darline Clark Gunsauls and David
Gunsauls have done work like this. Here are examples of direct writing into
SignWriting on the web:

Goldilock's and the Three Bears In ASL

Humpty Dumpty in ASL

Cinderella in ASL

Of course translations have been done...James Shepard-Kegl and others
working with Nicaraguan Sign Language have done several translations. They
take a well-known story already published in English and then work hard on
capturing the flavor of the document in Nicaraguan Sign Language. That is
quite a skill!

I know they are translating the famous English novel "Moby Dick" into
Nicaraguan Sign Language right now, but I cannot give you instruction on
how they do it.

Here is an example of one of their translations:

If You Give A Mouse A Cookie

Valerie ':-)

Valerie Sutton at the DAC
Deaf Action Committee for SW


Center For Sutton Movement Writing
an educational nonprofit organization
Box 517, La Jolla, CA, 92038-0517, USA

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