forum SignWriting List Forum
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From:  Cheryl Zapien
Date:  Thu Oct 15, 1998  12:54 pm
Subject:  Re: Writing SW Literature

Hi Valerie: To my knowledge, ASL certified sign language interpreters are
precisely that--they interpret from one language (English) to another (ASL).
You could even have interpreters between signed languages. For example BSL to
ASL or visa versa or Signed English (which technially is still English) to ASL.
Interpretation requires a firm grasp of both languages that are involved.
Interpreters are translators of one language into another. It is possible to
have a sign language transliterator, even a certified one. These individuals
are the folks who change English into signed english and visa versa(or any other
spoken language and its signed equivalent). There is also such a thing as a
Cued Speech transliterator. These guys use a system of hand and lip movements
to represent all the sounds in any given language. (English sound patterns to a
visual encoding of English sound patterns). So, for example, until I become
really proficient in ASL grammar and vocab., the best way I could describe
myself is as a sign language transliterator because I learned VERY English sign,
both in structure and vocabulary, first. I am still signing in English order,
in many cases, using English grammar--however, the modality has changed. Just
like the word "shalom" continues to be a Hebrew word with Hebrew meaning,
however the sounds have been re-written into an alphabet system that non-Hebrew
speaking, western-types like us can understand.

My own opinion is that the dictionary definition of "transliteration" is quite
narrow and does not begin to take into consideration any other modality but the
written one. The bottom line here is that interpreters translate from one
language to another--they must have a sure knowledge of both target languages.
A tranliterator does not change the grammar or syntax or lexicon of the target
language--he/she changes the form. Hope this helps. Cheryl

Valerie Sutton wrote:

> October 14, 1998
> Regarding the word "transliteration"...
> >From time to time people ask me unusual questions, and I was asked recently
> about the word "transliteration" and since I didn't know what that was, I
> asked the List what the word meant. So that is how the subject came up.
> Today, another person sent me a private message (see below) with a
> definition of the word "transliteration" (I understand the first paragraph
> is based on the definition from the Meriam-Webster Dictionary):
> >Transliterate
> >"To write or spell (words, etc.) in the alphabetical
> >characters of another language that represent the same
> >sound or sounds."
> >
> >So ASL gloss might be a form of transliteration, but
> >signwriting is not...because signwriting is like the
> >Roman alphabet, language neutral, for those languages
> >that do not have another alphabet.
> >
> >I wonder if signed English (not SEE, but ASL in English
> >order) is a sort of transliteration? (-:
> >
> >I do think that sign language interpreters are considered
> >to be transliterators, but now I'm not sure why. I think
> >modality is very important.
> So...after I read the above, and based on the definition above,
> transcribing an ASL videotape directly into SignWriting is most definitely
> not a transliteration. It is writing ASL in ASL.
> Valerie :-)
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Visit the SignWritingSite:
> Valerie Sutton at The DAC
> Deaf Action Committee For SignWriting
> Box 517, La Jolla, CA, 92038-0517, USA
> (619)456-0098 voice
> (619)456-0010 tty
> (619)456-0020 fax
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  Replies Author Date
453 Updated SW Lessons Listing Valerie Sutton Mon  10/19/1998
486 Re: Writing SW Literature Valerie Sutton Mon  10/26/1998

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