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From:  Judy Kegl
Date:  Thu Oct 15, 1998  1:04 pm
Subject:  Re: Writing SW Literature

Judy Kegl (as opposed to James) here:

I just spotted the translation discussion. Maybe I can clarify a bit.
What James talks about actually is translation and not transcription. They
start from a story typically in English or Spanish (with pix) and work from
that to a translation of that story into (in most of our cases, Nicaraguan
Sign Language). It is not just straight storytelling. In fact, once the
translation is achieved, then there is a second process which involves
adapting it for the print (SW) medium, which we have found is very
different in its form from face-to-face narrative.

James' response on transliteration comes from one who has seen very little
of it. In fact, despite the fact that I am an interpreter, I would venture
to say he doesn't know what it is. But, I think what he is getting at is
similar to what Ceclia is saying. He wants the material that is "set in
stone" to be the best it can be, namely something a native signer would
produce. In the case of transliterating into Signed English, I would say
if you choose that medium it is crucial that the work be identified clearly
as Signed English and not ASL to avoid poeple thinking they are getting one
versus the other. We all know the ambiguous references to "sign language"
that yield one or the other or a mix of these forms.

BTW, when I transliterate, it's not exact word for word for word, there are
many changes made to accomodate my signing to the visual English medium,
just like there are changes to accomodate spoken English to the written
medium. Absolute straight verbatim sign for word transliteration as you
describe would actually often times produce a string of signs that is not
processible in the visual modality because of differences in visual
resolution, memory span, etc between auditory and visual processing.

Transliteration is actually a more demanding and difficult process than we
give it credit for.

--Judy's two cents

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