Frozen register and the translation process from English to ASLA-C

David Bar-Tzur

Created 18 October 2001, links updated monthly with the help of LinkAlarm.

The Big Book of AAMissal and chalice for a Catholic massClose-up of hands on chests during the pledge

Materials needed by students: One blank videotape (VT), pencils (not pens) for writing out their translations, blank paper, copies of the handouts listed below.

Materials needed by teacher: 1 VCR, 1 ATR; VT of frozen texts;
overhead: Register and the glosses you will use;
handouts: A copy of these pages, Feedback sheet, and any web site information that you feel the students should read from the "Tools for. . ." section at the end of this text;
glosses (pick what you will use): Our Father/Lord's prayer, Pledge of allegiance, Shemoneh esreh for the Sabbath, Star spangled banner, The 12 Steps of AA, The 12 Traditions of AA;
worksheets (pick): Credo/Apostles' creed, Gettysburg address, Our Father/Lord's prayer, Pledge of allegiance, Shema, Star spangled banner, Steps of AA, Traditions of AA.

Lecture

Register (or style) is a label for the way we vary our speech or sign when we communicate with people in different settings, and this depends on the closeness or distance we feel to that individual (or group) because of authority, goal, or acquaintance. In ASL, the physical distance of the audience will also be a factor. If a person has authority over us, we accept greater social distance as a sign of respect. This authority may stem from governmental structure like when we are in a court of law, from religious tradition like when a Catholic person meets the Pope, or from an employment relationship, especially between the highest boss and the lowest level employee. America has toned down a lot of these formalities, but many nations still take them quite seriously. By goal, I mean the purpose of meeting with a given person. If we go to see a doctor, he does not have authority over us, but he is an authority on the subject. For this reason, we will allow him to have the floor more that we have it, and will allow him to control how the conversation goes. With acquaintance, we relax the distance that must be shown to those who are above us in authority, because of their position or knowledge. With those who are our peers or even our friends, our way of speaking changes its character. Since this workshop focuses on frozen register, we will only discuss the other registers briefly, but knowing the other registers will be of help in understanding why we have frozen register at all.

Imagine a male patient going to the doctor's office and the female nurse wishes to weigh him. Here are some different ways that she might speak to him:

Formal: Please come into the examining room, Mr. Smith. If you will step up onto the scale, I would like to get your weight.

Consultative: Come into the room here, Mr. Smith. How much do you weigh?. . . O.K. Please step on the scales and I'll check that. Oh, I see here that you are 5 pounds heavier. Maybe your scales at home are light.

Casual: So, John, come in and we'll see how much you're weighing today. Boy I bet those kids of yours have grown a lot. . . . Yeah, they're just at that age. . . . OK. You're 162 pounds on the nose.

Intimate: John, we're lookin' like you put on weight. Let's check you out. Now, don't be shy. Step up there. Yep. I'm right; up 12. Margaret's not gunna be very happy with you. You'll have to tell her to quit making that sorbet you like so well. You let her pamper you too much.

[The teacher should show an overhead of the above and ask the students to identify what makes these registers sound different while writing down their comments on the board or on the overhead.]

FORMAL REGISTER happens when the audience is large and the sender can't judge as easily if individuals are understanding the message or not; when the sender is not familiar with the audience and cannot assume what they know or how much rapport will be established; when there is a large differential in status and greater deference must be show or expected because of office (pope, judge, political leader, and so on); when the speaker likes to keep a distance between her/himself and other people. The following are characteristics shared by English and ASL: The sender will communicate more slowly, articulate more carefully, use longer pauses and prosody (for English this is vocal inflection, for ASL this is body movement), be highly organized, scan the audience with their eyes rather than look at individuals (but may look directly at those well-known to the signer or who are highly-valued), participants are not as free to ask questions (but this is more allowable in ASL than in English), and there is more use of media (overheads, videotapes, PowerPoint). I sometimes joke that no one can stop the speaker in a formal presentation unless they need to yell "Your pants are on fire!"

IN ENGLISH: Avoid casual contractions (gonna, hopin', kinda), use more elaborate and specialized vocabulary ("after careful consideration of the matter" rather than "I thought about it and. . ."), and speakers will continue speaking while showing media since silence brings discomfort and audience members can hear and see at the same time. IN ASL: Use larger sign space (since audience members will be further away) with shifting of whole upper torso, the signer may actually walk to different parts of the stage to spatialize, avoid contractions by signing things like TWO YEAR PAST instead of the single sign TWO-YEARS-AGO (visibility), avoid fingerspelling if possible or index the fingerspelling as a warning, depend less on facial non-manual grammar and signals but use the body to show this (such as more head tilt for visibility), ASL depends less on sign choice to be formal, any specialized vocabulary is more likely to be negotiated (explained), and long pauses do not create discomfort (dead airtime) and are even required to allow audience members to look at overheads and the like.

CONSULTATIVE REGISTER happens when the audience is small (perhaps one person at a doctor's office); when the sender is more familiar with what the person knows because the sender can actually ask the individual questions; when there is a difference between the sender and receiver but it is because the sender is an expert in the matter under discussion (medicine, psychology, law, etc); when there needs to be a distance so that the sender will keep to the subject since time is limited. The following are characteristics shared by English and ASL: The sender will communicate at a moderate (not slow) pace, articulation is not as exaggerated as in formal but more so than in casual, some use of pauses and prosody (for English this is vocal inflection, for ASL this is body movement), questions are asked so that the receiver can give input (for the expert to analyze) and show understanding, some contractions may be used, the sender will check for comprehension directly to the person and more often than in casual register, there will be organization of what the sender wants to ask but more flexibility of change in direction as the receiver shows lack of comprehension or responses that lead in a different direction, checking-in (for comprehension) will happen by the sender looking directly at the receiver, the participant(s) should wait for a pause to ask for clarification (but this is more allowable in ASL than in English), and there may be limited use of media (usually only still pictures or diagrams).

IN ENGLISH: Vocabulary may be specialized but the speaker should use word choices that are understandable to the consumer who may be coming to someone more knowledgeable in this matter. IN ASL: Sign space is clearer than casual conversation but not as exaggerated with only the head shifting rather than the torso, fingerspelling is fine since the receiver can ask for repetition, non-manual grammar and signals may be used since the participants are physically closer, and there may be some sign negotiation.

CASUAL REGISTER happens when two or more people know each other well, the sender at the moment is very aware of what the others know or not about any given topic ("my mother's at it again"), when the status of everyone is equal for the purpose of conversation, when everyone wants to feel close to one another. Interpreters often see this register when they socialize and mistakenly use it for formal and consultative settings. This register is actually harder to understand in ASL (if you are not native) than consultative or formal because the Deaf participants will not be as redundant, seeking of comprehension, or exaggeratedly clear. The following are characteristics shared by English and ASL: Communication is moderate to rapid and there is lax production of words or signs, the sender will not ask if the receiver is understanding unless s/he looks confused, little repetition and many contractions will be used, there will be no planned organization of what the sender wants to say, the participants will frequently interject themselves (by waving for attention or simply beginning as soon as the sender has paused) to take the floor or ask for clarification, the participants will know each other well enough to know when to explain background information and when not to.

IN ENGLISH: There can be much use of slang and shared knowledge. IN ASL: Production of signs is very lax and normally two-handed signs may be made with one hand, sign space may only be indicated by eye gaze shifting rather than shifting of torso or head, non-manual grammar and signals are fully used since the participants are physically closer, and some signs that might not be familiar to everyone (such as name-signs) won't be explained if the signer knows that his partner(s) know them.

Here is one more example of the three registers we have just discussed:

Formal (automobile convention): Ladies and gentlemen, it is a great honor to be able to address you tonight about a new line of automobiles we hope to be offering to the public.

Consultative (car sales person): I understand you want to know about our new Honda Civics.

Casual (with friends): Hey guys! Have you heard about those new hot Civics they got out this year?

A delighful example of intimate register can be found in a book called Watching the English: The hidden rules of English behavior by Kate Fox. In the section on Pub-talk, she reports a conversation between two regular customers and a publican (the keeper of a pub[lic house]) as follows:

"Regular 1: 'Where's meat and two veg, then?'
Publican: 'Dunno, should be here by now.'
Regular 2: 'Must be doing a Harry!'
( - All laugh - )
Regular 1: 'Put one in the wood for him, then - and yourself?'
Publican: 'I'll have one for Ron then, thanks.'"

She goes on to explain the meaning of this intimate discourse: "To decode this conversation, you would need to know that the initial question about 'meat and two veg' was not a request for a meal, but an enquiry as to the whereabouts of another regular called 'meat and two veg' beacuse of his rather stolid, conservative nature (meat with two vegetables being the most traditional, unadventerous English meal). Such witty nicknames are common: In another pub, there is a regular known as TLA, which stands for Three Letter Acronym, because of his penchant for business-school jargon.

One would also have to know that 'doing a Harry', in this pub, is code for 'getting lost', Harry being another regular, a somewhat absent minded man, who once, three years ago, managed to get lost on his way to the pub, and is still teased about the incident. 'Put one in the wood for him' is a local version of a more common pub-talk expression, meaning 'reserve a pint of beer for him, when he arrives', which I will pay for now'... The phrase 'and yourself?' is shorthand for 'and one for yourself?', the approved formula for offering a drink. The 'Ron' referred to by the publican, however, is not a person, but a contraction of 'later on'."

For the four registers we've spoken of, communication is happening between the participants. For formal it is largely one way, for consultative more leeway is allowed for interaction but the expert is given the right to steer the conversation because s/he knows more, and in consultative and intimate all parties are peers and can interject at any time. Frozen register happens when there is a "script" that is followed as part of a ritual. Although the participants may speak simultaneously or responsively (the Pledge of Allegiance or a mass), communication in the usual sense is not happening. Nothing new will be learned as a result of the participants speaking. The point is really to affirm that each participant is part of a larger whole.

Three examples should suffice for clarification of frozen register. At an AA meeting (Alcoholics Anonymous), the meeting opens with a reading of the Ten Steps and the Ten Traditions as well as a few other short readings. Someone who has attended therapy or a number of these meetings before is very familiar with the Steps and Traditions and any place in the world where an AA meeting happens, the exact same words (albeit in a translation) will be said every time. No one is allowed to paraphrase or change the wording to these scripts. A person who is attending a meeting for the first time will not truly understand what these words mean, because they are very powerfully written and recovering alcoholics spend the rest of their lives trying to understand the philosophy behind the concepts that will be mentioned. A Catholic who goes to mass will also recite responses that are written in the missal and the celebrant (the priest offering mass) will also keep to the script. The homily (the sermon) allows for more spontaneous communication, but the rest of the mass is actually an affirmation of belief (as were the Steps and the Traditions) rather than an exchange of information that was not known beforehand. When the Pledge of Allegiance is recited or the Star Spangled Banner is sung, there is an affirmation that all present believe alike that citizens should take pride in their country and follow its laws.

All registers have their challenges, but we shall now focus on those for frozen register. The Step, the Mass, and the Pledge are all beautifully written. The ideas that they try to express are very profound and not so easily understood. Books have been written about the meaning of each and if the participants are serious in their commitment, they may spend the rest of their lives trying to understand these words and live by them. We need to offer to the Deaf people an interpretation that is just as profound and meaningful, although the Deaf audience, like the hearing audience, may need the rest of their lives to understand it as fully as possible. Since the authors of these documents, Dr. Bill, the Church Fathers, and Francis Bellamy, spent a good deal of time deciding how to word these texts, we should also spend time in deciding how we will produce them in ASL.

If an outsider or non-member were to listen to these texts for the first time, s/he would not understand these texts very well because they depend on being enculturated (growing up with them) or acculturated to them (learning them later in life). Each of these texts has a culture behind it, expressing beliefs and values and using words in a special way. Taking time to decide how we will express them in ASL means we will be translating them rather than interpreting them on the fly, as we usually do in most settings. In general, the amount of preparation interpreters should do will increase as the register used becomes more formal, organized, and specialized, and we can think of frozen as being the "highest" register in terms of preparation, but this is not to say that one must always use the highest register possible. Instead one must use the register that is appropriate to the setting. The old ASL sign for "register" was to use the [B^] hand to point to the fingers of [5], PO > signer, FO > DS, in sequence from top to bottom.1 The sign now used by linguists is to place the DH [B], PO > NDS, against the palm of [5] and pivot it back and forth against the palm like a windshield wiper. This shows there all registers are created equal.

We have seen that frozen register is challenging because the text will be profound in meaning and will require learning a culture to fully understand it. Other challenges are that the words may be recited quicker than we can easily process, may be in another language (such as a Jewish or Muslim service), move the participants emotionally, and as ritual must always be produced the same way to have that "ritual effect". Preparation for translation will require analyzing the text for meaning by also joining the participants in an on-going understanding of the text. This should happen well before you ever pick up your hands the first time to do a frozen text, but years of experience may cause you to change your translation slightly. The resources you can use in preparing for any assignment can include: interpreting audiotapes on the same subject or of the actual frozen text, reading books that explain the "culture" behind the text (especially in a multicultural setting), attending deaf events of the same nature, constructing a do-it-yourself project, getting further education, joining mailing lists, mentoring or being mentored, joining organizations, getting outside assessment and certification, learning from people who are knowledgeable, reading periodicals and articles, teaching, watching videotapes and CDs, visiting web sites, and attending workshops.

The following discussion of the translation task parallels that of M. L. Larson in her section entitled "Overview of the translation task".2 I have used her structure to organize examples from ASL and English. In communication, the sender of a message wishes to convey something to a receiver. We can imagine this message as a series of ideas within the sender's mind. In perfect communication, the receiver will have the exact "picture" within his/her mind at the end of the transmission. Generally this message is send through a specific language, although there are other ways of communicating. When the receiver and the sender do not share the same language with equal facility (or at all), an interpreter may be brought in to facilitate communication. We are here considering frozen register which by its nature is like a written text. It has been set down in stone as it were and is not subject to alteration in the original language. Since this is so, we must consider translation, which is set in stone, rather than interpretation.

Following Larson, we may differentiate between the form of a text and its meaning. It is not unusual for a judge during a trial to ask the interpreter to swear to render a literal translation. S/he thinks that will ensure that the meaning of the trial's proceedings will not be altered by the interpreter. Actually just the opposite is the case. If the exact form of the source language (the language that the original message is given over in) is not altered, the interpretation will not make sense or will take on an altogether different meaning. This is because languages have different surface structures. Larson uses the phrase "receptor language" to mean the language which the message is being translated into, but we shall use the more frequently encountered term "target language". "Run" is often used to show how there is no one-to-one correspondence between any source and target language.

[The instructor could make overheads of the illustrations of various meanings of "run" in Baker-Shenk, C. and D. Cokely (1991). American Sign Language: A teacher's resource text on grammar and culture. Clerc. ISBN: 093032384X. In the 1980 T. J. Publishers' edition of this work it is on p. 68. I don't know the page in the 1991 link above, but it should be in Chapter 3, Section C.]

The word "run" in English has 50-90 different meanings depending on which dictionary you select, but let's chose four of them. It can be (1) to travel rapidly by foot - "I run for exercise", (2) the movement of a liquid - "Did you leave the water running?", (3) a tear in woven fabric - "The thorn bush gave her a run in her nylons", or (4) to compete - "Did you decide to run for president of our club?" It would be unlikely to find any other language on earth where all four of these English meanings can be conveyed by one word. Certainly we would not find a language that could convey all 50-90 English meanings. There are four different ASL signs for these meanings and Baker and Cokely show them as well as the four different words necessary to convey these meanings in French and German. I remember how irritated I became when each time I asked the teachers in my interpreter education program, "What's the sign for. . .", they would reply, "What's the context?" I finally learned that they did this, because there is no one-to-one correspondence between languages.

While one language may package several meaning components in one word, another language may require several words to express the same idea. In Hebrew "traif" means "a domesticated animal that is normally fit to eat for Orthodox Jews but has not been ritually slaughtered in the proper manner." Even with this elaborate definition, a person not familiar with Jewish culture will not really know what "fit to eat", "Orthodox Jew", or "ritually slaughtered" means. THINK~HEARING is a single sign but would need to be translated as "a deaf person who tries to pass for a hearing person." Even this would probably not be a sufficient translation, since most people would think that means "someone who pretends that s/he can hear" like my grandmother in later years when she wouldn't wear a hearing aid. There is much more cultural baggage in THINK~HEARING than that.

One language may have one meaning component which has several forms that incorporate other meaning components, yet there is no equivalent single word in the language you wish to translate into. In English we have "sheep", but we also have within that concept "lamb" (young), "ewe" (female) and "ram" (male). This is true of many animal words, but since we have lost our connection to agriculture, these words are known only to farmers or zoologists. ASL does not have these multiple words for "sheep" and these words would have to be rendered SHEEP YOUNG, SHEEP FEMALE, SHEEP MALE.

[The instructor may wish to make overheads of the examples below so that students can see the scripts and the instructor signing them.]

Depth of processing (English to ASL)

The message: "Since there's nothing I can do, I might as well forget about it."

Lexical level of processing (word for word)

BECAUSE THAT-THING-OVER-THERE 'S NOTHING I-ME CAN DO, I-ME MAYBE SIMILAR W-GOOD FORGET ABOUT I-THIS.

Phrasal level of processing (phrase by phrase)

BECAUSE I CAN'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT I-T, I BETTER FORGET ABOUT I-T.

Sentential level of processing (idea by idea)

UP-TO-NOW ME STRUGGLE'over time'. SOLVE? (headshake). #DO-DO? PUSH-ASIDE-TO-left, TO-HECK-WITH-left.

Textual level of processing (taking into consideration the entire text and restructuring broadly)

The interpretation would restructure large portions of the text and the original sentence might be broken down and integrated into other sentences, so that you couldn't find one sentence that represents it.

Depth of processing (ASL to English)

The message: UP-TO-NOW ME STRUGGLE'over time'. SOLVE? (headshake). DO-DO? PUSH-ASIDE-TO-left, TO-HECK-WITH-left.

Lexical level of processing (word for word)

"Up to now I struggle and struggle. Can I solve it? Uh-uh. Get rid of it. Darn it."

Phrasal level of processing (phrase by phrase)

"I've been struggling with it. I doubt that I'll solve it. Just forget it."

Sentential level of processing (idea by idea)

"Since there's nothing I can do, I might as well forget about it."

Textual level of processing (taking into consideration the entire text and restructuring broadly)

The interpretation would restructure large portions of the text and the original sentence might be broken down and integrated into other sentences, so that you couldn't find one sentence that represents it.

This is not only true of words and signs , but also of phrases and sentences. "Do you think I'm an idiot?" is not a question, although it has the form of a question. Here prosody (tone of voice) will reveal what is meant, because a true question will sound different.3 ASL also has rhetorical questions (rhq):
_________________________rhq
E-I-N-S-T-E-I-N BORN WHERE, GERMANY, U-L-M.
When I was a young signer, I misunderstood a rhetorical question when a Deaf workshop presenter said DON'T-MIND LIGHTS-OUT? I thought he was asking me if I minded if he turned off the lights. He was actually saying, "Would you mind turning off the lights (for me)?" Here also what appears to be a request for information is really a "command" or, if you will, a request for action.

As we have seen, languages use different forms for the same meaning. Usually it is meaning we wish to convey and we should drop form and go for meaning, but in a language class that discusses form, form may be the message. If an English teacher says, "Not 'can I go?' but 'May I go?'" to correct someone's English, the proper translation would not be NOT CAN I GO BUT DON'T-MIND I GO, since the original sentence is not only in English, but it is about English. Instead the interpreter should sign IN ENGLISH DON'T SAY C-A-N I G-O. BETTER SAY M-A-Y- I G-O. When form is preserved, we have a literal translation, which can show the structure of a language. In ASL, TWO-OF-THEM LOOK STRONG means "the two of them resemble one another." An ASL or interpreting teacher might mention that this ASL sentence literally (word-for-word) means "the two of them look strong." During a regular interpretation of a conversation that included that sentence, if we keep the form of the literal translation, our audience will misunderstand what was meant.

In linguistics, form is called "surface structure" and meaning is called "deep structure". Deep structure is more universal than surface structure. The meaning components of most languages can be divided into (1) things, (2) actions (Larson calls them "events" but I find this confusing), (3) attributes, and (4) relations. The most basic sentence type (expression of a complete thought) is a declarative sentence:

_____t
BOOK, ME READ.

[Ask the class:] What is the action? [READ] What things are in this sentence? [BOOK, ME.] What is the relationship between ME and BOOK? [I am acting upon the book, which makes me the agent, and the book receives the action and is called a direct object.] Notice that this ASL sentence and the English sentence "I am reading a book" have the same deep structure (meaning), but the surface structure is different. In the English sentence, "I" is the subject, but in the ASL sentence BOOK is the focus or topic. One can also sign ME READ BOOK or say "A book is being read to me" (although it sounds awkward). The same deep structure can be represented by several different surface structures, even in the same language.

Since meaning is central in translation, it's important to realize that not all meaning is expressed directly or explicitly. Some meaning is assumed or implicit. This assumption is based on shared information that comes through common experiences or direct education. When one recovering alcoholic says to another "One day at a time", the implicit meaning is, "We alcoholics have a big challenge in trying to avoid falling back into our addiction. If we promise never to relapse (go back to drinking alcohol), we feel overwhelmed and will give up. We have to just work on avoiding alcohol today. Tomorrow we will start over." Both of them understand this partly because they learned it (direct education} while attending therapy or AA meetings and through counseling with their sponsors. Part of it has a meaning that non-alcoholics can not fathom on a visceral (gut) level.

Mostly we interpreters work alone, but for more complex assignments, such as interpreting a play, an often repeated legal text like the Miranda Rights, or a religious text, it makes sense to take it on as a translation project. Larson divides this task into (1) text, (2) target, (3) team, and (4) tools. The text is the source language document that is to be translated. When a voice track is added to a pre-existing videotape of an ASL text, it is often a translation that is being spoken. That is, the interpreter does not do it cold, but views the videotape several times and may even write a script of what the English will be. More often we are called up on to take an English text and decide how it will be signed for an artistic performance, a legal situation, or a religious service.

The target is the audience who will be witnessing the translation. What can we assume about: their knowledge of the topic being discussed and their language preference on the ASL-Signed English continuum? How will this text be used (such as when a religious leader uses a scriptural passage as a proof text to demonstrate his point)? If you had your "dream team", who would you like to be on it and how would you find them? For plays, a sign master may be needed to make sure that the final text follows the rules of ASL, looks natural, and captures the flavor of a given historical period or region. A content expert in either ASL or English may be used to explain special terms or concepts. An expert in the original language (if it was not first composed in ASL or English) may need to compare the English to the true historical original. A cultural expert in the foreign culture this text is from, if it is not mainstream US Hearing or Deaf culture. The final person who will speak or sign this text may be an actor who has none of the above skills but can produce it beautifully, as when a "voice talent" reads the soothing narratives you can hear during a nature film.

Tools can be written/signed information available in books, videotapes, CDs, audiotapes, or web sites. Books and web sites may take the form of a glossary, a dictionary, encyclopedia, thesaurus, or extended text in either language or across languages. In preparation, the translator(s) should list all resources that will be used, such as other members (if the team is not yet complete) and other tools as we have described above. Read the text in English several times. If the text is long, decide on the size of the unit to isolate for this stage of the process. Identify problem elements: (1) What does it look like visually? (2) How is it spatially related to the setting? (3) How can I mediate cultural differences? (3) How is it conceptually related to its own context, if it is found in a larger work? (4) What is the goal of using this passage in this place where it is being "performed"? (5) Does this passage need to be chronicalized (put the events in chronological order)? Determine a strategy for solving each problem above. Analyze the text in more detail: (A) Compare the English with the original language of the text if it was translated and you have a team member who can do this. (B) Read commentaries on this passage. (C) Look up any specialized terms in a reference book. (D) You previously visualized the setting, now visualize how the action takes place step by step in this setting.

One of the most translated texts in the world is the Bible. Most of translation scholarship started by analyzing how to handle this document. There is a summary of the process used in a Japanese Sign Language translation of the bible at Japan Deaf Evangel Mission: The translation process. [Teacher at this point will hand out a copy of this and discuss it with the class.] Now you can begin the actual translation process: (1) Write out a glossed trial script for this portion. It is suggested that the ASL be written in all uppercase (capital) letters to distinguish it from English. (2) Perform the script several times and see how it feels. (3) Make necessary adjustments until you are satisfied. (4) Videotape a significant chunk of the text. (5) When you have enough to show an extended text (perhaps the whole text if it isn't too long, have a Deaf consultant view the videotape for feedback. The consultant is to answer the following questions: (A) What was conceptually unclear? (B) What was ungrammatical in terms of space, facial expression, or body movement? (C) Were there any mistakes in register? (D) What looked "funny" (can't put your finger on it)? (E) Was anything culturally inappropriate? (6) Make necessary adjustments. (7) Integrate this chunk into previous chunks: (A) Does this chunk fit? (B) Should it be decentered? To decenter means "to look at the world through another's eyes or to include the other's perspective within one's own vision of things." (Postmodern terms from D to I.)

Translation exercises

[The teacher should make videotapes of Deaf people or interpreters performing a translation of the texts below that will be used for this workshop. Some of these texts already have such videotapes as will be mentioned below. For general audiences, do the Pledge of Allegiance, then the Star Spangled Banner, and finally the Gettysburg address. The teacher should look through the web sites listed below in "Tools for. . ." and find material s/he wish to share with the students. Print them out or summarize them for the students and encourage them to look at some of the others later if they are too detailed to go over during the workshop. For each of the texts the teacher decides to use, the teacher discusses this aloud with all students:]

(1) We have our text, who would you imagine the target (audience) will be? (2) What can we assume about: their knowledge of the topic being discussed and their language preference on the ASL-Signed English continuum? (3) How will this text be used? (4) If you had your "dream team", who would you like to be on it and how would you find them? (sign master, content expert in ASL or English, someone expert in the original language if it was not first composed in ASL or English, cultural expert in the foreign culture this is from if it is not mainstream US Hearing or Deaf culture, the performer of this translation if you can have anyone you wanted do it.) (5) We have some web tools listed below; what other tools might you use? (books, videotapes, CDs, audiotapes, or web sites: in the form of a glossary, a dictionary, encyclopedia, thesaurus, or extended text in either language or across languages.) These texts are not very long, so we know the size of the unit to isolate for this stage of the process. Identify problem elements: (6) What might this text look like visually? (7) How is it spatially related to the setting you are in? (8) Do I need to mediate cultural differences (Deaf, Hearing, foreign)? (9) How is it conceptually related to its own context, if it is found in a larger work? (10) Does this passage need to be put in chronological order)?

Pass out Translation feedback sheet (as many as are necessary for the number of texts and participants you will have); the appropriate worksheet: Star Spangled Banner, Pledge of Allegiance, Gettysburg address, Steps and Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous, Our Father/The Lord's Prayer, Credo/Apostles' Creed, Shema, Shemoneh Esreh for the Sabbath; and the appropriate gloss of an ASL translation of: The Star Spangled Banner or make a gloss of the translations you video for study purposes.

The students will break up into groups of three and start the translation process: (1) The students will write out a trial script for this portion. They can discuss ideas with each other, but they should write their own script, which they will perform. It is suggested that the ASL be written in all uppercase (capital) letters to distinguish it from English. (2) Each student will perform the script several times to her/himself and see how it feels. (3) Make necessary adjustments until satisfied. (4) When enough time has elapsed, call on student and videotape their translations onto their own VT for them to keep. (5) When everyone in the group is finished, have a Deaf participant or consultant view the videotape or if none is available show it the smaller group or the class in general for feedback: (A) What was conceptually unclear? (B) What was ungrammatical in terms of space, facial expression, or body movement? (C) Were there any mistakes in register? (D) What looked "funny" (can't put your finger on it)? (E) Was anything culturally inappropriate? (Students fill out the translation feedback sheet for this part.) (6) After all the students have had a chance to do their translation, show them a videotape of a Deaf person or interpreter doing a translation of the same texts. Here are some professional translations that are commercially available:
Information on A.A.
Star Spangled Banner: Deaf Culture autobiographies: Gilbert Eastman. Sign Enhancers, Inc; VHS: 40 minutes each; signed in ASL; no captions; voiced. Internationally acclaimed Gilbert Eastman gives the intimate details of his life--the frustrations and the triumphs--as well as two delightful performance pieces [including his stirring translation of the Star Spangled Banner]. Interpreted by well-known author and actor Lou Fant.

Tools for the Pledge of Allegiance


American Legion. Pledge of Allegiance. Click on "Download Pledge in Sign Language."
Baer, J. W. The strange origin of the Pledge of Allegiance.
Conversations: On law and liberty in times of crisis - Pathway: Pledging Allegiance.
Furnare, C. (14 June 2001). What the Pledge means on Flag Day 2001 or alternate site.
Jennings, C. To pledge or not to pledge: Historical facts behind the writing of "The Pledge of Allegiance".
Longo Tuccelli, M. Pledge of Allegiance/National Anthem are demonstrated and explained. Video can be used as a guide for deaf children (and cheerleaders). Signed, voiced with on-screen text. At end of tape, you will see a "live" rendition of this at the Florida Folk Festival.
VanWert, S. (8 June 200). What does 'pledging allegiance' mean to us?

Tools for the Star Spangled Banner


Eastman, G. Deaf Culture autobiographies: Gilbert Eastman. Sign Enhancers, Inc; VHS: 40 minutes each; signed in ASL; no captions; voiced. Internationally acclaimed Gilbert Eastman gives the intimate details of his life--the frustrations and the triumphs--as well as two delightful performance pieces [including his stirring translation of the Star Spangled Banner]. Interpreted by well-known author and actor Lou Fant.
Francis Scott Key. Suggested handout for its history.
Longo Tuccelli, M. Pledge of Allegiance/National Anthem are demonstrated and explained. Video can be used as a guide for deaf children (and cheerleaders). Signed, voiced with on-screen text. At end of tape, you will see a "live" rendition of this at the Florida Folk Festival.
7 year old sings National Anthem - Anthony Gargiula. What a voice!
Star Spangled Banner. Good images.
The writing of The Star Spangled Banner.

Tools for the Gettysburg Address


Bar-Tzur, D. (ed.) "Lincoln at Gettsyburg". Excerpts from an online discussion of the Gettysburg Address. Suggested handout for its meaning. Have the students read the summary for now and the body of the document on their own.
The history place: Battle of Gettysburg. A concise history of the battle itself.

Other texts


Use these texts if you feel they are more appropriate for your audience.

Tools for the Steps and Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous


Alcoholics Anonymous (First 164 pages only - Big Book) in American Sign Language (ASL) - 5 volume set 1/2"-VHS (VS-3). Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. PO Box 459, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing AA 12 step recovery resources.
Kirkpatrick. K. E. J. (1999, December 10). Interpreting AA (and other 12-step) meetings.
Minnesota Chemical Dependency Program for the Deaf.
RID. Standard practices paper:
SAISD (Substance and Alcohol Intervention Services for the Deaf).

Tools for Our Father/Lord's Prayer


B. W. Johnson's People's New Testament: Matthew 6.
Children Pray: Our Father.
The complete Matthew Henry commentary on the Bible: Matthew 6.
DeafJesus.org. The Lord's Prayer.
Exploring primitive Christiantiy: Prayer.
The Geneva Study Bible: Matthew 6.
Jamieson, Faussett, and Brown Bible commentary: Matthew 6.
John Darby's Synopsis of the New Testament: Matthew 5-7.
John Gill's Exposition of the entire Bible: Matthew 6.
John Lightfoot's Commentary on the New Testament: Matthew 6.
John Wesley's Notes on the Bible: Matthew 6.
Lord's Prayer, Our Father.
McGarvey and Pendleton's Fourfold Gospel commentary: Matthew 6.
The Our Father.
Our Father: A Study of the Lord's Prayer.
Prayer - The Lord's Prayer.
Sign of the Cross and the Our Father. Interlinear translation from Latin.
Vitalis Hoffman, M. G. A study of the Lord's Prayer.

Tools for the Credo/Apostles' Creed


Advanced information.
Apostles' Creed.
The Apostles' Creed versus Gnosticism.
Catholic Forum: The Apostles' Creed.
DeafJesus.org. Apostle's Creed.
The Free Reformed Churches of North America: The Apostles' Creed.
In Sign Language Series: Apostles' Creed. It uses a step-by-step, sign-by-sign approach. Great for Sunday School teachers, interpreters and home use. Learn The Apostles' Creed. It is signed and voiced the first time through, then goes back and explains everything.
Ken Collins' web site.
Little children pray.
Net Ministries.

Tools for the Shema

If the link is not directly to the Sh'ma, click on the following three parshiyot (weekly Torah reading, their spellings vary) and read the commentary on the subsection mentioned in brackets, all of which comprise the Shema - Vaethchanan [Devarim (Deut) 6:4-9], Re'eh [Devarim (Deut) 11:13-21], and Shelach [BaMidbar (Num) 15:37-41].

About.com. Ask Rabbi Simmons: Shema.
Blessings of the Shema and the Shema.
Iskowitz, Y. Y. Shema.
The Shema.
Simmons, S. Ask the Rabbi: Shema.
Anshe Emes Parsha page. A summary of the parsha and short divrei Torah from a number of great historical scholars.
Dvar Torah archive - The Breslov Research Institute. Specifically Breslov perspective.
Forethoughts and afterthoughts - JewishAmerica. An integrated approach.
Haaros. More advanced and philosophical.
Ohr Yerushalayim - Divrei Torah. The YOY Online Dvar Torah Library has over 200 Divrei Torah available on the weekly Parsha, Chagim and Rosh Chodesh. Contributors to this page include both Rebeiim in the Yeshiva and alumni from various years.
Ohrnet archives - Ohr Somayach interactive.
Parsha archives - Ohr Torah Stone.
Parsha encounters - Chicago Community Kollel.
Parsha Q&A - Ohr Somayach interactive. In depth questions on Parashat HaShavua with Rashi.
Parshat HaShavua: The weekly Torah portion - ShemaYisrael. A variety of commentaries.
Project Genesis. More than a dozen commentaries (Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced.)
P'shuto shel Mikra.
Shamash: The Jewish Network Divrei Torah -- Commentaries. Immense.
Shema Yisrael Torah Network.
Surf a little Torah - Yeshivat Har Etzion.
Torah insights - Orthodox Union.
Torah MiTzion.
Torah of Modzitz. Click on Torah.
Torah Outreach Program.
Torah tidbits - Orthodox Union.
Torah portion - torah.org. Click on "Torah portion", which offers "Beginner", "Intermediate" and "Advanced".
Torah weekly - Ohr Somayach interactive.
TORAT HAYIM - Living Torah Torah Study for Reform Jews
Vortify Yourself - Adath Jeshurun of Newport News.
Weekly dvar.
Weekly Torah portion - Aish.com.
Weekly Torah portion - Chabad.org.
Women's view on the Parsha - JewishAmerica.
Yeshivat Hakotel.

Tools for the Shemoneh Esreh


First Berakha - Avot.
Guide to the Shir Hadash Shabbat Morning Service. (Scroll down to Amidah).
HaShem Sefatai Tiftach.
Introduction: Tefila
An overview of the Amidah Prayer.
Schoenberg, S. The Amidah.
Torczyner, M. Structure and language of the Amidah.
Waskow, A. The Amidah for Shabbat: The Seven Blessings.

Tools for the Steps and Traditions of AA


The 12 suggested steps of AA.
The 12 traditions of AA.
Alcoholics Anonymous (First 164 pages only - Big Book) in American Sign Language (ASL) - 5 volume set 1/2"-VHS (VS-3).
Bar-Tzur, D.
12 Steps of AA gloss. An ASL translation.
12 Traditions of AA gloss. An ASL translation.

Concordance to the Big Book.
Information on Alcoholics Anonymous.
The Minnesota Chemical Dependency Program for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals.
Stained glass bulletSigns of sobriety is committed to promoting the efforts of all deaf and hard-of-hearing persons to realize their fullest potential as active, productive members of society. SOS's mission is to significantly reduce the risk factors that lead to alcohol and drug misuse for people who are deaf and hard-of-hearing. SOS is dedicated to empowering this population, by working with individuals and organizations who strive to prevent chemical dependency and those that seek to support the recovery efforts of deaf and hard-of-hearing substance abusers.

General resources for this workshop


Andersson, L. and P. Trudgill. (1990). Bad Language. Penguin Books. ASIN: 0140125086.
Beare, K. (n.d.) Register use in English.
Finegan, E. and N. Besnier. (November 1998). "Registers: Language variation in situations of use." Chapter 13 of Language: Its structure and use. Paperback 3rd edition HBJ College & School Division; ISBN: 0155078275.
Gregory, M. (1967). "Aspects of Varieties Differentiation." Journal of Linguistics 3, no. 2, 177-274.
Halliday, M.A.K. (1989).
"Anti-Languages." American Anthropologist 78, 570-584.
Language, context, and text: Aspects of language in a social-semiotic perspective. 2nd ed. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. ASIN: 0194371549.

Joos, M. (1976). The Five Clocks. New York: Harcourt, Brace, & World. ASIN: 0156313804.
Larson, M. L. (November 28, 1997). Meaning based translation. University Press of America. ISBN: 0761809716.
Montgomery, M. (1986). "Language and situation: Register." Ch. 6 of An introduction to language and society. London and New York: Methuen & Co. ASIN: 0416346200.
Pledge of Allegiance and Star Spangled Banner are demonstrated and explained. Video can be used as a guide for deaf children (and cheerleaders). Signed, voiced with on-screen text. 30 minutes. Maureen Longo Tuccelli, CI, Instructor. At end of tape, you will see a "live" rendition of this at the Florida Folk Festival!
Riggs, T. Register: Comparing ASL & English. Signs of Development, Inc. "This workshop will compare the components of register discussing the five different levels. A focus on comparing differences between ASL and English registers will allow the participants to identify those aspects of register in their native language as well as the language with which they work as interpreters. . . Participants will focus on the use of appropriate word choices for the appropriate level of register and be able to apply that work utilizing video clips of content-similar information across registers in both ASL and English." To order.
University of South Australia. Register.

Footnotes

  1. See (Explanation of the glossing system).
  2. See the full reference for Larson's book in "Resources for this workshop" above.
  3. For more information on prosody, see Interpreting for children, where you will find a section so named.

Image credits

A. From http://www.main.org/aa/announce.htm (Alcoholics Anonymous Hill Country Intergroup, Austin, Texas) which is no longer extant.

B. Catholic Information Network - Calendar 1997.

C. FreedomForum.org: Alabama students say school punished them for not reciting pledge.

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