Strategies for Pratice

1.  Practice Prediction:

Choose a language to focus on.  For example, if you select ASL as your target for prediction, listen to the English segments of the interaction.  At the end of the turn, pause the video.  Then, make a prediction about what the ASL speaker will say. If working with a partner, make this prediction in ASL, not English, to better prepare your brain for that visual mode.  Then, watch the next segment to see how close your prediction was, and whether it assisted you in comprehending the message.

2.  Analyze Discourse Features:

There are many features of language and discourse that are unique to interactive situations.  Two researchers,Cynthia Roy and Melanie Metzger, make a very compelling case that for interpreters to be successful in managing this process, they must take an active role, rather than attempting to maintain the myth of neutrality.  Here are some of the features that require our attention:

  • Introductions
  • Summonses/Attention-Getting Strategies
  • Turn-taking & Overlap
  • Responses to questions aimed at the interpreter

You can also use the summaries of the situations to assist you in this undertaking.  Since this is a video interaction, not all of these features will be present, but attention to discourse features can contribute to better management of these situations.  More significantly, it will lead to more successful interpretations for actual inter-actions. The first resource listed in Strategy #5 gives a much more in-depth description of how to go about this process.

3.  Interpret in a consecutive manner.

Using the pause button, stop the video at natural pausing places, what linguists term “utterance boundaries.” In general, the ASL sections are shorter because the Deaf participants are generally asking for information, so it should be possible to watch most ASL portions in their entirety. The English sections generally will be longer than can be managed as a single “chunk.”

4.  Interpret in a simultaneous manner.

Particularly in the scenarios with both Jonie and Ketsi, attempt interpreting with a special focus of making it clear to the hearing person who is saying what.  Metzger and Roy call these “relaying factors” and they  signify an instance when interpreters need to generate contributions  in order on to make the event a success.

5.  Read through some of the literature about Interactive Discourse and Interpreting.

Metzger, Melanie, 2000. “Interactive Role-Plays as a Teaching Strategy,” in Roy, ed.  Innovative Practices forTeaching Sign Language Interpreters.  Washington, DC:  Gallaudet University Press.  (This article has a more extensive bibliography on the topic.)

Metzger, Melanie, 1999. “Footing Shifts,” in Winston,  ed. Storytelling and Conversation:  Discourse in DeafCommunities.  Washington, DC:  Gallaudet University Press.

Metzger, Melanie, 1999. Sign language interpreting:  Deconstructing the Myth of Neutrality.Washington, DC:Gallaudet University Press.

Roy, Cynthia. 1999.  Interpreting as a Discourse Process.  Oxford University Press.

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