Suggestions for Working with these Texts

1.  Watch texts for language use and information.

Mike talks about some specific situations—demonstrating interesting ways to describe both current and historical events.  Within these clips,  you can both learn about the Minnesota and the world—and you can see how to describe these events in ASL.

2.  Watch texts for discourse features.

Because these texts come from an authentic interaction with an audience of interpreters, you can watch the texts for ways that Mike shifts his discourse to interact with his audience.  Notice how he shifts between topics.  How he uses repetition, clarification, and questions to be sure his audience is still with him.  Also, notice his use of ASL sprinkled with many English idioms.  Within all of the texts, there is much to see.

3.  Practice interpretations and analyze them for equivalence.

  1. Select a source text—initially one of the shorter, more straight forward texts.
  2. Create and videotape (or audiotape) an interpretation/translation of the text.  (This process can happen consecutively, simultaneously, or a as a process of translation, depending on your intent and area of focus.  The critical factor is that you should feel in control of the process.  If you feel out of control, try a process such as consecutive interpreting which allows you more control or do more preparation by using the written summary as support before attempting the interpretation.  For details, see the free Independent Study Packet available here.
  3. View/listen to your interpretation.  (Be sure that you cannot see the source text.)
  4. Create an outline/map of your interpretation. (See sample next page for outlining techniques.)
  5. If necessary, watch interpretation again to complete outline or map.
  6. View/listen to source text.
  7. Create outline/map of that text. (Don?t begin outlining until the entire text is complete.)
  8. If necessary, watch video again to complete outline or map. (At this point, use the summary of the text for support if necessary.)
  9. Write outlines/draw maps side by side to facilitate analysis.
  10. Do analysis of equivalence of interpretation with source text.  Begin with these questions in mind:
    a. Is the meaning of the target language the same as that of the source language?
    b. Is the message clearly understood by the audience for whom the message was intended?
    c. Is the form natural?

(Notice if there are any patterns to differences.  Any areas where the outline of the interpretation demonstrates lack of clarity in the points made, or transitions between points?)

The outline below is by no means the only way that text could be outlined or mapped.  However, it does represent a way in which the main points and supporting details can be organized to show their relationship.  The main points begin further to the left on the outline and the details are nested to the right underneath the points which they support.  This is an attempt to focus more on the content of the text than on its form.  That is, it focuses on meaning, rather than on what individual signs were used.

Sample Outline for Schools on in a Blizzard

  1. Story about Principal
    1. Mr. Easterline
      1. Name sign A-C-E
    2. At MSD
    3. Also sheep farmer
  2. A snowy day
    1. Heavy snowfall
    2. Students excited
      1. Thought school cancelled
      2. In boys? dorm
        1. Barron Hall
      3. Looking through windows
    3. Tractor coming to campus
        1. John Deere
      1. Easterline arriving
    4. Students called to class
      1. After Phone Rings
    5. Students felt not fair
      1. Hearing students had no school
      2. Went through tunnels to class
    6. Principal called teachers
      1. Teachers came on snowmobiles
    7. Had class all day
  3. Principal driving on tractor to school Very memorable

With an outline of an interpretation done in a similar manner, then they can be compared and contrasted to see how equivalent the interpretation really is.  In doing these outlines, you can also make notes and comments about the text or interpretation.  For example, if I didn?t catch that he spelled “John Deere” I could put a note there in that spot like “?Fingerspelled something?”  Similarly, you can make notes in outlines for interpretations if there are sections that are unclear.

These directions were developed for an Independent Study Packet in connection with  “Life in Parallel.”  Click here for more information.  The process itself draws heavily on ideas and work described in two articles:

Ross, L. and Criner, S.,  “Equivalence Assessments:  Bridging the Gap Between Theory and Practice,” in Swabey, ed. (2002) New Designs in Interpreter Education.  Conference of Interpreter Trainers.

Winston, E.A. and Monikowski, C., “Discourse Mapping:  Developing Textual Coherence Skills,” in Interpreters,” in Roy, ed. (2000) Innovative Practices for Teaching Sign Language Interpreters.  Washington, DC:  Gallaudet University Press.

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