Interactive Potpourri

Six Interactive Situations for Interpreting Practice

Strategies for Using this Resource

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, click on the pause button on the bottom left of the control strip. 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 interactions. 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.” Produce an interpretation without time constraints. Then press the play button and wait for another natural pause to repeat the process.

4. Interpret in a simultaneous manner.

Particularly in the scenarios with both Cheryl and Nancyi, 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 a instance when interpreters need 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 for Teaching Sign LanguageInterpreters. 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 Deaf Communities. 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.