For many years now on and off since college I have had the privilege of being a Sign Language interpreter. I have had the opportunity to interpret for the birth of a child, for job training, for funerals and for two years in the public schools.
There are slightly varying philosophies on exactly what an interpreter’s job is, and if you are interested in knowing the prevailing standards you can look them up at the RID website. But in plain English this is what I try to do when I interpret.
As a Sign Language interpreter I don’t transliterate. That means I don’t sign word for word. There is not a sign to correspond to every single English word. Of course, all words can be spelled, but simply spelling doesn’t always convey clearly the meaning. The idea of interpreting well means being able to sign as closely as possible the real meaning…
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