Sunday, September 29, 2013

Incredible Interpretations

This weekend I have been attending the Signed and Spoken Language Linguistics Festa at Minpaku (National Museum of Ethnology) in Suita, Osaka, Japan. The conference has included workshops on word order, number systems in sign languages, language description, documentation and sentence structure. On Saturday there was a screening of the Chinese film, "The White Tower," about deaf man and his struggles with marriage. After the film there was a Talk Show to discuss the film and the issues it raises.

One of the most fascinating parts of this conference was the amount of interpretation going on. The photo above illustrates the interpretation during the before-mentioned Talk Show. From left to right on the stage we can see an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter, the moderator, the two Chinese filmmakers with a Chinese to Japanese interpreter in between them, two panelists (one of them deaf), the Japanese Sign Language (JSL) interpreter (whose image is projected larger above her) and the International Sign (IS) interpreter. Seated in the front row are two more JSL interpreters for the deaf panelist. Furthermore, the event was being filmed and broadcast live on the internet. So there was a row of seats dedicated to video cameras, one camera for each interpreter and speaker. This was a very complex process but handled very smoothly I'd say. This shows the lengths humans want to and can communicate with others despite differing languages.

Minpaku website (in English):

Website for "Signed and Spoken Language Linguistics Festa" (in Japanese):

For more information about "The White Tower":

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