MENU

Do you know there also exist deaf translators?

03.04.2017
Do you know there also exist deaf translators?
Translating is a word game that can keep you entertained for days and nights. It’s unchained joy when the long expected result is reached, but it’s also a tough job that often makes translators sweat blood.

Real translators have excellent proficiency of the source language, which means that they also have perfect knowledge of the idiomatics. They have a good ability to work with the target language, so that the reader does not have the impression to be solving a crossword puzzle, rather than reading a translated text. Equally important is the translator’s knowledge of everyday life and facts, as well as excellent familiarity with the subject in the given field of specialty.

A translator is a little like a Jack of all trades. In his work, he has to use a great deal of skills and craftsmanship to be able to compose words properly, in order to transpose precisely the author’s thoughts. 

Do you know there also exist deaf translators? (Mind you, we do not mean interpreters!)

Is it true that a word written in the native language is, for a deaf person, like a word in a foreign language? Maybe you tend to disbelieve this sentence – after all, anyone who can see can also read, right? True enough, but …

…people with hearing impairment learn to communicate by means of the sign language from early childhood. For them, the primary communication tools are their hands. Like when using letters to make up words, each sign uses differently configured hands, their movements, and their mutual juxtaposition in space to communicate. Although the sign language does not consist of sounds, so that it cannot be transcribed into vowels and consonants, it is a language that has a wealth of expressions, as well as its own grammar and rules.

Hearing people automatically presume that people with this handicap learn to read and write concurrently with the sign language. However, the reading process evolves completely differently with the deaf. The main problem of a deaf man is not the fact that he cannot hear. The problem is to learn his native language, despite this handicap. He may be able to read and write, but it may happen that laymen will not be able to comprehend his written texts properly.  

It is not too difficult to teach a deaf person read. However, it is difficult to teach him to read and comprehend fully what he is reading. In order to comprehend 

a written text and express the thoughts in it, he must have knowledge of an adequate volume of vocabulary and capability to understand the contents of a written text. Thus, to read and comprehend blocks of complex, structured sentences becomes for some deaf people an unattainable goal.

Deaf people learn their native tongue only when they learn to read. Their situation is de facto the same as that of a foreigner learning a new language. For deaf translators (not exclusively), the sign language is therefore more natural and simpler mode of communication, compared to a written text. All the more admiration do deaf translators deserve.

Have you ever wondered whether every country has its own sign language or whether there only exists one international form? And whether it is easier to communicate with foreigners by means of a spoken or sign language?

Sign language is not an international language. There exists a so-called national sign language, i.e., Czech sign language, French sign language, German sign language, etc. However, many of the signs evolve gradually. In some of them, the movements speed up or become shorter; in others, the non-dominant hand is no longer used, etc. Yet the individual signs, called classifiers - those representing a person or object in space – evolve minimally.  Since the classifiers are based on imitating a certain object, individual sign languages use similar or the same signs to express the same object.

Therefore, foreigners communicate with one another easier with the aid of a sign language than spoken.