Brenda Nicodemus, Ph.D., Giulia Petitta, Ph.D., Mark Halley

Professor and Director
Gallaudet University
Washington, DC.

“This is the sign for..” Interpreting Metalinguistics Reference in Discourse

How do interpreters manage ‘language about language’? The presenters share their research on metalinguistic references. Among the linguistic challenges faced by sign language interpreters is how to manage metalinguistic references in discourse.

Metalinguistic references occur when a speaker uses language to talk about language. For example, a person may sign, “My name sign is” (followed by tapping the C handshape on the chin). In this situation, the interpreter must not only convey the meaning of the message but must also transmit information about the language production.

Metalinguistic references create a unique challenge for signed language interpreters since linguistic features do not neatly correspond with spoken languages. In this presentation, we describe types of metalinguistic references, and provide samples of how interpreters manage these challenges.

Lecturer Bio

Brenda Nicodemus, Ph.D., is Associate Professor in the Department of Interpretation at Gallaudet University, where she also serves as Director of the Center for the Advancement of Interpreting and Translation Research (CAITR) at Gallaudet. Her areas of research include translation asymmetry in bimodal bilinguals, healthcare interpreting, and ASL prosodic cues.

Lecturer Bio

Giulia Petitta, Ph.D., is an Italian Sign Language interpreter and linguist. Her research interests lie at the intersection between linguistics and interpreting studies. She conducted research on sign language discourse, sign language representation, and simultaneous interpretation. Currently she is Visiting Scholar in the Department of Interpretation at Gallaudet University.

Lecturer Bio

Mark Halley is a doctoral student in the Department of Interpretation at Gallaudet University. He holds a Master of Arts in Interpretation: Interpreting Research from Gallaudet University. Mark’s research interests include language directionality preference and skill in interpreters, discrimination and oppression among interpreters, and metalinguistic discourses in interpreting.

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