Extralinguistic Knowledge: Why Is It So Important in Interpreting?


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by Naomi Sheneman

In the interpreting profession, we often talk about how important it is to take jobs tied to topic manners that we are familiar with. For example, someone who hates or knows nothing about cooking may not be best suited for interpreting for a culinary arts student. The interpreter may not be prepared to provide a conceptually clear interpretation of “Fold in the eggs.” How would one express the ASL interpretation for the word, fold in? There is actually a name for that contextual knowledge that is discussed in spoken language interpreting research: extralinguistic knowledge (ELK). Daniel Gile (1995) was the first known researcher to present the idea of extralinguistic knowledge. Let’s first dissect the word, extralinguistic. Extra- outside. Linguistic- language. Extralinguistic knowledge essentially means any knowledge one possesses that is outside knowledge of the language. As sign language interpreters in the United States, we know English and American Sign Language. Those two languages make up our linguistic knowledge. Everything else is knowledge that we built upon throughout in our lives through our experiences, including implicit and explicit learning.

Gile (1995) proposes a formula to represent the relationship between extralinguistic knowledge (ELK) and knowledge of language (KL): C= KL + ELK. The letter C is comprehension. Gile’s premise is that if one has the right type of extralinguistic knowledge, there will be comprehension which is necessary for processing interpretation or translation outputs. Back to the example I mentioned earlier, the phrase “fold in” would not be understood by the interpreter which in turn compels them to go with the form typically used for the words FOLD IN. If the interpreter chooses to go with the form rather than meaning-based interpretation, the consumers will then not understand what is going on. It is in my belief that with the right type of extralinguistic knowledge and language knowledge, the interpreter is able to let go of form and focus on the meaning, opening them up to range of sign choices appropriate for the interpretation. Research in spoken language interpreting thus far has supported the value of having the right extralinguistic knowledge for any given situation. Several studies have reached the conclusion that the right type of extralinguistic knowledge improves the quality of interpreters and translators (Kościałkowska-Okońska, 2012; Kim, 2006; Wu, 1994).

What does this all mean? I am challenging the notion that many interpreters usually take by calling themselves “medical interpreter”, “educational interpreter,”, and “legal interpreter.” Those labels are very broad and do not offer the actual picture of what those interpreters know. One medical interpreter who is familiar with oncology and without any familiarity in cardiology might not be fit to interpret for cardiology appointments and would be best for oncology appointments. Notably, sign language interpreting is a vocation that many depend on as the sole source of income. In order to ensure livelihood, it is easy for many of us to focus on that automatically without considering carefully whether we are the right fit for the job. Remember, it is about providing optimal communication access to Deaf consumers. The second tenet of the RID’s CPC states: “Interpreters possess the professional skills and knowledge required for the specific interpreting,” (RID, 2005, p. 2). Interpreters and translators with appropriate extralinguistic base could greatly benefit the Deaf consumers that they serve.

 


References:

Gile, D. (1995). Basic concepts and models for interpreter and translator training. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: John Benjamins.

Kim, R. (2006, June). Use of extralinguistic knowledge in translation. Meta, 51(2), 284-303.

Kościałkowska-Okońska (2012). Translation professionalism and translation quality in

interpreter training: A survey. In L. Bogucki & M. Deckert (Eds.), Teaching translation

and interpreting: Advances and perspectives (p. 93-106).

Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. (2005). NAD-RID Code of Professional Conduct. Retrieved from http://www.rid.org/UserFiles/File/NAD_RID_ETHICS.pdf.

Wu, J. (1994). Task-oriented and comprehensive training of translators and interpreters. In R.K. Seymour & C.C. Liu (Eds.), Translation and interpreting: Bridging east and west. Selected conference papers Volume 8 (p. 85-98). Honolulu, Hawaii: University of Hawaii College of Languages, Linguistics and Literature.

 


 

Naomi Sheneman, M.A., M.S., & CDI

Naomi Sheneman, M.A., M.S., & CDI has been working professionally in the interpreting profession since 2000 in various roles. She is currently working as the Vice President of Business Affairs for Network Interpreting Service and as an adjunct ASL-English interpreter education faculty at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. She is also a doctoral candidate at Gallaudet University in the Interpretation program. She co-developed ASL-English Interpreting Diagnostic Assessment Rubrics. She co-authored a case study of hearing and Deaf interpreters’ work in an international conference involving several sign languages. She recently published her study of Deaf interpreters’ ethics.

Idaho ASL Interpreter Licensing Town Hall Meetings


—Passing Along–

Information from Idaho RID’s Facebook page:

Interested in learning more about the Idaho sign language interpreting licensure bill?

Join us for a town hall forum:
Thursday, May 8th at 7pm
Idaho State University – Meridian, Room 689
1311 E. Central Ave., Meridian, Idaho

We will discuss the highlights and rationale of the bill, and look forward to your questions and feedback on the bill.

After 7pm, you do not need a parking pass. Enter the campus and follow the signs to ISU. Come in the main entrance. The doors in the building lock at 7pm, so you will need to wait for someone to come get you if you arrive late. We will send someone to check at 7:10pm. The meeting will be held in room 689.

For those of you attending this meeting via distance learning in Idaho Falls, go to 1784 Science Center Dr., Idaho Falls, ID 83402, and go to the CHE building, which is on the left. You will need a parking pass, so RSVP to Holly Thomas-Mowery, and she will send you one via email.

For folks living in Northern Idaho:
Town Hall Meeting
Sponsored by:
The Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Idaho Association of the Deaf
Idaho Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf
Date: Thursday, May 15, 2014
Location: Shilo Inn Suites – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
702 West Appleway
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
CDA Room
Time: 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Please come and discuss the future of Interpreter Licensing in Idaho. We are interested in your thoughts, ideas and recommendations. This open forum will give you an opportunity to talk about your concerns and give you a chance to relay them.

Who Should Attend: Interpreters, Deaf/hard of hearing individuals, parents Legislators, teachers, those who enlist interpreter services or anyone with an interest in this issue.

Facilitators: Steven Snow, Executive Director of the Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Alan Wilding, President Idaho Association of the Deaf
Questions: Call (208) 334-0879
Interpreters will be provided.

To view or download the Sign Language Interpreter Licensure bill (draft), please check out the links on the front page of IdahoRID website:http://www.idahorid.org/home

Please let Steven Snow, Alan Wilding, or any member of the task force know if you have any questions!

Stefanie Saltern,
IAD Secretary 2013-2015

RID Special Election Results


The RID has announced the results of the recently held special election for the positions of Secretary and Deaf Member-at-Large on the RID Board of Directors.

Here are the results:

For Secretary:
*Daryl Crouse 1243 (49.3%)
Jonathan Webb 785 (31.1%)
Caroline Bass 493 (19.6%)

For Deaf Member-at-Large:
*Priscilla Moyers 1436 (57.0%)
Branton Stewart 1085 (43.0%)

The voting began on January 1, 2014, and ended at 11:59pm EST, January 31, 2014.

Here is their signed video announcement:

Announcement: A ONE DEAF-WOMAN SHOW IN COLORADO


 A NIGHT of Improv with Trix Bruce: “WHOSE ASL IS IT?”

You’ve heard of the TV Show “Whose line is it anyway?” right?  Now, it’s coming to a stage near you, only this time it’s in ASL!  With no practice, no preparation, using different ideas from the audience, and using people from audience, Trix will captivate you with her impromptu mode of “ASL-libing” and a night of hearty laughter!

April 11-12, 2013
6:30 pm
 

Location: CSDB Gottlieb Building
At Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind
33 North Institute Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80903

Admission:

$ 5.00/person          
$15.00/family
 
Purchase tickets at the CSDB Administration Building Front Desk OR
Mail to : CSDB~ Diane Covington~ 33 North Institute Street~ Colorado Springs, CO~ 80903

RID CEUs available

Patricia (“Trix”) Bruce, who is Deaf, delightful and dynamic, is an extraordinary performing artist with a spirited audience-participation entertainment style. Drawing on her background in American Sign Language (ASL) Linguistics and a life of travel and adventure, Trix excels in hilarious true-to-life storytelling and impromptu, interactive ASL artistry. Diverse interests from business to stage performance led Trix to entrepreneurial success as an instructional presenter and sought-after entertainer. Trix is also an approved sponsor for the RID Certificate Maintenance Program. Enthusiastic audiences all across America celebrate Trix Bruce! To learn more about Trix Bruce, check out her website … www.trixbruce.com

Idaho RID Workshop


**REMINDER**

For our friends in the Idaho Region:

Upcoming workshops on October 12th and October 13th, 2012:

IdahoRID and Sorenson Communications Presents!

“Everything You (May or May Not) Want to Know about Audiology”
0.3 CEUs (General Studies)

Presenter: Dr. Mary Whitaker, AuD, CCC-A

When: Friday, October 12th, 2012
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

And

“Interpreting for Children with Cochlear Implants”
0.6 CEUs (Professional Studies)

Presenter:
Barbara Young, MS, NIC

When:
Saturday, October 13th, 2012
8:30 AM – 11:30 AM and 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM
NOTE: Lunch & IdahoRID Membership Meeting will be held from 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM. Lunch will be provided and everyone is welcome and encouraged to participate!

Both workshops will be held at:

Idaho School for the Deaf and the Blind
1450 Main Street
Gooding, Idaho 83330
Multi-Purpose Room

For more information please visit www.idahorid.org

Naomi Sheneman Joins R.I.D. Board of Directors



Network Interpreting Service, Inc. is proud to share the following announcement from the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID).

Naomi Sheneman, the Kaizen Director of NIS, is beginning her term as a member of the RID Board of Directors! She will be serving as the Deaf Member at Large and will no doubt be a great asset to the organization and our profession.

Please visit the following link for a full list of the current RID Board of Directors:

http://www.rid.org/aboutRID/leadership/index.cfm/AID/35.

Advice on Displaying Your Credentials from the R.I.D.


Displaying Your Credential

One of the privileges of achieving RID certification is the ability to show your credential on your business card, resume, brochures or other advertisements, etc. Your credentials (also called “post-nomial abbreviations”) should be displayed only after your full name (with or without middle initial) in the following order:
1.
Given names (Jr., II, etc.)

2.
Academic degrees from highest level to lowest level above a bachelor degree (bachelor degree credentials are not typically displayed)

3.
State licensure credentials

4.
Professional certifications (such as RID credentials)

Certificants who hold more than one RID certification should display them in the following order: IC, TC, IC/TC, CSC, MCSC, RSC, OIC:V/S, OIC:S/V, OIC:C, CI, CT, CI and CT, CDI, NIC, NIC Advanced, NIC Master, OTC, SC:PA, SC:L, NAD III, NAD IV, NAD V, Ed:K-12.

Here are a few examples of displaying the RID credentials:
Jane L. Doe, MS, CDI, CLIP-R
John Doe, Jr., QAST, CI and CT, Ed:K-12
Jane Lynn Doe, PhD, NIC, SC:L, NAD IV

(Source: http://www.rid.org/education/Newly%20Certified%20Info/index.cfm )