Interpreting into international sign pidgin: An analysis

Rachel Locker McKee, Jemina Napier

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    34 Citations (Scopus)


    The nature of International Sign Pidgin has been recently described and discussed in various studies and papers (Moody 1987; Coppock 1990; Supalla 1991; Padden 1993; Scott Gibson & Ojala 1994; Webb & Supalla 1994, 1995; Allsop, Woll & Brauti 1995; Allsop 1996; Bergmann 1996). Although international sign has been used in interpreting for almost twenty years, no empirical research has described the unique phenomenon of international sign interpreting. This study analyzes data samples of interpretation from spoken English into International Sign Pidgin at international conferences and sports meetings. Predominant linguistic characteristics of the target language output are identified in the first section, while the second section describes strategies that international interpreters use to manage the task of processing input while producing a comprehensible message in a partially improvised language form. Examples demonstrate how international interpreters take a free approach to interpretation, aiming for equivalence at text level in most instances. International interpreters are shown to be more than conduits, as their interpreting decisions indicate extensive use of contextual knowledge, inferencing, audience awareness, and considerations of relevance and efficiency in the process of interpretation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)27-54
    Number of pages28
    JournalSign Language and Linguistics (Online)
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


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