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Interpreting is the skill of explaining or giving the meaning. A child may ask, “Mommy, the preacher said Jesus lives inside our hearts. Is Jesus really small?” The mother must interpret or explain. Sign language interpreting is not just signing words. Spoken words move messages from one ear to another. But sign language interpreters move messages from the ear to the eye.

Spoken languages share meaning using words, grammar, voice inflection, pauses, and methods that can be heard. Signed languages share meaning using signs, grammar (though very different from spoken language grammar), facial expressions, space, and methods that can be seen. Sign language interpreters must share a “heard” message visually. The interpretation changes languages (English to ASL) and also modes (spoken to visual). An ASL interpreter’s brain gets tired before his hands.

Also, interpreting between spoken languages is most often done consecutively, one after the other. Interpreting between spoken and signed languages is most often done simultaneously, that is, while someone is speaking, the interpreter is signing, or, while someone is signing, the interpreter is voicing. A lot is happening at the same time!

Church interpreters have a great responsibility, but also the great privilege of helping share God’s Word with others. How can they accomplish such a great task? The Apostle Paul said an interpreter should, “Pray that he may interpret” (1 Corinthians 14:13). Interpreters should pray for their interpretation. Church members should pray for interpreters. Deaf people should pray for their interpreters. All should pray that the message of God’s Word would be clear in sign language. SWM is here to help. Contact us or view our website and store: SilentWord.org.
More Info: click here or call 706-657-8000.

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