I am not currently teaching ASL3380: Transliteration.

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What is transliteration?

Defining something that has historically resisted definition

Though its merits and practice have been debated since Ball State and the early days of professional interpreting, there is not a good consensus about the definition, process, and successful outcome or product of transliteration. In order to become better practitioners of transliteration, we need to 1) better understand what it is and what it is not and 2) discuss differences and similarities in the process, product, skills and abilities, and application of transliterating work.

Here are some bullet points/learning outcomes of which we might want to be aware:


Kelly, Transliterating: Show Me The English
Chapter 1 (pp. 1–4) Required

Crafting a user story Required

User stories are popular in agile software developing environments; they are specifically formulated and written to represent business value that a development team can deliver in an iteration period. User stories typically shift focus away from requirements and help developers identify a user type, function, and benefit or a role, feature, and reason. How can user stories help us define transliteration better in context? How many ‘user type/roles’ are there? What are the benefits for these user types?

Transliteration Library

Comparison representations of SL transliterating and ASLinterpreting

Side-by-side representations of interpreting vs. transliterating (Youtube)

Hat tip to Vanessa (Spr16) for this.

Side-by-side representations of interpreting vs. transliterating (Youtube)

Transliteration: What’s the message? (Winston) Required

(pp. 147–151) Winston’s 1989 article should probably be considered the seminal writing on transliteration in professional signed-language interpreting. This article set out a definition (such as it is) of the practice and empirically looks at skills and communication strategies that a test transliterator used in producing work.

Winston, E.A. (1989). “Transliteration: What’s the message?” In C. Lucas (Ed.), Sociolinguistics of the Deaf Community, 147–164. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Transliterating: The interpreting no one wants to talk about (Malcolm)

Both this and Malcolm’s 2005 article give good definitions of transliteration, its product and process, the concept of ‘contact sign,’ and the impact of transliterated product on consumers.

Malcolm, K. (1992). Transliterating: The interpreting no one wants to talk about. In Interpreters – Bridging the Gap: Conference Papers of the Association of Visual Language Interpreters of Canada, 59–67. Edmonton: Association of Visual Language Interpreters of Canada.

Text/HTML version of “Transliteration: The Interpreting No One Wants To Talk About...”

Contact sign, transliteration and interpretation in Canada (Malcolm) Required

(pp. 108–119, 127–128) Malcolm, K. (2005). “Contact Sign, Transliteration and Interpretation in Canada.” In Janzen, T. (Ed.). Topics in Sign Language Interpreting. Amsterdam; Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Historical development of the definition of transliteration (Siple) Required

(pp. 4–9) Siple, L. A. (1997). Historical development of the definition of transliteration. In M.L. McIntire & S. Wilcox, Eds. Journal of Interpretation, 77–100) Silver Springs, MD: RID Publications

“Defining interpretation and transliteration.” (RID Views) Required

“Defining interpretation and transliteration.” (1996) RID VIEWS, 13(5; May), 19. Silver Spring, MD: RID Publications. (Derived from Winston, Elizabeth. (1989). “Transliteration: What’s the Message?”)

Effectiveness Compared: ASL Interpretation vs. Transliteration (Livingston, Singer, & Abrahamson)

(pp. 2–4) Livingston, Singer, & Abrahamson (1994); Sign Language Studies, 82, Spring.

Demystifying Sign Language Transliteration: Utilizing the Source of Research to Achieve the Target of Competency (Sofinski) Recommended

(pp. 11–17) Sofinski, B.A. (2006). “Demystifying Sign Language Transliteration: Utilizing the Source of Research to Achieve the Target of Competency” In A New Chapter in Interpreter Education: Accreditation, Research, & Technology, The Proceedings of the Fifteenth Conference of Interpreter Trainers. Little Rock, AR: Conference of Interpreter Trainers

Marking topic boundaries in signed interpretation and transliteration (Winston & Monikowski) Recommended

(pp. 2–5) Winston, Elizabeth & Monikowski, Christine. (2004). “Marking Topic Boundaries in Signed Interpretation and Transliteration.” In Metzger, Melanie et al. (eds) From topic boundaries to omission: New research on interpretation, 187–227. Studies in Interpretation Series. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press.

Transliteration: The consumer’s perspective (Viera & Stauffer)

(p. 84) Viera, J. A. & Stauffer, L. K. (2000). Transliteration: the consumer’s perspective. In Watson, D., (Ed.) Journal of Interpretation, 89–98. Silver Springs, MD: RID Publications.

The use of addition in sign language transliteration (Siple)

(pp. 30–32) Siple, L. (1996). “The Use of Addition in Sign Language Transliteration.” In D.M. Jones, (ed.) Assessing Our Work: Assessing Our Worth Proceedings of the Eleventh National Convention Conference of Interpreter Trainers, 29–45. Little Rock, AR: Conference of Interpreter Trainers.

Lexical Equivalence in Transliterating for Deaf Students in the University Classroom: Two Perspectives

(pp. 168–169) Locker, R. (1990). Lexical equivalence in transliterating for deaf students in the university classroom: Two perspectives. Issues in Applied Linguistics 1(2), 167–195.