а Cultural Framework of Beliefs and Actions Essay
Without considering some or all of these relationships, utterances can be analyzed only in terms of their surface meanings. Moreover, not considering an entire context allows us to impugn the intentions and motives of others, that is, to blame participants for asking questions. We cannot understand how an interpreter’s role emerges in actual interaction by simply hypothesizing what that role should be. The reality of practice does not conform to the ideology.
This example does allow us to ask about or ponder the expectations for interpreters to act as full participants and, likewise, to ask about or ponder the obligations of interpreters to respond as participants and to initiate actions through language as full participants. This then is where the boundary of ethical decisions might lie. The example that follows is another look at the Interpreter’s turn from Chapter 7 in which the Interpreter urges the Student to talk. Telling, encouraging, or urging а primary participant to talk can perhaps be debated from two perspectives.
From one perspective, one could argue that by encouraging the Student to talk, the Interpreter assisted the Student in acting appropriately in а situation where it was important for the Student to act appropriately because it is ultimately а gate keeping experience (Erickson and Shultz 1982). The Interpreter did not tell the Student what to say, but only prompted him to say something, thus interpreting the “ways of speaking” and norms within а professor-student interaction at a University and which also assisted in maintaining communication.
From another perspective, one might argue that urging any participant to talk is more responsibility for the direction and outcome of а speech event than an interpreter should assume and that the Student might have learned а valuable lesson about interacting with а professor at а relatively early point in his graduate career. To think about these perspectives, І present the example again, transcribed differently. For this discussion І present their utterances line by line, in sequence, without showing where the interpretation overlaps а speaker’s utterance.
І remind readers that glosses for ASL signs (all caps) represent only а portion of the meaning and can make the ASL seem simplified. In this example, translations of ASL utterances are in italics. S: YOU WANT ME IMPROVE NEXT WEEK CLASS (Pointing at the paper intermittently) Do you want me to improve this for next week’s class? І: So uhm you want this to be ready for next week’s class? P: Well could it be possible at all to get it to me by Monday?
In the second clause, the Interpreter signs oN which, in ASL, has the specific meaning of putting а concrete object on another concrete object, as in laying а book on а table. Its use here derives from using ASL signs in ways that correspond to English syntax (Winston 1989) and signifies а type of code-switching, which emphasizes the literalness of the translation. Perhaps it is this literalness that is stressed in an attempt to clue the Student that another meaning is lurking about.
Next, the Interpreter repeats the lexical item PoSSIBLE three times, twice within а clause which is itself repeated. The first clause has the grammatical question marked on the face, as ASL ordinarily does. In the second clause, however, the Interpreter continues to use question marking on the face, but also adds а specific sign indicating that а question has been asked. The question is asked three times, another repetition. The most notable aspect of this translation is the repetition of words and clauses.
The Professor does not repeat her utterance, but the Interpreter does with clauses that are parallel in structure. Although studies in ASL are only beginning to study the functions of repetition, repetition in general functions to emphasize, and many languages around the world use repeated parallel structures for emphasis (Johnstone 1994). The repetition and parallel structures, the use of code-switching, the added question marker, and the stress on the way the signs are made all reinforce the emphasis on Monday and the sense that the Interpreter is trying to convey another message.
However, the Student fails to interpret the underlying message for himself. He understood that she wanted the assignment by Monday, but he had already told her of his weekend plans which precluded his having the assignment ready Monday. He did not interpret the indirect message as а request not to be denied. We can speculate that the collegial atmosphere created and encouraged by the Professor might have suggested to the Student а sense of permissiveness that did not exists.
We can speculate that as а man, and because of gender differences in women and men’s language, the Student heard the indirect message as an option to which he could say yes or no ( Tannen 1994). We can speculate that the Interpreter did not appropriately convey signals of authority that were particular to the situation. Whatever the reason, the Student interpreted the Professor’s utterances as the first part of а negotiation and responded with his own indirect message by talking about returning on Sunday; in essence he said no to the Professor.