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A Method for the Analysis of British Sign Language Interpreted Theatrical Texts

Rocks, Siobhán Marie (2019) A Method for the Analysis of British Sign Language Interpreted Theatrical Texts. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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The Deaf individual attends theatre, like the rest of the audience, primarily to be entertained, and, to that end, must be able to engage with and understand the development of the drama. Theatre performed in spoken language, however, is clearly not intended for Deaf audiences; this gestalt, multimodal art form conveys meaning through the interaction of auditory and visual resources, receivable simultaneously by the hearing audience. Whilst many mainstream UK theatres now regularly provide BSL interpreted performances of their productions, the vast majority situate the interpreter at a distance from the performance space; thus, for the Deaf audience member, restricted to visual channels of communication only, the audio-visual source text becomes a visual-visual target text, and the spectator is forced to negotiate two competing points of focus: the interpreter and the stage. As yet, in the UK, there is no standardised or formalised training in sign language interpreting specifically for the theatre. Based on the current available literature, it would appear that theatre sign language interpreters are not making effective translations, and that Deaf spectators, in the main, do not understand theatre interpreted into BSL. It is argued that from the interpreted performance, as a minimum and without excessive cognitive effort, the spectator ought to be able to apprehend the dramatic situation, follow the development of the plot, and be able to identify characters and their interactions with each other. Thus, it is hypothesised that the sign language interpreter must: • Allow the target audience to look to the stage in order to witness mimetic enactments and scenic detail salient to situation, plot and character development. • Demonstrate character turns so that the spectator is able to identify which characters are the speaker and addressee(s) in any interaction. • According to the visual-spatial rules of signed languages, reflect the three- dimensional construction of the mise-en-scene in their rendition. To date there is no analytical framework to identify, capture and document these features in the performance and signed rendition, nor to establish the relations between them in the construction of meaning. To answer this, then, the study develops an analytical framework that, from a corpus of triangulated data gathered from public theatrical performances and their respective signed renditions, captures specific relevant features of both the performance and rendition, enabling a detailed empirical multimodal analysis of the sign language interpreted performance. The study is the first to advance a multidisciplinary approach to the translation and interpretation of theatrical texts into sign language, drawing on multimodality, theatre studies, audiovisual translation, BSL, and sign language interpreting. The analysis highlights the interpreter’s task when confronted with the multimodal text, and the need for the interpreter to consider more than the transfer of dialogue, revealing the extent to which the rendition takes into account the complete performance, and the impact of interpreter strategies on the rendition. The study’s multidisciplinary approach to the analysis of sign language interpreted theatre not only contributes to knowledge in the domains of sign language interpreting, audiovisual translation and stage translation, but also has implications for the training of theatre sign language interpreters, the engagement of the Deaf spectator, and the commissioner of the sign language interpreted performance.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Interpreting; Translation; Theatrical; Multimodality; Audiovisual Translation; Sign Language; Multidisciplinary; Performance; Analysis; Analytical; Theatre Studies
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Languages Cultures and Societies (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.792016
Depositing User: Dr Siobhán Marie Rocks
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2019 15:17
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2020 12:51
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/25431

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