Deconstructing translation and interpreting prototypes: A case of written-to-signed-language translation

Svenja Wurm

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    The categorization of translational activities into the two main prototypical translational modes translation and interpreting is central in Translation and Interpreting Studies. At a time, however, when communicative practices are changing due to ever advancing communication and information technologies and other socio-cultural developments, it is questionable whether a stable, binary distinction based on prototypes can meaningfully accommodate the complexity and vast variety of translation practices. This article investigates the translation of a written text into recorded signed language, paying particular attention to the translational process designed by the translational practitioner and the impact of source and target text modalities. Presenting data of an ethnographically informed case study generated through observation, interviews and analysis of source, target and preparatory documents, this work promotes a data-driven approach to conducting research. Revisiting existing conceptualizations of translation and interpreting, this research challenges the prototype-based dichotomy (translation / interpreting) used to conceptualize translational activity and reaffirms that communication is embedded in social, cultural, historical and ideological contexts. By negotiating data of a non-central practice with theoretical concepts developed within dominant Western Translation Studies, this research contributes to enlarging and de-centralizing the discipline.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)249-266
    Number of pages18
    JournalTranslation and Interpreting Studies
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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