Twice-described – Captioning and Sign Language

June 11, 2011 § 4 Comments

Twice-described is a new phrase I was reading about yesterday. It is used to “describe” sign language and captioning communications. Why not call it all simply translation or interpretation? Because “twice-described” adds meaning – when there is something or someone between the “speaker” and the “person being spoken to.”

If two people are using sign language together, not “twice-described” of course. If two people need captioning (real time translation) to converse, yes, twice-described. Or if someone needs captioning and another is using sign language, then it might be termed quadruple-described? (an interpreter to voice so that the captioner can translate to text for the two folks who are deaf). Following here?

Being deaf or Deaf is not easy! For millions with acquired deafness or serious hearing loss after a certain age (say after learning to speak), it takes a lifetime to learn about ourselves and others. Yet, hey…

It takes a lifetime for everyone!

Anyone else thinking about this?


§ 4 Responses to Twice-described – Captioning and Sign Language

  • Victor says:

    I dsagree: Twice described would be passing through ASL to a Captioner, then to the screenThe terp is the primary, not a secondary…essentially, my voice. The CART provider is not describing anything, but (hopefully) repeating word-for-word my description.
    There is a difficulty in trying to define multiple layers to describe a singular event. Twice-described suggests two translators or intermediaries before getting to the receiver. Interpretation and translation properly, SPECIFICALLY, define the action.
    Call a spade a spade, not a pitchfork, not apersonal earth-moving utility.

    • ls says:

      You are using the interesting term differently from the academic paper I was reading, and the way I understand it. Twice described was used to “describe” both captioning and sign language dynamics.
      For me, speaking and CART are primary.
      We can agree to disagree. There are many, many ways of being deaf and communicating. Even emails are confusing :-).

  • ASL is for the Deaf and Captioning is for the hard of hearing or deaf. Deaf peoples first and most of the cases only language is ASL. For deaf or hard of hearing people, English is their primary or only language, not ASL. I am deaf with English as my primary language but know ASL very well and have been using it more as my 1st language now that my hearing is almost shot. I was born deaf but forbidden to use ASL and forced to lip read and talk. Of course all my deaf friends did sign anyway when we were out of the teachers range. My hearing lost was mostly in the non voices range so with a hearing aid I can get voices ok as long as I lip read as I have a 98% hearing lost. To me, captioning and ASL are 100% completly different. That is why the old TDDs were not well liked among the Deaf people and there were many misunderstandings on conversations with those. I always had to wait til I met my Deaf friends to explain in ASL what I meant. Then VP came out and BAM, every Deaf person dropped the TDDs for it. Twice explained, to who? If they mean to the Deaf, then no, it is not accurate at all. If they mean its being described in two different groups and languages, then fine. But, is this a hearing person who is throwing their own ideas into this mess in which many good meaning hearing people do? That is the part I hate. Deaf people do not need all this confusing crap and know who they are and what language they use. It is like the saying KISS, Keep It Simple Stupid and I do not mean that in a bad way.

    • ls says:

      No one said “twice explained” – that is your addition to the discussion.

      Twice-described was used as a positive metaphor, and it seems a beautiful way to think about how to build communication bridges among all of us. No one said captioning and sign language are 100 percent the same either.

      Captioning is indeed a language for millions of deaf, deafened, and people with hearing loss who do not use sign language. Yes, it’s English or whatever one’s native language is in one’s country, yet it is also a “language” that we need and it’s not even mentioned or offered or included in many places yet.

      If you read and comment again, please use polite language.

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