Friday, April 09, 2004

Interpreting Globalization

Last night, Evelin and I went to a lecture by former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich at University of Maryland University College. The lecture was part of the spring colloquium marking the 25th anniversary of the UMUC graduate school.

It was an interesting talk about what exactly globalization means these days and the risks, benefits, and strategies for adapting to the global economy, and Reich sounds exactly like he does in his "Marketplace" commentaries. Also, he's a really funny guy.

During the introductory comments from the UMUC provost, I was watching the ASL interpreter and it got me to wondering how much is missed/glossed over/simplified when interpreting. I could recognize some patterns (for example, the phrase "graduate school" was used a number of times, and that sign became apparent fairly quickly), and it seemed the interpreter would sometimes seem to fall behind the speaker and then jump ahead to the next phrase/concept. I know there's a degree of reinterpretation inherent in any interpreting/translation, but it just got me curious.

Oh, and one thing that cracked me up was recognizing the ASL for "more," which is something Evelin and I learned a long, long, long time ago when we started the whole babymaking journey and we were reading about Baby Sign.

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