Is there a sign for that? Media, American Sign Language interpretation, and the paradox of visibility

Autor/a: ELLCESSOR, Elizabeth
Año: 2015
Editorial: Perspectives, Vol. 23, nº 4 (2015) pp. 586–598
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Traducción e Interpretación, Lingüística » Lingüística de otras Lenguas de Signos


In the transitions between English and American Sign Language (ASL), linguistic and cultural translations are made visible through the embodied actions of interpreters. Recent years have seen a spike in attention to ASL interpreters, with mainstream media publishing stories on Lydia Callis and Holly Maniatty, among others. The very visibility of ASL interpretation poses a challenge to the invisibility of media access and the place of disability and difference in the public sphere, showing alternative arrangements of language, bodies, mediated communication, and public engagement. Yet, simultaneously, such visibility is not entirely progressive: the gendered and racialized spectacularization of ASL interpretation by hearing audiences allows it to remain exoticized even as it is briefly made part of public discourse. The double-bind of visibility means that appearances of ASL in the public sphere may not increase inclusion, but may in fact reinforce hierarchies of language, ability, and access.