Rafaela Cota Silva (PT)

Sunday September 14th 2014

11:30 – 12:10       Rafaela Cota Silva (PT)

“Interpreting concerts”


Interpreting from and to sign language is already a complex process. When you add its unique content of interpreting a song, you need to account not only to the wording but all that it involves: the rhythm, the cadency, the tone of voice, the instrumental particularities, the double meaning of the lyrics, the audience feedback and, beyond that the chance of the language being interpreted not being of the interpreter’s native country.

This work is based on a trial performed in Portugal: the interpretation to Portuguese Sign Language of five concerts from the band called Gift that was held in four different cities with different audiences. The majority of this band’s performance is in English, therefore the interpretation was done in three languages: English, which was how it was being sung; Portuguese, as the language that the interpreter was mentally altering from the language being sung (English) to the audience language (Portuguese); finally, into Portuguese Sign Language. The effort required in this specific situation implied specific interpreting strategies that are very different from the ones used as the normal Sign Language Interpreter job.

In this line of work, there are two types of interpretation: the consecutive and the simultaneous. The first relates to all the work done before the concert: reading and analyzing the lyrics, preparing the interpretation into the sign language, taking in account the existing sign language techniques. The second type is the actual live interpretation of the concert.

Aside from the interpretation, this work involves another kind of important strategies for the perception and understanding of the deaf audience, particularly the spot where the interpreter is performing, the lightness, the visibility and the area.

This is a relevant experience, because it can serve as a model for other interpreters that may eventually do this in the future.