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On Sat, Jul 30, 2011 at 1:22 PM, Valerie Sutton <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Nikhil needs the translations in written SIGN LANGUAGES, not spoken languages!

I am not an ASL expert, or I would do the translation myself in ASL. I actually do not how to sign that phrase in ASL, so that is why I was waiting for someone who knows ASL to do the translation for NIkhil in ASL...written in SignWriting.

I'm in a similar situation with BSL. I'm increasing fluent in its use but not a native speaker. However, I am fluent in English yet I don't know how to understand the phrase:
 
"We are humans and we are from Earth."

How many are the "we"s? English, plus I guess many (all?) of the spoken languages given here as exemplars, the first person plural is uncountable. It would be possible to translate it into Swedish with "vi" and still obscure the number of participants. In BSL, at least, the first person plural is countable; up to four maybe five even 10. It is signed differently depending on the number of participants. For example, if "we" consists of me and my wife then I sign that slightly different from me, my wife, and you (Valerie), plus the physical proximity of the "we" one to another would change the sign(s) needed. However these small groups are signed entirely differently from "we" as the subscribers to this list (if all of us happened to be assembled in one locale).

The presence of the "and" indicates that the second "we" is a distinct different group from the first but with the speaker (signer) a member of both groups. There is a famous phrase that exemplifies the same problem "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." In this case the AND is a transliteration from the source language but its inclusion creates an ambiguity that is not in the original. If that second "we" of the sample sentence were to refer to me, my wife and my dog then the "and" is vital.

There's also a BSL issue here. We have no sign for AND. There are ways to indicate that two things are connected but not immediately.

The "from" affects the translational choices too. Where is this discourse dislocated sentence being transacted and how did the various "we"s arrive there, or were "we" there from the beginning. Similarly the actors to whom this phrase is being relayed are they from somewhere else coming to the "here" or were they there from the beginning. This information will change how the sentence can be translated.

It's not that the sentence is un-translatable per se but that rather it is not context free as Nikhil claimed somewhere (possibly on his web site). At least for BSL, context is required otherwise the processing costs in the sense of Relevance Theory is astronomically high. Without the enclosing context it isn't really possible to provide a BSL translation.

Regards, Trevor.

<>< Re: deemed!