Expansion Techniques

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As an interpreter for the Deaf, the job of the interpreter is to ensure the line of communication between the hearing client and the Deaf client is open and understood. There are many different methods that can be used by the interpreter to ensure they do an outstanding job in relaying both messages to each party in need of an interpreter. One way to ensure this is expansion. There are several expansion techniques used by an interpreter to convey the meaning of the hearing person such as; contrasting, faceting, reiteration, explaining by example, using 3-D space, scaffolding and describe, then do.

Contrasting technique is used by comparing two things, often one that is true and one that is false or visa versa. Research done on “High Context (ASL) v.s. Low Context (English)” by Shelly Lawrence of John A. Logan College, IPP, states that, “The signer body shifts to the non-dominant side, states or describes something, then contrasting it with the opposite idea.” Humphrey and Alcorn use a good example of this technique in their book, So You Want to be an Interpreter , my car is not new, it is old.(P. 217.) This technique applies the emphasis to the old car and it is clear that the car is not new. This technique is often done without the knowledge of the interpreter, almost as if it were just a natural part of signing.

Adding Sign Synonyms (Faceting) in which information is more clearly expressed or weight is given in certain concepts by the use of several synonyms to express an idea or piece of information. (217.) An example of this application used in an interpreting situation would be if a Deaf person were buying a house and the cost of the interpreter were written in the mortgage loan. Now, the interpreter being neutral, they couldn’t point this out to the Deaf individual as it could conflict with their Code of Ethics but they could say,” Read Contract, Read.” With the emphasis on the word read; this would convey the message that the buyer of...
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