The examination of work performed by Deaf translators in creating translations between written texts and signed languages is an emerging area of inquiry in Translation Studies. Deaf people have been performing ad hoc translations within their community for hundreds of years (Adam, Carty & Stone, 2011; Bartley & Stone, 2008). More recently, Deaf translators have begun to work as paid professionals, creating a new subfield of Translation Studies, one that, to date, is largely unexplored. Using qualitative data, this pilot study examines the thought processes of two Deaf individuals in the rendering of an academic text from written English into American Sign Language (ASL). Early analysis suggests four themes shared by the participants: 1) the importance of preparation; 2) the need for contextualization, 3) moving between literal versus free translation; and 4) consideration of the audience. This data shows that Deaf translators rely on linguistic knowledge and prior translation experience in creating and rendering their translations, a finding that in some respects aligns with studies on the processes of hearing translators. In addition to this, however, Deaf bilinguals appear to draw on a reservoir of extralinguistic knowledge (ELK) developed from their experiences as individuals living within the intersection of two languages, one of which employs a modality that is seldom used by majority populations. The aims of this exploratory study were to examine the thought processes that come into play in Deaf translators’ work and to consider new perspectives on Translation Studies from Deaf translators.



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