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Written by Montserrat González

Montserrat is a professional translator who likes to read and write fictional stories. There's nothing she enjoys more than spending time with her friends and family.

February 11, 2021

Interpreters Are Everywhere: Sign Languages and Music Are Proof of it
Imagine you want to close a deal in a non-English-speaking country but you only speak English. Who do you call to be able to communicate in this situation? Yes, an interpreter. An interpreter is a wonderful being with a great ability to absorb two languages, two cultures, two perspectives of the world, and uses that superpower to help people that don’t speak the same language understand each other. For that, the interpreter listens the message of a person that speaks the language A and delivers the message to the person who speaks the language B. If you don’t know the difference between a translator and an interpreter, I invite you to read our article Interpreter or Translator. What’s the Difference? However, this time I want to talk to you about a quite peculiar type of interpreting. I’m talking about sign language interpreting in concerts and festivals!


What is a Sign Language?

Sign languages are languages that use visual-manual elements. Their main purpose is to help people with hearing impairment to communicate in their social environment, either with people in the same situation, or any other person that knows the same sign language.

It is important to highlight that every country has its own sign language. Sometimes, they are unintelligible from one another, even though their spoken counterparts are very similar. For example, speakers from USA and the United Kingdom share the English language, and they can communicate with one another without many complications. On the other hand, the American Sign Language or ASL is very different from the British Sign Language or BSL. Each country has its own sign language and there are huge variations between them that make communication difficult for their users.

If you are interested in this topic, I invite you to learn The Importance of Sign Languages.


What Do Sign Language Interpreters do?

Sign language interpreters make communication easier between sign language and spoken language users. Their job consists of listening the spoken message and converting it into the sign language and vice versa. To fulfill this important task, the interpreter must have a wide knowledge of a sign language and a spoken language in oder to exchange precise information.


Those who Dance With their Hands

Even though sign language interpreters normally work in government institutions, hospitals, courts, or even schools, the last few years, the acknowledgement of this profession has been increasing. Thanks to the growth of sign language interpreting, a peculiar type has been born: interpreting music into sign language. In this type of interpreting, music is interpreted into sign language on the stage of music festivals and concerts for all people to enjoy the experience, even people with hearing loss.

Not only song lyrics with rhymes and puns are interpreted, but also sound, rhythm, and harmony. In order to achieve that, professionals use the whole body to represent the full message visually. By doing so, interpreters look rather like dancers. In fact, a German Sign Language interpreter called Laura M. Schwengber is now widely known as “Die mit den Händen tanzt”, which is German for “The one who dances with her hands”. Another famous American Sign Language interpreter is Amber Galloway Gallego, who has interpreted for Lady Gaga, Adele, Coldplay, The Cure, The Rolling Stones, and many of the most popular musicians in the world.

Laura and Amber are proof of the importance of hiring professional interpreting services and of transmitting all the aspects of the message you want to deliver, either for a governnment institution, company or on the stage of the artist of the hour.

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