Fingertips For Interpreters – Directional Signing

Directional Signing

Good advice: When you put something somewhere, remember where you put it!

Computer Advice: When you put something into memory, remember where you put it!

Interpreter/Signer Advice: When you place a person in the signing space, remember where you put him.

Spoken languages do not need to use space. They use time, inflection, and other methods to make their point. However, sign language, because it is visual, uses placement, references, indexing, and other elements of space to make communication more clear.

In the religious setting, it is helpful for all interpreters to place certain people or places in the same locations. For example, when pointing to God the first time, if the signer points up to the right, then points up and to the left the second time, this actually shows two different individuals, which can be confusing. Standardizing locations can help Deaf congregations more clearly understand. Follow these recommendations:

God / Jesus / Heaven – Sign up and to the right. It is best not to place them too high, but at a 45-degree angle up and 45 degrees to the right of center. Always point or look at the same certain spot on the wall or ceiling.

Devil / Sin / Hell – Sign down and to the left. Again, it is best to use a 45-degree angle down and to the left. Choose a spot on the floor at which to look or point.

Jesus on Cross – Sign slightly up and to the right.

 

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