Challenges in Translating and Transcribing Kenyan Sign Language The case of Immanuel Christian School for the Deaf
This study set out to investigate challenges in translating and transcribing Kenyan Sign Language. There is not much translation in Kenyan Sign Language (KSL) because it is considered a visual language and it is relatively new in Kenya, hardly seven decades. This study involved the collection of material translated to KSL, deleting any English language inscriptions written thereon, and having the material translated back to KSL by Standard Eight pupils from Immanuel Christian School for the Deaf, and their KSL and English teachers. The study had the objective of investigating challenges of equivalence in KSL translations as well as any strategies employed to solve such challenges of equivalence in translating KSL. The study employed the theory of equivalence developed by Nida and elaborated further by Nida and Taber (1982:12) which posits that “Translating consists in reproducing in the receptor language the closest natural equivalent of the source language message, first in terms of meaning and secondly in terms of style”; which goes further to point to closest natural equivalence, basic communication based on the unity of human beings, and a first level of meaning. The study was initiated by browsing the internet for material on Sign Language translation in general and Kenyan Sign Language translation in particular. Thereafter, visits were made to various institutions to collect material translated into KSL. The study also utilized a glossary of Parliamentary and global discourse which had been translated to KSL in graphics for another study on KSL interpreting of the proceedings of the Kenya National Assembly. Though the study on KSL interpreting of the proceedings of the Kenya National Assembly used the glossary in English, it did not require the graphics in KSL. These, therefore, formed part of the material for translation by the informants. This was followed by designing two questionnaires entitled “Student Questionnaire” and “Teacher Questionnaire” which sought background information on the pupils and the teachers. When the material was ready, the researcher travelled to Immanuel Christian School for the Deaf in Homa Bay County, for face-to-face interviews, translations and completion of the personal questionnaires. An analysis has been made of the translations and of the biodata.