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Abstract

This article examines an interpreting challenge faced by interpreters working between spoken and signed languages: the difference in the amount of concreteness (which the author terms “specificity”) between the two languages. This paper outlines the necessity to edit specificity when interpreting from British Sign Language (BSL) to English in order to produce a natural-sounding language. Just as important is for specificity to be elaborated upon when interpreting from English to BSL. By examining this challenge, strategies often considered to be “innate” have been extracted from practice. This contribution to theory can then inform interpreter training. The author draws upon their recent research into the phenomenon known as “clarification,” which highlighted “underspecificity” as the most common cause of interpreter participation using clarification.

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