Sign language linguistics is a young and rapidly growing scientific field. It’s also a great field for those who are interested in sign languages but aren’t sure that they want to be an interpreter or work in Deaf education. Here are some of the ways that sign language linguists can serve Deaf communities.  

Develop a Linguistic Analysis of a Sign Language  

Sign language linguists study a particular sign language to uncover its special qualities and understand how it compares to other languages. They may create sign language dictionaries, examine its grammar, or analyze written materials. This not only helps the Deaf community but also adds to our understanding of sign languages.  

Support Translation Programs

Sign language linguists study a particular sign language to uncover its special qualities and understand how it compares to other languages. They may create sign language dictionaries, examine its grammar, or analyze written materials. This not only helps the Deaf community but also adds to our understanding of sign languages. 

Many sign language programs focus on interpretation, which involves translating a message in real-time. Sign language translation, on the other hand, involves analyzing a text to understand its meaning and then accurately representing that meaning in a fixed expression, such as a video. Linguists help this process by making sure the translation uses the normal grammatical patterns of a sign language, rather than slavishly following the structure of the source language. This way, native signers understand the translation clearly and naturally.  

Advise and Advocate

Sign language linguists may be called in as experts by governments or educators who want to serve their Deaf communities. Linguists can give insight into the best ways to structure programs like bilingual education or interpreter training. They play an important role as allies to local Deaf communities, providing advocacy when appropriate and promoting Deaf people to advocate for themselves. 

Ready to start your preparation for partnering with Deaf communities around the world? Set up a campus visit, or if you’re ready, apply now for our Certificate in Sign Language Linguistics.