Saturday, May 31, 2008

On Fridays

Every Friday morning we gather to dissect and interpret the worship songs for Sunday.

Many years ago, when I graduated from college and then packed up and went to volunteer at Rancho Sordo Mudo I didn't know any sign. This was in 1997. I just went willing. They had so little staff at that time that they were grateful for any help they could get. I took one summer community ed class and learned the ABC's. That was it, from there it was the learning from the School of Sink o' Swim.

And if I could, I would love to study-you know - get certified - but I'm on a different path now, so we meet with our deaf pastor Carlos and go through how to sign the songs for clarity, so that the deaf congregation can understand and appreciate the worship.

It's a wonderful practice of thinking outside the box and after each session I am usually strangely stimulated and exhausted at the same time. My mantra is "think beyond the words" . . . meaning, meaning, meaning, . . .

For example:

We have come to a consensus that when the song speaks of not turning back, or falling away we will use a sign that means "united" linking your thumb and pointer fingers together then breaking them away while shaking our head "no". . .

There is a whole song that speaks of hearing the rain and the sounds of nature - so we switch it to seeing the rain and the like.

Yeah, so when I'm posting all these videos of people signing songs, it's typically not a word for word translation. I'm constantly learning. I love it, and I hungrily watch and pick up stuff all the time.

One more interesting aspect is that you can do a song well yet differently - for example this song "The End of the Beginning" was signed by this fellow and this couple. Both songs are done well, and are clear, pure preference would say that one is done better than the other.

Oh, and you do need to know your audience when thinking through these translations. Thinking about if they understand the symbolism involved when speaking about the Holy Spirit in terms of "rain", "fire", or when speaking of "the price that was paid", and "Your reign in me" . . . yup.

So, there you go.

That's my Friday. How was yours?

3 comments:

Guinevere Meadow said...

Some friends of ours interpret in sign language for our church. They have told me of the challenges with translating songs to signs, because apparantly sign language is very literal. There's one song we do that has the line "Jesus is the rock and He rolls my blues away." They have to sign something completely different, otherwise the deaf people in the congregation would think literally that Jesus is a rock.

It must be a big challenge to figure out how to communicate the meanings of songs!

brittney said...

it's all about the sink or swim...

Believer said...

Interesting, thanks for the lesson!