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The Baobab: Translanguaging in a multimodal sign language translation project

Joseph J. Murray

Abstract

This article offers a case study of language ideologies and languaging in the translation of a bilingual bimodal iPad storybook app, The Baobab Tree, from American Sign Language and written English to Norwegian Sign Language and written Norwegian. Heeding Canagarajah’s (2011, Translanguaging in the classroom: Emerging issues for research and pedagogy. Applied Linguistics Review 2. 1–28) call for studies which look beyond the product to the processes involved by people navigating linguistic and semiotic diverse environments, this article looks at choices made by project team members in a language locality (Pennycook 2010, Language as a local practice. London: Routledge.) shaped by multiple language ideologies. During the process of translation the project team adopted a flexible-multiple model of pluriliteracy (Garcia 2009, Bilingual Education in the 21st Century: A Global Perspective. Wiley-Blackwell) at odds with their initially more rigid preconceptions of languages as bounded entities. The concept of semiotic assemblages (Pennycook 2017, Translanguaging and semiotic assemblages. International Journal of Multilingualism 14(3). 269–282) is helpful in showing how languaging choices are influenced by language ideologies, sociocultural values, and the history of language practices among project team members in a particular language locality.

Funding statement: The translation project studied in this article was funded by the Norwegian ExtraFoundation for Health and Rehabilitation.

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Published Online: 2018-3-3
Published in Print: 2018-3-26

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston