New Competition: Sign the Anthem

Today’s blog posting announces a competition being run by the Centre for Translation & Interpreting Studies in Scotland (CTISS), this Department’s longest-established research centre. It’s a translation challenge, and it’s open to all. Let me explain.

In case you didn’t know, 2014 is a big year for Scotland.

Of course, there’s the small matter of a referendum on independence from the rest of the United Kingdom. There’s the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Meanwhile, Edinburgh will be hosting festival after festival, as it always does. No wonder it’s been designated a year of Homecoming.

We at Heriot-Watt are looking forward to a major step forward for Scotland’s users of British Sign Language (BSL). Because a Member of the Scottish Parliament, Mark Griffin, plans to introduce legislation in our Parliament advancing the cause of BSL nationwide.
We’re doing our bit, working with the Scottish Government’s BSL & Linguistic Access Working Group.

But here’s one thing we’d like to see that won’t need an Act of Parliament.
And we want your help right now to make this happen.

Scotland is rightly proud of its cultural heritage. One of the ways in which a community displays that pride is through national symbols: a flag – Scots wave the Saltire – national dress, an anthem, and so on.

But what do Deaf people do when the nation sings, when hearts fill with fierce emotion and passion?

Well, a great example has just been set in the USA. The biggest event in the American Football calendar, the Superbowl, took place on 2nd February 2014. Before the game, ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ rang out around the stadium. And this year, sponsored () by PepsiCo, a young Deaf American actress, Amber Zion, delivered the anthem in eloquent, visually arresting American Sign Language.

And so here is our challenge to you. We think it’s time for a BSL performer to match Amber Zion’s awesome ASL delivery.

It could be you.

Scotland’s anthem on such occasions is ‘Flower of Scotland‘. (If you want to hear it at stadium volume, try this!)

We would like to see your translations of this great song. You can upload them to YouTube, Vimeo or elsewhere and post a link here. Or you can send them to the Director of CTISS, Professor Graham Turner. Or contact us to arrange an alternative. Either way, be sure to include details about yourself (particularly your age, whether you’re hearing or deaf, and how long you’ve been signing) and your e-mail address. A panel of Scottish BSL experts will select the best.

And, who knows? You might make history.

Author: Graham Turner