Music interpretation in sign language

In recent years, there have been more developments concerning accessibility and inclusion. Society is changing, and there is increasing consideration for how all people can be part of the experience of a concert or a festival. From the Deaf community, we see a growing group of people, particularly those who are suddenly deaf, late-deaf, or hard of hearing, who want to use a sign language interpreter for music. In recent years, it has become evident that more music venues, festivals, and bands are open to this, but the process still often encounters difficulties.

We are trained as Dutch sign language interpreters. In addition to interpreting regular assignments, we often interpret within the cultural sector. We are frequently engaged at music festivals and concerts. As music interpreters, we do not only translate the lyrics but we also convey the music and atmosphere.

Topics that will be dealt with at this presentation include:

  • Visual language
  • Video: Interpreting music at a festival
  • Translation and simultaneous interpreting
  • Different modalities
  • Combining music and text
  • Applying creativity

Time: 14:30–15:00
Room: 2

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About the presenters

Hanneke de Raaff (left) has been active as a music interpreter since 2010, and Mirjam Stolk (right) since 2005. Both of us have a passion for music. Mirjam played percussion in an orchestra for many years, while Hanneke used to dance. In 2015, we started collaborating actively. We complement each other well during the various assignments we undertake. Of course, we also work with other colleagues in the field. Many of these assignments take place in public settings, but they can also be intimate settings, such as a wedding or something sombre like a funeral. From pumping danceable music to music that brings tears, everything is possible.

Website (Mirjam):
LinkedIn (Hanneke):
LinkedIn (Mirjam):

     Mirjam Stolk