[sw-l] translatins the name of SignWriting

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Wed Jun 8 20:26:17 UTC 2005

SignWriting List
June 8, 2005

> Lucyna Dlugolecka wrote:
> I would like to translate the SW textbook into Polish. But I don't
> know how to translate the name SignWriting or should I translate it
> at all? In Polish it would be PismoMigowe, but it's a very general
> term, there may be many other pisma migowe and PismoMigowe would
> look weird :-). I think the best Polish name would be "pismo migowe
> SignWriting". What's your opinion on translating the name into
> other languages?

Hello Lucyna and Everyone -
A translation of the Lessons in SignWriting textbook in Polish would
be a true gift! Thank you for all your efforts, Lucyna.

One tip...Anny in French-Switzerland just finished a Microsoft Word
document...a translation of the Lessons book into French and French-
Swiss Sign Language. It is a handy document for other translators,
because you can open the English-ASL PDF document, which cannot be
changed, and simultaneously open the French-Swiss Word document, and
compare the two documents. Then you can change the Word document from
French to Polish, without having to re-do the diagrams...Anny did a
great job getting the diagrams into Microsoft Word...thank you for
this, Anny!

You can download the French-Swiss book on this web page:


The Word Documents are 6, 7, 8, 9 on the page...

Regarding the translation of the trademark, SignWriting...

Remember our discussion about writing proper nouns before
(smile) ?.....SignWriting is a proper noun...grin...And when the
words sign and writing are capitalized, and are relating to sign
language, the term means "the writing system connected to Val
Sutton"...so in our English language, the plain words sign and
writing are not special, but when we capitalize the words they become
a proper name...and in our case I trademarked the term SignWriting,
back in the early 1980's so that other writing systems cannot use the
same name...they are welcome to find their own unique names. That way
there is no confusion.

The trademark SignWriting can be translated into other languages,
just as long as it is clear that it is a proper name...so if in
Polish, you capitalize proper names, then taking the Polish words for
sign and writing and capitalizing them would make it a translation of
the term SignWriting in English...

Not all countries choose to translate the name...For example in
Brazil I have never heard of a translation...they use the term
SignWriting like a foreign name in the middle of speaking Portuguese
and they do not change it to Portuguese words...

But in other countries they have translated it...Here are a few..

GebaerdenSchrift - Germany and German Switzerland
SignoEscritura - Spain
SenaEscritura - Latin America
SignEcriture - French and French Swiss

Here is the French-Swiss sign for it! However, if you look in Anny's
textbook, the English word SignWriting is also used...

So you are not required to translate the name SignWriting, Lucyna,
but if you want to, you have my full permission to do so...I want to
create a web area for Poland in time...

The name PismoMigowe follows the way the trademark is used around the
world, with one word...and what some people call CamelCase...meaning
the humps of a camel are up and down and when you have two
capitalized words connected, it looks like a camel's hump...Why not
use both the English and the Polish to see how people use it? Just
because PismoMigowe may seem strange, so does SignWriting seem
strange to a lot of English speaking people who have never heard of
what we are doing...it makes it a unique name and that is what

Here is the French-Swiss term...

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