Interpreting with Deaf-Blind People - Theatrical Settings

by on May 1, 2013
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ACCESSIBILITY TO THEATER FOR DEAF AND DEAF-BLIND PEOPLE : Legal, Language and Artistic Considerations, Kilpatrick, Brian R.; Andrews, Jean. 2009, 2. 

Without accessibility, theater can be meaningless to deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf-blind consumers. This article discusses theatrical interpreting options ranging from English text-based accessibility (the closest to the English language), to shadow interpreting (provides accessibility in American Sign Language). Using historical research methods, semi-structured and structured interviews, open-ended questions, archival materials, and published documents on theatrical interpreting, the authors provide a descriptive commentary about accessibility options based on legal, language, and artistic considerations. Following these descriptions, the authors recommend that interpreter training programs include theatrical interpretation techniques. One brief section is devoted to interpreting for people who are deaf-blind.


BRINGING THEATER TO LIFE FOR THE DEAF, BLIND: College Program Uses Tactile Interpreters, De Jong, Lynda. 1999, 3. 

An article describing a college program that uses tactile interpreters for deaf-blind theater-goers in the Boston area. In addition to the interpreting, deaf-blind members of the audience get the opportunity to touch the stage props and physically feel a singer’s notes as she sings, prior to the play starting.


OPENING DOORS TO THE THEATRE: Creating Access for the Deaf-Blind Community, Berk, Judy; Cogen, Cathy. -- Deaf-Blind Theatre Access Project: 1999, 9. 

This nine-page "how-to" manual is intended to support theater companies and venues in serving deaf-blind patrons. It was developed by the Northeastern University Interpreter Education Project of New England, Wheelock Family Theatre, Deaf-Blind Contact Center and D.E.A.F., Inc. Creating access requires the coordinated efforts of a variety of people. Roles and responsibilities of the following staff are described: theatre staff, access coordinator, production department, box office, managerial and marketing. The role of interpreters is discussed at length. Topics include payment issues, preparation time, seating options and the use of an American Sign Language consultant. Pre-show tours, monetary considerations and a performance timetable are also included. Sidebars include comments by a deaf-blind patron, a theatrical producer and an interpreter.

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