Request for Conference Materials (template)

Dear Colleagues,

A deaf philosopher, Teresa Blankmeyer Burke (Gallaudet University) will be attending the ______ conference next weekend. She will access the presentations with the use of signed language interpreters. Since the interpreters are not philosophers, and have little to no experience interpreting philosophy at the Ph.D. level, Teresa has requested that she and the interpreters have access to the papers or other presentation materials in advance. If you could please send these to her at by April 20, we would greatly appreciate it. (Drafts are fine — the aim here is to get a sense of the terminology rather than tease out the nuances of the argument.)

Typically, Teresa reviews the papers for terminology that may trip up the interpreters. As you know, ordinary language terms are sometimes used as terms of art by philosophers, and this distinction is not likely to be caught by interpreters with little background in academic philosophy. Contrary to popular opinion, deaf academics typically engage in considerable cognitive work to access material in their professions — this is not because the interpreters are insufficiently skilled, but because the deaf academic’s academic expertise must be paired with the interpreter’s work to produce meaning. See here for a brief example of the process:

Please rest assured that Teresa and the interpreters will not share or otherwise distribute, cite, or refer to your materials. Interpreters are bound by a code of professional conduct that covers this. See the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf Code of Professional Conduct here: Teresa is mindful of the impact to her reputation in the profession and the potential for obtaining future copies, and does not distribute anything without explicit permission for this reason. She has requested and received philosophy draft papers for two decades and has not had any incidents of materials shared without prior permission or learned of any regarding the interpreters she works with.