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Dissertation defense for Paul Harrelson

  • Date: August 8, 2019
  • Time: 10:00 AM
  • Location: Hall Memorial Building Room 1002

To:      Students, Faculty and Staff

From:  Gaurav Mathur, Ph.D., Dean of the Graduate School

Re:       Dissertation Defense for Paul Harrelson

It is my pleasure to announce that Paul Bowling Harrelson, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Interpretation and Translation, will defend his dissertation on “Deaf employees’ perspectives on effective American Sign Language-English interpreting in the workplace: an investigation using the critical incident technique” on Thursday, August 8 at 10 a.m. in Hall Memorial Building Room 1002. The first forty minutes of the dissertation defense are open to the Gallaudet community.

Mr. Harrelson’s study examines questions of what constitutes effective interpreter behaviors and systemic structures that underlie interpreter provision in a context of legislated rights for employment of Deaf people in the United States and the greater availability of professional American Sign Language-English interpreters. Using the Critical Incident Technique initiated by Flanagan (1954), he investigated the experience of 17 Deaf white-collar employees, whose dominant language is American Sign Language, regarding their perceptions of interpreter-mediated communication in the workplace. Data analysis resulted in nine main ideas, including (a) Deaf professionals have a rich understanding of effective interpreter behaviors and systems of interpreter provision, (b) Deaf professionals are burdened with “access work” in relation to interpreting, and (c) Deaf professionals are acutely aware that they are being represented through interpreters, among other ideas. The findings provide the first large-scale examination of Deaf employees’ perceptions of interpreter-mediated communication in the workplace. Ultimately, this study offers a starting point to determine whether the Deaf professionals perceive interpreting services as fulfilling the legislated promise of communication access in the workplace.

The members of Mr. Harrelson’s dissertation committee are Dr. Brenda Nicodemus, Department of Interpretation and Translation, chair of the dissertation committee; Dr. Emily Shaw, Department of Interpretation and Translation; Dr. Lori Whynot, Department of Interpretation and Translation; Dr. Khadijat Rashid, Dean of the School of Education, Business and Human Services; and Dr. Jules Dickinson, Honorary Research Fellow, Heriot-Watt University.

Paul Harrelson is an instructor in the Gallaudet University Department of Interpretation and Translation where he teaches business and government discourse skills and professional practice courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels. He entered the doctoral program in 2013 and his primary research focus has been signed language interpreting in the workplace. He has been a professional American Sign Language-English interpreter for over 25 years.

Please join me in extending best wishes to Paul Harrelson for his dissertation defense. 

Posted by Elizabeth Gibbons | Posted July 25, 2019 at 10:24 AM


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800 Florida Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20002