Interpreting Guidelines for Deaf or Hard of Hearing People

Working with a Sign Language Interpreter

Communicate with your interpreter

Interpreters are able to meet different needs.  If you are watching your interpreter and would understand better if s/he:

  • used more/less English,
  • used more/less ASL,
  • fingerspelled faster/slower,
  • made their signs bigger/smaller, etc.,

please let them know! Often your interpreter will be able to adjust right away.

If you would like your interpreter to stand or sit in a different place, please tell him/her.

If your interpreter is fingerspelling a concept or using a sign different from your preferred sign, please feed the sign to him/her.  Interpreters appreciate learning new vocabulary.

Please fill out the feedback form [link this to the form] at any time during the semester.  Be as specific as you can be…your comments are appreciated and help your interpreters grow to meet your needs.

If for some reason you do not feel comfortable communicating directly with your interpreter, please contact a member of the the ICU Administration team (icu@umn.edu) to share your concern.

Keep the interpreter and the ICU informed

If you are giving a presentation, and you are choosing to sign, remember to provide prep information to your interpreter and the ICU. The prep will help ensure that the interpreter will be able to voice your presentation as you intend. Prep information includes:

  • Notes
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Practice run-through (if there is time),

You can request interpreters for one-time meetings outside of regularly scheduled services.

If you are planning to miss a class or meeting, or if there is a change of location or time, please remember to inform the ICU. Even if you tell the interpreter, changes are not official until the ICU knows about them.

Communication is a team effort

You are the expert about what you need.  Advocate for what you need directly with your hearing peers, faculty, staff (ex. captioned media, better lighting, different seating arrangements). Often these requests mean more when they come directly from you than from the interpreter.

Interpreters at the University are committed to making sure you have as much communication access as possible. We are excited to work with you to make sure you have a positive experience.

Understand the interpreter’s role

The interpreter is a communication facilitator, striving to assure that communication is accessible between you and your hearing peers.

While working as a neutral communication facilitator, the interpreter cannot serve as a participant.

The interpreter will follow the NAD-RID Code of Professional Conduct.  You can view the Code of Professional Conduct at this link: http://www.rid.org/ethics/code/index.cfm/AID/66