Interpreting Guidelines for Staff, Faculty, and Instructors

Working with a Sign Language Interpreter

 Before a meeting or event with a sign language interpreter – what you should know

  • The interpreter(s) will arrive early to introduce him/her self to you and answer any questions you may have.
  • The interpreter(s) will negotiate placement that will allow for optimal sight lines that will allow the Deaf individual to see the presenter and interpreter at the same time).
  • The interpreter(s) will need to be sure that their location has a sufficient amount of lighting.  Even if lights are dimmed, the Interpreter and Deaf participant must have enough light to communicate with one another.
  • The interpreter may want to briefly clarify unique vocabulary, acronyms, technical jargon, etc.

 Please provide the interpreter(s) with any course information as soon as it is available.  This includes:

  • Access to Web Vista, Moodle and other web-based material
  • The course syllabus
  • Handouts (ie: PowerPoint slides, class readings, etc.)

The handouts may be submitted to   This allows the interpreter(s) a chance to prepare and convey accurate information.

 Before showing a video in class, please check to see the media is captioned and have the captions turned on for viewing. If the video does not have captions please refer to

Communication with a sign language interpreter present

Communicate directly with the individual who is Deaf or hard of hearing.

Interpreter(s) will convey auditory information via sign language.  This auditory information includes:

  • Identifying speakers
  • The dialogue (what you and other students say)
  • Descriptions of environmental sounds (e.g. music, alarms, cell phones ringing)

An interpreter can only accommodate one speaker at a time.  Please remember to:

  • Repeat student questions before answering.
  • Encourage students to speak clearly, and one at a time.
  • Face the class and minimize movement across a large area.

Understand the interpreter’s role

The interpreter is a communication facilitator, striving to ensure that communication is accessible between Deaf and hearing people.

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: