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ASL-English Interpreter / Captionist Handbook

Classroom Guidelines

  1. First week of class: It is important to arrive early the first week of class. This allows the interpreter to make introductions to the instructor, explain the interpreter's role and discuss seating arrangements. This is also the time to meet the student and become acquainted with their signing style, and any specialized signs they may prefer to use for that class. The interpreter should acquire a syllabus for every class in order to stay apprised of the schedule. REMEMBER: this first meeting with the instructor and DHH student is a chance to establish a good working relationship. This is a good time to approach the instructor about multi-media use in the class such as online video clips or DVD's that need to be accessible with closed-captioning.
  2. Exams & Tests: DHH students are responsible to communicate to the Interpreter Coordinator any changes in the class schedule or changes in accommodation needs. On exam day, instructors may make announcements about the test material, explain corrections on the test, or give advice on how to answer certain questions. The student may have a question as well, so one interpreter should be present. Interpreters and service providers are encouraged to communicate to the Interpreter Coordinator about any potential changes in the schedule.

  • Test Center Accommodations

The A.R.C. Testing Center is responsible for administering all tests for students with disabilities approved for test accommodations (i.e. extended test time). Students who wish to use this accommodation must make an appointment with the Testing Center in advance. DHH students who wish to take a test with interpreting accommodations must meet the A.R.C. Coordinator for approval. All interpreted tests are conducted at the Testing Center. Do not accompany a DHH student to a separate area such as the library to interpret test questions, even if an instructor gives permission.

If you are asked during an in-class test from a DHH student to briefly interpret a written test question, please clarify/interpret the question with instructor involvement. This avoids the perception that the interpreter is collaborating to help the DHH student cheat.

  • Finals:

There are no interpreting service accommodations during finals week unless the DHH student makes a request at least two weeks in advance.

The final class typically only meets ONE time during the final exam week. Some instructors may change the date of the final or choose to have two class sessions. Please keep the Interpreter Coordinator apprised of any announced changes. Usually one interpreter works a final exam and this is up to the Interpreter Coordinator.

  1. Classroom Questions: Instructors or hearing students may be curious and ask the interpreter questions about ASL signs, or about the DHH student. If the DHH student is present, then direct the question to the student. If the student is not present or involved elsewhere, please refrain from answering for the DHH student. For example, an instructor may ask, "Can he speak or read lips at all?" or "Was she born deaf?" This information should be answered by the DHH student and is considered confidential. A recommended interpreter response would be: 

"Great question! I would be happy to interpret. Let's ask the student directly."

Physical Set-up: The interpreter should position in the best location where the DHH student can see the instructor and the interpreted message. Be mindful that some instructors become very intimidated and uncomfortable with an interpreter right up front. Be tactful and explain why you must be seated in the front in order for the DHH student to have a clear "line of sight" for all pertinent information. If your classroom happens not to have a chair please check other classrooms nearby (this is a good job for the team interpreter). Contact the Interpreter Coordinator to request that chair(s) be put in the classroom.

  • If instructors/lecturers walk around while speaking, or if videos and visual aids are being used in a different location, the interpreter should consider relocating to the spot of the activity. This ensures that the deaf student has continued access to all information that is happening. Ask the student what works best.
  • It is the interpreter's responsibility to make sure lighting is adequate at all times. Be careful of being seated in front of bright windows creating visual glare for the student. When videos or T.V. programs are shown, work out an arrangement with the instructor to have some lighting. Use any available low-lighting means from projectors, computer screens, or a door slightly open. If you are continually struggling with lighting issues in dark classrooms from videos or power point presentations and cannot resolve the issue with the instructor, please contact the Interpreter Coordinator.
  • When interpreting on a platform, remember to limit fingerspelling and use larger sign production.
  1. Closed Captioning Accommodations: Please ask the instructor about any anticipated classroom DVD's, YouTube clips, or online movies to be shown. Instructional Media Services is available to help with accessibility questions or for in-class equipment support use. IMS can be reached from any classroom black phone by dialing ext.7374. An IMS Tech will come out immediately to help with equipment. If videos are continually shown in class without (CC), please let the Interpreter Coordinator know as soon as possible.
  2. Interpreter/Provider Schedules: If a DHH student feels there has been a interpreting service error, please direct all students to call/text the Interpreter Coordinator to resolve any problems. Please follow your schedule and do not allow a student to demand interpreting services that deviate from your confirmed schedule. This excludes last minute emergency interpreting services with law enforcement (Sheriff) on campus, or at the Health Services Office. Direct the student to contact the Interpreter Coordinator for all other interpreting requests.
  3. Technical/Specialized Vocabulary: When interpreting a class with unfamiliar vocabulary, check with the Interpreter Coordinator for some helpful materials located at A.R.C. from previous classes. If any materials are handed out in class, consider turning these into the A.R.C. for future interpreters to use. Let the Interpreter Coordinator know if text books or prep time are needed.
Last Updated: 07/18/2018
  • Grossmont
  • Cuyamaca
A Member of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District