Tips for Working With Interpreters

Working with an Interpreter

  • An interpreter is a communication facilitator, and allows Deaf students to fully participate in classroom activities by providing communication access. Interpreters do not act in the role of advisor, tutor, note taker, personal representative or advocate.  If a Deaf student needs these types of services, please refer him/her to DRS for further assistance.
  • Please provide the interpreter with a copy of information such as handouts, the syllabus, reading materials, vocabulary words, etc. in advance, so that s/he has time to prepare.
  • During class, the interpreter should be seated close to the instructor.  This will allow the Deaf student to see the instructor and the interpreter at the same time.
  • If the instructor is speaking too fast, the interpreter may interrupt for further clarification.  It is important to remember that when reading, speaking rates increase. Please be conscious of your rate of speech.
  • Direct all conversation toward the Deaf student.  Personal conversation between the instructor and the interpreter is unnecessary.
  • Interpreters in the classroom are working, and are neither enrolled in nor participating in the class.  They should not be asked for an opinion about the Deaf student or any classroom activity or discussion.
  • Communication should occur between the Deaf student and the instructor.  Please speak directly to the Deaf student.  For example, ask the Deaf student, “What is your name?” rather than stating to the interpreter, “Ask her what her name is.”  Maintain eye contact with the Deaf student, rather than the interpreter.