Faculty and Staff
Academic Accommodation Information for Faculty
Working with Sign Language Interpreters
Sign language interpreters are professionals who provide the necessary communication link between hearing and deaf, or hard of hearing individuals. Interpreters hired by The University of Texas at Dallas follow a professional code of conduct developed by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. When you are working with an interpreter, consider the following communication tips:
- Communicate directly to the student. Speak as if the interpreter was not present.
- Speak in first person, “I” and let the interpreter be your voice.
- Maintain eye contact with the student, not the interpreter.
- Speak at your normal pace using natural gestures and expressions.
- Be aware that the interpreter will interpret everything that is said. If you do not want something interpreted, do not say it.
- Maintain a clear line of visual contact among the interpreter, and the student who is deaf, or hard of hearing.
- Make sure there is adequate lighting for the student to see the interpreter during presentations using technology, such as PowerPoint presentations, film/videos, or other web-based materials.
- Provide the interpreter with necessary course information in advance, such as lecture materials, powerpoint slides and supplemental reading to enhance course materials. This additional information will enable the interpreter to more effectively convey the course content.
- Be sensitive to class sessions or meetings extending longer than one hour. The interpreter may require a short break in order to maintain proficiency in interpreting.
- If the student who is deaf or hard of hearing does not show up for class or a meeting, the interpreter will generally wait 15 minutes then will notify the Office of Student AccessAbility.
- Should an interpreter not be present during a class period, conduct class as usual, recognizing the need of the student who is deaf or hard of hearing to have information given visually (i.e. use of blackboard, clear view of speaker's face, borrowing notes from a classmate, etc.). Remember, interpreters are neutral communication facilitators and are unavailable to serve as student tutors, lab partners or classroom participants.
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