Welcome to "Working with Interpreters 101"

You've arrived at this page because you will have a sign language interpreter in one of your classes this semester. This webpage is dedicated to helping you learn how to work with this interpreter to everyone's benefit in your class. So, whether this is  your first time or your twentieth time to work with an interpreter, please relax and read through the tips listed on this page to help your semester run smoothly.

Sign Language Interpreters at WSU share these common qualities and responsibilities--
  1. The interpreters are all certified, qualified and follow the national Code of Professional Conduct.
  2. The interpreters will facilitate communication between everyone in the classroom, and will convey the intent, feeling, and content of the communication to all involved.
  3. The interpreter will interpret everything that is said in the class, whether it is spoken by you or by the other students. If you don't want something interpreted, please don't say it in the interpreter's presence.
  4. The interpreter will NOT join in class discussions. They are NOT participants in the classroom; they are simply there to enable the deaf student to participate fully.
Classroom Considerations--
  1. The interpreter will be positioned near the front of the class to establish a clear line of sight to both you as the instructor and the interpreter from the student’s perspective.
  2. When showing videotapes in the class, use captioned videos whenever possible. If a captioned video is not available, our office will provide a transcript of the video, given two weeks notice. Please plan ahead.
  3. If a video without captions is used, and no transcript is available, please leave enough light in the room for the student to clearly see the interpreter.
  4. Many specialized vocabulary words do not have standard signs in sign language and will need to be fingerspelled by the interpreter. Having those terms available to the interpreter will be beneficial in making sure the spelling is correct.
Instructor Considerations--
  1. This deaf student is just like any other student in your class, except for one thing -- they can't hear. Please hold  them to the same expectations you have for the rest of your students. 
  2. When conversing with the deaf student, look at and speak directly to the student. The interpreter will interpret and you will see the student’s reactions through his/her  facial expressions.
  3. Our interpreters may work with several students each day. They may be interpreting in another class right before yours or right after. In an effort to enable them to be on time for each student, please refrain from beginning class early or continuing past the time allotted. 

Now, for a humorous view of a few minutes in the life of a sign language interpreter in someone's classroom, but certainly never yours!!!!
If you have any questions about working with the deaf student and/or the interpreter, please feel free to call 978-6972. I will be happy to help in any way I can.
 Kathy Stewart, Assistant Director
Office of Disability Services