Frequently Asked Questions

Why does interaction between the interpreter and student continue after I am through speaking?

When using sign interpreting, it is customary to experience a natural time lag, as it is common that the interpreter is clarifying the signs or information that is being presented.


When the deaf student's behavior is inappropriate why does the interpreter not correct the situation?

The interpreter's position was established to provide clear and effective communication in a non-biased environment for the purpose of communication, inclusion and independence. Certified Interpreters are bound to a strict code of ethics that prohibits the interpreter from advising or correcting, and is also required to keep everything confidential.

Interpreters are provided ONLY to facilitate spoken language into sign. They are bound by a strict code of ethics not to advise, add input, or correct. All learned information is subject to privacy, even known information that the student may be cheating or skipping classes. If a certified interpreter breaks this code of ethics, he or she jeopardizes his or her own certification. This is common knowledge among the deaf population since their expectations are high. The instructor is advised to inform campus Deaf Services of attendance or behavior problems. In addition, all such information within the hearing distance of the Interpreter must be signed and vise versa.

Is it ok to tell the interpreter to retain info to tell the student at a later time?

Interpreters do not retain information; they only interpret what is being said. Exceptions to the rule would be small details.

Can I expect to have the interpreter tutor the student?

Interpreters are only made available for communication purposes; it is best for the interpreter to interpret for a tutor.

Why do Interpreters vary in classrooms?

Due to being considered qualified; interpreters are scarce in numbers compared to the need. We are contacted in order to meet the need. In addition to educational needs, often these same interpreters also are on call to offer their services for community interpreting assignments, such as medical, legal, or lecturing. Naturally, such demands result in spreading the interpreters thin. We assign various level interpreters around their own schedules. Due to various levels of state-recognized proficiency in their certification, higher-level interpreters are subject to being on-call for higher-level assignments. In such cases we send a Substitute (Sub). Should our office be notified in time that an interpreter will be out, a Sub will be assigned.

Is it ok to pair up the interpreter with the deaf student when engaged in classroom activities?

Interpreters are not intended for such interactions. The deaf student needs to interact with his hearing classmates in order for the mainstream agendas to take effect. On rare occasion there have been exceptions to the rule. This would have to be at the student's request, and agreeable to the interpreter.

Can I use the interpreter as an aid?

Interpreters are only asked to be available for the deaf student for communications purposes. Faculty provides all instructional assistance.

Why does the interpreter not wait the entire class period for a student?

All deaf students know that the interpreter will wait up to 15 minutes. If the student knows he will be late it is advisable for him to call ahead and retain the interpreter. The interpreter will often wait outside of a class to create fewer disturbances when leaving.

When the student is disruptive should the interpreter correct the student?

The class belongs to the instructor who will correct his or her own students; the interpreter will interpret the correction.

Why does the interpreter just blurt out questions or comments while I am teaching a class?

The interpreter is only voicing what the student is commenting on. Expect a time delay in such incidences. The interpreter will interrupt a lecture due to clarifying. Please keep in mind that if the interpreter did not understand, perhaps the students did not as well. If the student blurts out something inappropriately, consider the time lag. If it is not a time lag situation you may need to correct the student. The interpreter will voice for the student and not make the judgment calls. Through the actions of the interpreter an instructor is alerted to behavioral problems.

How do I speak in private to an interpreter?

Should an Instructor wish to interact privately with and Interpreter, it needs to be done in a private place. All spoken comments are to be interpreted, such as, "Don't interpret this!" All heard comments in the presence of a deaf person must be interpreted.

Where does the interpreter sit?

The interpreter may need to at least sit in front of the classroom in a space near the speaker. The deaf student needs to see the speaker and interpreter with minimal head movement. In some situations where the speaker paces the class -- such as math classes -- the interpreter may deem it imperative to shadow the instructor.


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