Disability Support Services

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Services

Interpreters In Your Classroom

Interpreters in the Classroom

For information on how to work with ASL Interpreters in your classroom:

Pepnet's Sign Language Interpreters: In the Classroom


What can I do to make the class rewarding for the student and manageable for the interpreter?

There are a number of strategies you can employ, many of which will benefit your hearing students as well.

  1. Share course materials and teaching aids: If possible, meet with the interpreter prior to the first class to share the class syllabus, text book, handouts, PowerPoints, etc.
  2. Include the interpreter on your email and online discussion group rosters.
  3. Choosing a good sight line: Allow the student and the interpreter to choose the seat that provides the best visual vantage point. 
  4. Speak at natural or reasonable pace: Too slow of a pace is as difficult to interpret as too fast of a pace.
  5. Build in time for PowerPoints: The visual learner cannot watch the interpreter and look at a PowerPoint at the same time. After introducing the PowerPoint, allow time for the student to obtain the information conveyed and then focus on the screen. 
  6. Refrain from talking during written class work: For all of the same reasons described above. 
  7. Have all videos/films captioned: Many new videos/ films are already captioned. Nevertheless, always check to make sure: 1) they are indeed captioned; and 2) you know how to turn on captions should the media be “closed captioned.” 
  8. Plan breaks: Visual learning is physically challenging and can cause eye fatigue. The task of interpreting is cognitively and physically challenging. The allowance of breaks is especially important when there is only one interpreter. 
  9. Talk in the first-person: When talking to your student, look directly at the student, and not at the interpreter. Use “I” and “you” rather than such thirdperson statements as “ask her” or “tell him.” Using this simple communication strategy will strengthen your instructor/student relationship.Academics:

Keep in mind that the interpreters do not know any personal information about the student they are providing interpreting services for. If you ever have a question about them regarding academics, please ask your student directly. You may also reach out to their DSS Counselor. 

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Services
Building: LCW 110
Contact:  Rosemary Jensen

Phone: 408 864-8755
Disability Support Services Building: RSS 141
Contact: Patricia Whelan
Phone: 408.864.8753
TTY: 408.864.8748


Last Updated: 8/8/17