Tips to Working with a Sign Language Interpreter


  • Communicate directly to the deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf/blind person. Speak as if the interpreter was not present. 
  • Maintain eye contact with the deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf/blind person, 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 between the interpreter, student, and presenter. 
  • 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. 
  • If you are planning on using AV media in the classroom, ensure that videos shown are captioned.  If no captioning is available, please contact the Office of Accessibility and speak with a technology specialist as soon as possible.
  • Remember, interpreters are neutral communication facilitators and are unavailable to serve as student tutors, lab partners, or classroom participants.