Sign Language Interpreting Services
Sign language interpreters are professionals who facilitate communication between deaf or hard of hearing (d/hh) and hearing individuals. Interpreting from English to American Sign Language (ASL) and from ASL to English allows both d/hh and hearing individuals to understand and communicate with each other. The d/hh person may be a member of faculty or staff, a student, a parent of a student or other visitor or customer.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act are the two laws that mandate the provision of sign language interpreters as an “auxiliary aid or service” for any business or program that is federally, state or locally funded. The code of professional conduct by National Association of the Deaf and Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf along with any workplace codes of conduct require that all interpreters adhere to standards of confidentiality, professionalism, respect, ethical practices and professional development.
At Georgia State University, sign language interpreters are utilized in many capacities such as:
- Academic-related (i.e. classroom, student/faculty meetings, required off-campus classes and activities)
- Student orientation, advising and counseling meetings, tutoring and other auxiliary services
- Extracurricular (i.e. chartered clubs and organizations, student government and sports)
- Faculty/staff support (i.e. faculty/staff development day, training, business meetings and interviews)
- Campus-wide events (i.e. visiting speakers, theater productions, workshops and commencement)
The majority of sign language interpreting services at Georgia State University takes place in the classroom. The interpreter typically sits at the front of the classroom in a location visible to the d/hh student. The lecture and student comments are interpreted including asides and non verbals with the goal of conveying the spirit and content of what is being communicated. The interpreter will voice interpret any questions or comments from the d/hh student. The instructor’s personality and discourse style and the classroom dynamics will all be imparted to the d/hh student naturally through the interpreting process. Also, media content that is shown during class or made available via i-College must be accessible to the d/hh student such as in the form of approved captions, a transcript, or an interpretation. It is important that instructors and interpreters work together to ensure full access to the classroom environment and all course content whether required or supplemental.
In our goal to create spaces of social justice for d/hh individuals, campus organizations and departments often have to cooperate with one another. A point of confusion in requesting and scheduling interpreters is who will be responsible for paying for the service. Furthermore, matching the skill of the interpreter with the needs of the d/hh consumer is very important to ensure effective communication. The office of disability services can assist with navigating this process to ensure university-sponsored events and activities are accessible to d/hh individuals.
For additional information on interpreting services for students:
To request a sign language interpreter or contact us with any questions: https://disability.gsu.edu/resources/request-accommodations-events-activities/
Code of Professional Conduct
Infoguides: Interpreter Resources: Post-secondary Interpreters