An interpreter's role is to
facilitate communication and convey all auditory and signed
information so that both hearing and deaf individuals may fully
interact. This includes questions, answers, comments, and dialogue
that occurs on the part of the professor/speaker as well as the
other individuals in the class/meeting. The interpreter will
"voice" for the deaf student if he/she does not use his or her own
voice. In other words, the interpreter will vocally express in
English whatever is signed, mouthed, or cued by the deaf
All interpreters who interpret for students at Butler University
need to abide by the Code of Ethics associated with the Registry of
Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and are expected to conduct
themselves in a professional manner in all campus settings. Guiding
principles include the following:
shall keep all assignment-related information strictly
shall render the message faithfully, always conveying the content
and spirit of the speaker, using language most readily understood
by the person(s) whom they serve.
shall not counsel, advise, or interject personal opinions.
shall accept assignments using discretion with regard to skill,
setting, and the interpreting needs of the students involved.
shall request compensation for services in a professional and
shall function in a manner appropriate to the situation.
shall strive to further knowledge and skills through participation
in workshops, professional meetings, interactions with professional
colleagues, and reading of current literature in the field.
shall strive to maintain high professional standards as outlined
more fully and comprehensively in the Code of Ethics.
As mentioned above, the interpreter's obligation is to transmit
information and facilitate communication while allowing the student
and instructor/facilitator to actually control the communication
interaction. Instructors/facilitators should refrain from asking
the interpreter to perform other tasks, such as functioning as a
teacher's aide or a participant in class activities, as this may
interfere with the quality of communication provided and could
compromise the role of the interpreter.
Please keep 'lines
of sight' free so that the deaf student is able to access visual
information. The interpreter will attempt to stand or sit in direct
line with the instructor, the student, and any visual aids.
normally interpret one or two sentences behind the speaker. It is
important to speak naturally at a reasonable, modest pace, keeping
in mind that the interpreter must listen and understand a complete
thought before signing it.
Allow time during
class discussions for question and answer periods in order for the
deaf student to raise his/her hand, to be recognized, and ask
questions through the interpreter. This will allow the interpreter
time to finish interpreting the comments of other individuals in
the classroom before beginning to interpret the comments or
questions of the student who is deaf. It is also most helpful for
instructors to wait until after the interpreter has finished
signing the instructor's question before calling on a student to
answer the question. This allows deaf students the opportunity to
see the full question and then raise their hands if they wish to
It is important to
look directly at, and speak directly to, the deaf student as this
is the individual to whom you are actually communicating, not the
interpreter. The interpreter will interpret the exact words that
are stated so please avoid the use of third party phrases such as
"ask her" or "tell him".
situations, semi-circles or circles often work best for deaf and
Try to avoid
talking while students are focused on textual materials or in-class
written work as the deaf student will be unable to read or write as
well as watch the interpreter at the same time.
For classes longer
than one hour, please plan for at least one five minute, mid-class
break so that the student and interpreter can enjoy a mental and
physical break from the rigors of the situation. Receiving
information visually can be tiring and cause eye fatigue for deaf
The interpreter is
able to convey one message at a time so it is important that only
one person speak/sign at a time. Instructors should inform the
other students in the class about this and encourage the students
to wait until the instructor/facilitator recognizes them before
speaking or signing.
Most current films
are captioned as outlined by law. Captioned films are recommended
because they allow the deaf student direct visual access to the
information provided in the classroom. If closed captioning is
unavailable on a movie or other audiovisual materials planned for
use in the classroom, please contact Student Disability Services
for a discussion as to how to best provide equitable access. In
some cases, it may be possible for the interpreter to interpret the
film but this requires prior discussion regarding a number of
issues including lighting, positioning, etc.
For many deaf
students, English is not their first language. In addition, some
English words and terms do not have a signed equivalent. This may
result in a deaf student having difficulties with the wording of
some examination questions. An interpreter may be needed for the
purpose of translating English text into sign language for
examinations. The interpreter should not help the student with
content or wording of his/her answer. Please direct any questions
or concerns about this to Student Disability Services.
Some words, terms
and names will need to be fingerspelled. Fingerspelling is a way of
representing the alphabet on the hand and the interpreter will need
to know the correct spelling. This can be facilitated by the
instructor writing this type of information on the board or visual
It is beneficial
for the instructor/facilitator to provide
handouts, presentation slides, and/or required readings to SDS
prior to the first day of class. The information will be shared
with the interpreter for advanced preparation for the course. SDS
will also attempt to secure desk copies of textbooks for the
student's required courses so that they can also be used by the
interpreter for advanced preparation.
If the deaf
individual(s) are not present when a class/meeting begins, the
interpreter is expected to wait a few minutes for late arrival. If
the deaf student does not arrive within 15 minutes after the start
of the class, the interpreter may leave the classroom and is
expected to notify Student Disability Services that the
student did not make it to class. For your information, Butler
University has adopted the no-show policy which is commonly used by
colleges and universities. That is, a student who is absent on
three occasions without informing SDS according to the guidelines
stated in the Interpreter Guidelines for Students will be subject
to suspension of services until they initiate and follow through on
a discussion about this with Student Disability Services.
information, please contact the Office of Student Disability
Services in Jordan Hall 136, by phone (317) 940-9308, or by email