Tips for working with Interpreters for Faculty and Staff
Sign language interpreters are professionals who provide the necessary communication link between hearing and Deaf or hard of hearing (DHH) or Deafblind individuals. Interpreters hired by Ridgewater follow a professional code of conduct. When working with an interpreter, consider the following communication tips:
  • Communicate directly to the Deaf, hard of hearing or Deafblind person. Speak as if the interpreter was not present.
  • Maintain eye contact with the Deaf, hard of hearing or Deafblind 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 among the interpreter, Deaf, hard of hearing or Deafblind individual, 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.
  • Remember interpreters are neutral communication facilitators and are unavailable to serve as student tutors, lab partners, or classroom participants.
  • Because an interpreter can accommodate only one speaker at a time, please encourage turn-taking in your classroom.
  • Provide a short break every hour. Interpreting is mentally and physically taxing. Please do not ask the interpreter to interpret during these breaks.
  • Please use captioned media whenever possible. Most educational media has a great deal of information in a short amount of time and are very difficult to interpret to provide equal access.

NOTE: Interpreters do not share information they have interpreted. Contact Terry Grinde, Hutchinson Campus Disability Services Coordinator, terry.grinde@ridgewater.edu or 320-234-8650 or Jay Morrison, Willmar Campus Disability Services Coordinator, jay.morrison@ridgewater.edu or 320-222-8040, if you have questions or concerns.

Ridgewater College is an equal opportunity employer and educator.