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When a deaf individual who uses sign language communicates with an individual who does not know sign language, a sign language interpreter may be warranted to assist with effective communication. Sign language interpreters are professionals who facilitate communication between deaf and hearing people in a wide variety of settings including, but not limited to, education, medical, legal, employment, and more.

Sign Language Interpreters: An Introduction

The role of the interpreter appears to be very straightforward—to effectively facilitate communication between deaf individuals and those who are hearing. However, the complexities of the task, the varieties or types of visual interpreting, and the enormous range of qualifications brought by the interpreter make it anything but simple.
Topics: Deaf 101 , Interpreting
Useful For: Audiologists, Disability Services Professionals, Employers, New Users, Teachers

Sign Language Interpreters in the Classroom

Although visual language interpreters have become more visible and prominent in the classroom since the Americans With Disabilities Act was passed in 1990, they have been a part of the educational landscape since the early 1970s. Still, their role is often confusing and distracting.

Topics: Interpreting
Useful For: Disability Services Professionals, New Users, Teachers

Interpreters as a Reasonable Accommodation for Testing

Regardless of one's role in administering an assessment—as a professor in a college course or a psychological examiner conducting an evaluation—test providers recognize the importance of obtaining an accurate measurement of student learning, knowledge, abilities, attitudes, and skills.
Topics: Interpreting , Testing
Useful For: Disability Services Professionals, Interpreters, Parents, Teachers

Dual Accommodations: Interpreters and Speech-to-Text Services

Interpreting and speech-to-text services are commonplace accommodations for an audience that comprises several deaf individuals who rely on different communication modes (e.g., ASL, lip reading). This type of dual accommodation most often occurs at large magnet events such as conferences. Dual accommodation for an individual student in a postsecondary setting occurs less frequently but is appropriate under certain circumstances.
Topics: Interpreting , Speech-to-Text (Services)
Useful For: Disability Services Professionals, Interpreters, Teachers

Telecommunications: VRS, VRI, and TRS

With technology always seemingly one step ahead of us, it's easy to confuse the various telecommunication services used to visually connect hearing and deaf individuals who wish to communicate with each other. Three primary telecommunication services are in use today: (a) video relay service (VRS), (b) telecommunications relay service (TRS), and (c) video remote interpreting (VRI). VRS and TRS are free programs regulated by the Federal Communications Commission, and VRI is a fee-based service that satisfies the communication-related mandates of the Americans With Disabilities Act. As their names suggest, VRS and VRI are video-based services, and TRS is text driven.
Topics: Assistive Technology , Interpreting
Useful For: Disability Services Professionals, New Users, Parents, Students