Disability Services Office

Interpreter guide for Zoom classes

Note: Updated April 14, 2020

Multiple resources and YouTube videos are on the internet for step by step instructions on how to use Zoom. Many can be found at https://support.Zoom.us/hc/en-us. You may want to look at these if you haven’t worked with Zoom so that you can see how to pin screens, adjust screen sizes, etc. before interpreting in a Zoom meeting.

If you are lacking equipment for this process, contact Dimitri. We are collaborating with various resources on campus to loan devices where needed, so this may be an option for you.

Instruction and tips

Please be flexible

First and most important: We all want this to be successful! We are all learning together so we ask you to please be flexible as the problems are figured out.

  • Please remember that many of us (instructors, interpreters, and students) have never experienced Zoom as a classroom platform.
  • We are a team. Your feedback is important to share so we can figure out anything that may not be working.
Primary Device

Classroom setup information flow:
Students -> Dimitri -> Confirmation email -> Zoom Link @ “location – class”

  1. Students are responsible for getting all classroom and meeting links to Dimitri Azadi (dhhreq@uw.edu).
  2. Dimitri will pass them on to you.
  3. The Zoom link for the class/event will be in the “location” portion of the confirmations.
Secondary Device

Interpreter setup information flow:
Students ->Dimitri -> Confirmation email -> Zoom Link @ “location – interpreting”

  1. Interpreters will be responsible for setting up a second link for interpreter/Deaf student sessions. To support this, the UW will reimburse interpreters for a Pro Zoom account while classes remain online.
  2. This is also passed on so that for each job you will have:
    1. A Zoom link for the primary meeting, and
    2. A Zoom link for the second meeting on a separate device for the Deaf participant and the interpreters to see each other.
Logging In and Identifying Yourself

For security reasons the “allow participants to change their names” feature of the meetings cannot be turned on. One workaround to customize name before entering a meeting is to join the meeting using the Zoom app rather than by simply clicking a Join link from an email or browser page. This process allows the user to enter a name prior to joining the meeting. We recommend the following steps to log in and join the meeting with the chance to update display name:

  • Open the Zoom desktop or mobile application and select “Sign in.”
  • Select the “SSO” option for signing in.
  • When prompted for a company domain, enter “washington.zoom.us” for a Standard Zoom account.
  • Enter NetID and password when prompted to complete the sign-in process.
  • Once signed in, use the “Join” button to join a meeting
  • In the pop-up, enter the Meeting ID for the given meeting and update the Name field as desired.
  • When ready, click Join to join the meeting.
  • Identify yourself as “Interpreter 1 and Interpreter 2” so that the instructor knows who you are in case they break the room into breakout discussions. They will need to keep you in the same room as your client.
Video settings

Hiding a participant: If a participant turns off their video, you may still see a box with their name. If you do not want to see the box, go to their picture, click on the three dots and choose “hide non-video participants.” This will disappear people’s boxes. If they turn their video back on, they will appear again.

Presentation sharing and resizing: If you have only one computer, and the host shares a screen, which takes over a huge amount of screen space, you can “grab” the edge between the pictures and the document, and drag the pictures over to the left of the screen, thus narrowing the space the document occupies, and expanding the pictures again.

Teaming and switching

Collaborate with your team to figure out the best way to let each other know when to switch.

Tip: Depending on the size of device that you are using, in the Zoom link for interpreting you may want to keep the Deaf client larger and the team visible but maybe slightly smaller so that you can still see each other and for feeding each other if necessary.

When you are the “off” interpreter, hide yourself by clicking on the three dots, then clicking on hide video. You can also do this by clicking on the camera icon on the bottom of your computer screen. When you become the “on” interpreter, you turn your video back on by using the camera icon. This may also help in turn taking.

Audio settings

You may also want to connect with earbuds to the class link. “Off interpreter” should remain muted. Keep the interpreter meeting on mute to avoid auditory distractions.

Tip: If you use Bluetooth, remember that batteries may run out, so a wired headset may be the best way to go. I have been using the earbuds that came with my phone or standard ear buds that plug into my computer.

Small-scale meetings or 1:1

For smaller meetings or one on one meetings, you may be asked to just connect to the Deaf person within the same Zoom meeting. In some cases, this may work fine if your client and you can see each other well enough.

Filming tips for interpreters
  • You (and your signing) will look more 3-D if you position yourself so that your body is about 45 degrees to the camera, and then you turn your head and upper body back to face the camera. “Upper body” means from about the waist up. Make it a nice, easy, gentle turn back to the camera.
  • You should be comfortable in this position. If you are not, ask yourself: “How can I sit in such a way that I look more 3-D and can sign easily?” (Don’t try to come up with an answer, your body will do that for you). **Something to experiment with.
  • To change the background to your Zoom video, on your own picture, click the 3 dots and choose change background. You can find various gray backgrounds, etc. online to upload to Zoom. This is a fun feature that may replace the need for another background, if you don’t already have one.

As backup, the DSO team recommends exchanging phone numbers with your clients so that as a last resort you can use Facetime, or, if one of you have an Android, you can use Google Duo (which works on both platforms) to connect visually.