Disability Services Office

Student guide for working with interpreters in Zoom classes

Note: Updated March 24, 2020

If you are lacking equipment for this process, contact Dimitri at dimitri1@uw.edu.

Tips for working with interpreters via Zoom

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.
Share your class links

It will be your responsibility to make sure we have the links for each class or meeting. If your professor says it will be the same link every day, let us know.

  • As your instructors send out the Zoom links to connect for your classes, share links with Dimitri Azadi (dhhreq@uw.edu).
  • He will be coordinating with the interpreters (and needs to have your links in case there is a change in schedules).
Share your links for smaller groups too

If you are meeting a small group separate from class for group projects or research groups, you will want to make sure the link for those meetings are also sent to Dimitri (dhhreq@uw.edu).

You create the interpreting meeting

Because the interpreters will be on a separate connection and a separate device, you will be the one responsible for creating the interpreting meeting, which will be joined only by you and your interpreters.

  • Send this link to Dimitri as well (dhhreq@uw.edu).
  • You may want to create an ongoing meeting for interpreting for each class, so that the link will be the same throughout the quarter. You can do this by either setting up a separate meeting for each class that is ongoing based on the schedule. Or you can use your personal meeting and just have the interpreters log into it for each meeting and class.
  • It will be helpful to log into your interpreting meeting with the interpreters 5 to 10 minutes early to ensure there are no technical issues.
Visibility and clarity

Please remember, that just as interpreters need to be seen clearly and with contrasting clothing, so do you!

  • Because this is even more important through video, please think about what you are wearing, and think about what is behind you.
  • If a bright window or brightly lit room is behind you, it will be hard to see your signs.
Watch class on your primary device
  • On the day of the class or meeting, you will click the link to go into the Zoom meeting for your class on your preferred device.
  • Some students prefer the interpreters to be on the larger device and the class on the smaller, but it will depend on if the instructor is showing slides or other things that you also need to see.
Watch interpreters on your secondary device

Your interpreters should be connecting with you on this secondary device.

  • On the secondary device (the one for the interpreters) click the link to enter that meeting.
  • Remember that because you created the interpreting zoom meeting, you are the “host” and the interpreters can’t enter until you have opened that meeting.
Your interpreters will be on both devices
  • Your interpreters will be also on two devices. They will be connected to your class or meeting on one device and will be connected to you on the other, same as you. That way they can keep you at a size that is easy to read your signs.
  • You may want the two interpreters of equal size side by side, or you may want to move the screen to make the active interpreter larger.
Plan for successful interactions

Within the zoom meeting/class there are ways to “raise your hand” so that the host of the meeting can call on you. How and when your instructors use that feature will depend on the class. (Remember, many of the instructors are learning how to do this at the last minute as well.) We are advising instructors to use that feature and to give a pause between speakers.

  • If you wish to interject, or ask a question, you will probably want to figure out a way to signal the interpreter.
  • You will need to know how your interpreters will let you know it is time to switch interpreters. Because we are still experimenting with what is most effective, please communicate with your interpreters to find out how they will be taking turns.
  • We are also asking the instructors to develop a culture of everyone starting with their name so that everyone knows who is speaking.
Exchange contact information with interpreters

As backup, we recommend exchanging phone numbers with your interpreters so that as a last resort you can use Facetime, or, if one of you has an Android, you can use Google Duo (which works on both platforms) to connect visually.