American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter best practices for Zoom meetings

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A consultation before the meeting is vital because meeting structure and logistics details will vary from one Zoom meeting to another, and these variations can significantly affect access to interpreted information. As an ASL interpreter, you should meet with the host to ensure that the measures needed for an accessible Zoom meeting are understood and correctly set up by the host.

Pre-meeting consultation

  1. Meet with event host(s) to discuss technical settings and procedures that will help to ensure a successful meeting. Invite the D/deaf or hard-of-hearing participants to be involved in the meeting.
  2. Consult with the D/deaf or hard-of-hearing participants to discuss and clarify their preferences. Take note of any specific accommodations requested at the meeting.
  3. If multiple interpreters are required, discuss how a switch of interpreters will be indicated to ASL users (ask ASL users their preference).
  4. Obtain a list of names of any interpreters and D/deaf or hard-of-hearing participants that will be attending and have the list available during the meeting to allow needed access through specific settings such as co-host and multi-pin.

Before the meeting

  1. Discuss the required settings with the host, including:
    • Request that interpreter(s) and D/deaf and hard-of-hearing participants are made co-hosts. This allows multi-pinning options and allows D/deaf and hard-of-hearing participants to easily and quickly locate videos of interpreter(s) and other ASL users.
    • If multiple D/deaf and hard-of-hearing participants are attending the same meeting, they each will need to be able to see one another to visually access any questions or comments originating from their signing colleagues. See Pinning participants' videos – Zoom Help Center.
      Only IU Zoom accounts can be made co-hosts ahead of time. Interpreters and participants from outside IU must join the meeting as a participant, then ask to be promoted to co-host.
    • Request that participants have access to Chat features so D/deaf and hard-of-hearing participants can communicate with interpreters and hosts if an issue arises. At a minimum, private chat with the host should be enabled in case the need arises to report technical difficulties with less interruption to the meeting.
  2. Discuss how presenters may need to speak more slowly and pause before and after speaking to allow time for interpretation.
  3. Discuss how all meeting participants can ask questions. The host should clarify at the beginning of the meeting if questions are to be extended through spoken English (through the interpreter), through raising a hand (clarify an actual hand raise or a virtual hand-raise), or through the chat.
  4. Discuss the additional considerations required for breakout rooms, such as:
    • Provide a few moments of pause before speaking begins again so the D/deaf and hard-of-hearing participants can locate interpreters and other signing colleagues and pin them again.
    • There must be at least one interpreter assigned to the same breakout room as each D/deaf or hard-of-hearing participant.
    • Additional participants should be assigned to the discussion breakout room with the D/deaf or hard-of-hearing participant. Interpreters are not participants, nor do they contribute - as individuals - to discussions or interactions.
    • Returning to the main meeting room after breakout sessions may require reinstating co-host status.
    • All videos will need to be pinned again after returning from breakout rooms. Be sure the hosts are aware to incorporate a sufficient pause before beginning content delivery. (Checking in with the interpreter/D/deaf or hard-of-hearing participants to be sure they are prepared to proceed is ideal.)

During the meeting

  1. Be sure you are available to attend the meeting early in order to establish a connection with D/deaf or hard-of-hearing participants and pin needed videos. You will need to pin all Deaf/hard-of-hearing participants to see any questions, comments, or requests for clarification expressed in ASL.
  2. Edit your name to include ASL or ASL interpreter so it is easy for all participants and hosts to identify you.
  3. Ensure you are able to see the D/deaf or hard-of-hearing participants so that any needed clarification or missed information can be ascertained. (This is especially important when there are multiple interpreters in a Zoom meeting, and they alternate after a designated period.)
  4. Be sure to identify the ASL user who is commenting or asking a question before interpreting from ASL to spoken English.
  5. If breakout rooms are utilized, all videos will need to be pinned again upon entering the breakout room and returning to the meeting room - every time.
  6. Re-pinning videos may also be necessary after screen-sharing is stopped. Co-host assignments are sometimes lost at this point. Confirm that co-host status has been maintained or granted again. (Be sure to pause to allow time for interpreters and D/deaf or hard-of-hearing participants to re-pin videos if needed, or they will lose access to any information being shared.)
  7. If ASL users are still pinning videos or dealing with other issues, communicate with the host if additional time is needed before resuming content delivery.
  8. Clearly identify to D/deaf or hard-of-hearing participants when the interpreters are switching.

After the meeting

Check in with D/deaf or hard-of-hearing participants and meeting hosts for any feedback regarding the success of the meeting, including logistics and technical issues experienced.

This is document bgwl in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2022-10-20 13:13:56.