Host a Zoom meeting with American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters

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As host, you are responsible for ensuring your Zoom meeting is inclusive and accessible for people who communicate via American Sign Language (ASL). To do so, there are certain steps you must take both to prepare for the meeting and during the meeting.

Because the Zoom format and the traditional face-to-face interpreting process differ greatly, multiple considerations and configurations are required to achieve communication access for D/deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences in the Zoom format.

Pre-meeting consultation

Meet with interpreter(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.

Take note of any specific accommodations requested at the meeting.

Consult with the D/deaf or hard-of-hearing participants to discuss and clarify their preferences. Keep in mind that the majority of Deaf participants do not read lips, nor do they rely on residual hearing via hearing aids or other hearing devices. For them communication is achieved through the usage of an ASL interpreter. As for the hard-of-hearing participants, their preferences could differ and they may not necessarily use ASL or other forms of sign language.

Before the meeting

You must take several steps before your meeting to ensure the best experience for people relying on ASL interpretation through Zoom.

  1. Allow 10-15 minutes before the meeting to ensure all accommodations are in place.
  2. Consult with the ASL interpreter(s). This consultation allows you to discuss the format of the meeting, such as the use of breakout rooms, and any settings or practices the interpreter may recommend.

    Since some professional interpreters may have little to no experience using some of the Zoom features, it's important to seek consultation from a knowledgeable source is important.

  3. Make your interpreters and ASL users co-hosts. This allows them to easily take on the task of quickly locating and pinning multiple interpreter and ASL user videos so you can concentrate on your other responsibilities as host. Up to nine participants' videos may be pinned. A co-host can also create a local recording of the meeting that will contain the layout of their Zoom screen, including the video of the ASL interpreters.
    Only IU Zoom accounts can be made co-hosts ahead of time. Interpreters and participants from outside IU must be invited as and join the meeting as a participant, then ask to be promoted to co-host.
  4. Adjust your meeting settings to:
    • Allow all participants to use the chat features so D/deaf and hard-of-hearing participants can communicate with interpreters and hosts if there are any issues. At a minimum, private chat with the host should be enabled to permit this.
    • Mute all participants on entry to the meeting, to reduce noise interference.

During the meeting

Follow these best practices during your meeting:

  1. Admit both interpreters and any D/deaf or hard-of-hearing participants into the meeting early so they can connect with one another and pin needed videos.

    The typical practice of allowing all participants into the room at once and speaking immediately excludes D/deaf and hard-of-hearing participants who must search for and pin interpreter's videos.

  2. Ensure that interpreters are able to see the D/deaf and hard-of-hearing participants so that any needed clarification or missed information can be determined. This is especially important when there are multiple interpreters in a Zoom meeting who alternate after a designated period.
  3. If recording the meeting, spotlight the ASL interpreter to make sure they will be visible in the recording.
  4. Ensure that D/deaf and hard-of-hearing participants have access to asking questions. Clarify for all participants at the beginning of the meeting if questions are to be asked through spoken English (through the interpreter), through raising a hand (clarify an actual hand raise or a virtual hand-raise), or through the chat.
  5. Encourage all participants to say their name before commenting: "This is Jiatyan speaking, ..."
  6. Provide a brief pause before speaking so interpreters and all D/deaf and hard-of-hearing participants may be located and pinned. This is especially important when entering breakout rooms or returning to the main meeting.
  7. Pause after a final sentence or question to allow the interpreter to sign the entire utterance and allow D/deaf and hard-of-hearing participants to respond before moving on.

    Interpreters must first hear the information in spoken English, then interpret that message into ASL, so D/deaf and hard-of-hearing participants are receiving the information on a delay, later than hearing participants.

Notes about breakout rooms:
  • If you'll use breakout rooms, all videos will need to be pinned upon entering the breakout room and again upon returning to the larger meeting room - every time.
  • There must be at least one interpreter assigned to the same breakout room as each D/deaf or hard-of-hearing participant.
  • If the purpose of breakout rooms is to have individuals engaging with one another, be sure an additional participant is assigned to the 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.

This is document bgwo in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2023-10-31 12:25:56.