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Interpreter Services, Policies, and Procedures
Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) at California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) provide Sign Language Interpreters for deaf and hard of hearing students who request service. The aim is to facilitate communication between deaf and hard of hearing students and hearing students and professors within the classroom and other CSUB activities. All interpreters employed by SSD are expected to follow departmental guidelines as well as the Code of Ethics issued by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. www.rid.org
For students who require interpreters
1. Meet with Assistant Director to determine interpreter needs for classes
2. Provide course schedule for each quarter during pre-registration, if possible, and a confirmed class schedule as soon as possible.
3. It is up to the student to contact SSD regarding adds/drops and other schedule changes as soon as possible to avoid delays obtaining interpreters.
4. SSD will contact interpreters and match both student and interpreter schedules to arrange assignments.
5. Students, interpreters, and SSD staff should meet prior to the beginning of each quarter to discuss any necessary adjustments.
6. Students and interpreters should notify SSD in case of missed classes or absences.
Code of Professional Conduct
RID, along with the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), co-authored the ethical code of conduct for interpreters. Both organizations uphold high standards of professionalism and ethical conduct for interpreters. At the core of this code of conduct are the seven tenets, which are followed by guiding principles and illustrations.
- Interpreters adhere to standards of confidential communication.
- Interpreters possess the professional skills and knowledge required for the specific interpreting situation.
- Interpreters conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to the specific interpreting situation.
- Interpreters demonstrate respect for consumers.
- Interpreters demonstrate respect for colleagues, interns, and students of the profession.
- Interpreters maintain ethical business practices.
- Interpreters engage in professional development.
Applications for employment are initiated at the SSD Office and processed through the Human Resources Office. During the application procedure, a screening evaluation is required that will provide information on expressive and receptive skills as well as knowledge of ethics. This process will include a personal interview and may include voice-to-sign and sign-to-voice interpretation with a deaf individual or in a classroom setting. The results of the screening evaluation, certification, and prior documented professional experience will assist in determining pay level.
Assignments to classes will be made prior to the start of the new quarter. Scheduling goals include matching the skills and expertise of the Interpreter with the needs of the student and instructor.
Any assignment not approved by the SSD Office will not be reimbursed or compensated by CSUB. Scheduling requests regarding time of day, class assignment, students, etc. will be accommodated if possible. It is the interpreter’s responsibility to provide the SSD Office with schedules and availability in advance. If at any time the interpreter or student believes a mismatch has occurred, the individual is to contact SSD immediately.
Each interpreter is to keep a daily record of hours worked on the timesheet provided. Timesheets shall be completed, signed, and submitted by the due date. Failure to submit timesheets by the due date will result in the delay of the monthly paycheck. Paychecks are normally available on the 15th of the following month.
As state employees, interpreters will be evaluated on an annual basis by a designated SSD supervisor. Performance evaluations will assist in determining pay levels and increments.
To ensure continuation of high standards in the interpreting field, SSD will provide funding, with prior approval, for professional growth opportunities. These opportunities include: mentorship programs, local workshops and seminars, interpreter classes, classroom observation, and meetings.
Role of Interpreter
The interpreter is expected to know and follow the Code of Ethics as outlined by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. Questions from the student should always be directed to the instructor and conversely, questions from the instructor should always be directed to the student. The interpreter is to transmit the questions and not answer the questions. The interpreter is not to advise the student on academic situations, only to facilitate communication. Interpreters will refer the student to the SSD Office for assistance if problems arise. Also, should the interpreter be unable to facilitate communication due to lack of experience, skill level, or uncomfortableness, it should be reported to SSD as soon as possible.
Students should provide quarter course schedules during pre-registration if possible, and a confirmed class schedule as soon as possible. Interpreters should provide a schedule of available hours and time commitments. It is up to the student to contact SSD regarding add/drops and other schedule changes immediately to avoid delays obtaining interpreters. After the first week of school, an Interpreter Service Request form (see Appendix) must be filled out in order to schedule additional interpreter services. SSD will contact interpreters and match both student and interpreter schedules to arrange assignments. Students, interpreters, and SSD staff should meet prior to the beginning of each quarter to discuss any necessary adjustments. Students and interpreters should notify SSD as required in case of missed classes or absences.
Interpreter Service Requests
If there are any changes or requests after the first week of classes, an Interpreter Service Request form must be filled out. This form is used to keep track of additional requests (i.e. study groups, field trips, seminars, workshops, extracurricular activities) as well as departmental requests for special events. Due to scheduling constraints in obtaining interpreter services, it is important to make such requests with as much advance notice as possible. In the event of scheduling conflicts and lack of notice, priority will be given in the following order: classroom instruction; advising; academic appointments; instructional related activities such as seminars, lectures, programs; tutoring; study groups; and extracurricular activities.
Students should notify their instructors that an interpreter will be in the classroom. The accommodations letter will indicate that an interpreter may be used. SSD will be happy to assist in notifying any instructors. If there are any problems encountered about having an interpreter in class, please make SSD aware of this immediately.
Student Absences (no-shows)
If a student is unable to attend class, the student should contact the SSD Office so that the interpreter can be notified. As a courtesy, the student should also contact the interpreter. The waiting period by an interpreter in case of a no-show is ten (10) minutes. The interpreter must contact SSD immediately if there is a student no-show. An interpreter will be compensated appropriately for a no-show. Continuous student no-shows may result in a suspension of interpreter services until the student has met with SSD.
Interpreter Absences (no-shows)
If an interpreter is unable to fulfill a service assignment, the interpreter should contact the SSD Office so that the student can be notified. As a courtesy, the interpreter should also contact the student. If attending a class late, the student should remember that an interpreter will wait only ten (10) minutes after class has started. The student should contact SSD immediately if there is an interpreter no-show. Another option is a substitute assignment in the event of a no-show.
In addition to regular assignments, interpreters may be contacted to fill in for a co-worker who is unable to cover an assignment. The SSD Office must authorize all substitute assignments.
Interpreters should arrive to each assignment with sufficient time to prepare. This is especially important on the first day of class or when initially interpreting so that introductions can be made.
Attire and Appearance
To facilitate the communication process, visual distractions such as full beards, heavy mustaches, colored nail polish, and jewelry must be avoided. Hair should be neat, clean, and away from the face. Solid color attire that complements/contrasts with skin tone should be worn while interpreting. Smocks or other identifying materials may be worn as provided by the SSD Office.
Many assignments will require the use of specialized signs depending on the class or subject matter. If there is no established sign, the interpreter and student may agree upon a sign to be used by them in that specific situation in order to facilitate communication. The signs agreed upon should not be considered standard or used outside of the classroom.
An interpreter may or may not be required for in-class testing. Usually, an interpreter will be needed to only communicate instructions or questions regarding the test. Consultation between the instructor, student, and interpreter may be needed before the testing period to make a determination.
Enrollment in Classes
If attending CSUB, an interpreter cannot be enrolled in the same section of a class for which the interpreter is being paid to interpret. An interpreter should have full focus on the student for whom services are being provided.