Resources for Disabled Students

Interpreting Services

Policies and Procedures

Resources for Disabled Students (RDS) provides interpreting services as an accommodation/ auxiliary aid for students who are Deaf/hard of hearing when the hearing loss significantly affects, or limits, the ability to access the learning environment. Interpreting services encompass sign language (transliteration) and/or oral interpretation and may also include real time capitioning or the provision of an FM listening system. Interpreting services are a means of providing access to the spoken word and to facilitate communication. Interpreters providing the services are professionally trained and are hired to serve the role as a facilitator for communication.

Eligibility and Approval

Eligibility for this service is determined by an assessment of a student’s individual needs by the RDS Interpreting Services Coordinator. The affects, or limitations, of the disability must support the need for interpreting services as assessed and verified by the RDS Interpreting Services Coordinator.

Interpreting services may be requested by a student or be recommended by the RDS Interpreting Services Coordinator as an appropriate auxiliary aid/accommodation after an assessment of needs. Once the need is verified by the RDS Interpreting Services Coordinator, the recommendation for services is approved by the RDS Director.

All students who request interpreting services for the first time must meet with the RDS Interpreting Services Coordinator for recommendation of services. Once approved by the RDS Director, interpreting services must be requested by a student each semester in order to continue this service. All student requests for interpreting services are processed through the RDS Interpreting Services Coordinator. Students must meet with the RDS Interpreting Services Coordinator for each semester before services will be implemented and/or continued. Approval and continuation of services will be documented by the RDS Interpreting Services Coordinator.

Provision of Services

All requests for interpreting services must be submitted to RDS in a timely manner so that adequate planning is possible to fulfill specific student needs.

Once approved for services, students must meet with the RDS Interpreting Services Coordinator to initiate the support for any academic interpreting. A course schedule is also required so that appropriate scheduling of interpreters can be accomplished. The RDS Interpreting Services Coordinator is a qualified and certfied staff sign language interpreter responsible for responding to all student and university requests for interpreting services.

Procedures for Requests


Students who request interpreting services are asked to sign an agreement statement for RDS indicating their willingness to abide with the established policies and procedures associated with this service area. This agreement will be valid for each semester a student is consecutively enrolled at the university (summer included with Spring semester). A break in enrollment or services will necessitate a new signed agreement statement if needed as determined by the RDS Interpreting Services Coordinator.

Assignment of interpreters to classes occurs once a student submits his/her schedule of classes to the RDS Interpreting Services Coordinator. Students must submit their class schedule to RDS, including any subsequent changes, in a timely manner. Due to variable availability of interpreters, students are requested to submit their class schedules during the registration period of the semester and/or at least three weeks before the beginning of classes. Priority registration will be given for any continuous semester beyond the first one enrolled to an undergraduate student using interpreting services in order to facilitate this process.

Requests for interpreting services for activities other than regularly scheduled classes may be submitted via a written Request for Service form (purple) or through other means of contacting the RDS Coordinator of Services. Messages can be relayed through E-mail, through TDD (RDS receptionist), or through a relay service.

Requests will be fulfilled on a first-come basis. Last minute changes or requests may result in a delay of services. Requests for specific interpreters may be granted only if early notification is given to the RDS Interpreting Services Coordinator and/or there is a compelling reason a particular interpreter is needed. However, there is no guarantee any specific request can be fulfilled.

One (1) week notice is requested to schedule interpreting services for other academic-related activities (i.e. meetings/appointments) or for non-academic university sponsored programs. Academic meetings/appointments should be scheduled between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Alternate times will be considered for individual requests depending upon the purpose of the event and availability of interpreters.

Campus Community

Any unit associated with the university may request interpreting services from RDS. A fee of $30.00 per hour will be charged to the unit for each interpreter assigned to the event or activity (minimum of 2 hours charged). Requests may be submitted directly to the RDS Interpreting Services Coordinator who will determine whether or not RDS interpreters are available for the event. If not, the RDS Interpreting Services Coordinator will refer the unit to an off-campus resource. Prices for off-campus interpreting services are often at a higher rate.

Requests from the university campus must be made in a timely manner, no later than one week in advance. It may be difficult to fulfill requests that are made with less than one week notice.

Priority of Requests

Priority of requests is given to academic commitments of a student. The following criteria are used for determining the priority of requests for interpreting services:

1) classroom instruction/presentation, including laboratories
2) class required group activity outside of classroom (e.g., field trips), including required local internship/practicum activities
3) other academic activities outside of classroom such as tutoring, reviews, meeting instructors, advisor, etc.
4) special requests related to class requirements not included above.
5) other university sponsored programs and activities, including optional internship/practicum activities

Non-academic university sponsored programs or activities will be interpreted depending upon the availability of interpreters and the timeliness of a request. Programs sponsored directly by RDS and offered to the community are automatically interpreted for the public.

Assignment/Reassignment of Interpreters

The RDS Interpreting Services Coordinator assigns interpreters to academic courses based on the needs of the student and the availability and background or experience of specific interpreters. Assignment of interpreters to other university sponsored programs is dependent upon the type of program as well as the availability and background or experience of an interpreter. Whenever possible, classes/events are teamed-interpreted to provide adequate support and coverage of the class/event and to avoid work-related injuries for interpreters.

The assignment of interpreters takes into consideration the following:

a) the background or experience of the interpreter,
b) the specific communication needs of the student/participant
c) the purpose of the assignment (academic vs other),
d) course/presentation content and difficulty,
e) the academic background of an interpreter, and
f) the availability of an interpreter for a particular course/event.

Specific preferences on behalf of students will be considered when ever possible if there is a compelling reason for the preference. However, there is no guarantee that a student will be assigned any specific interpreter for any particular class or activity.

Requests for reassignment may be made by either the student or interpreter. Reasons acceptable for reassignment include: interpreter’s knowledge base/experience with subject, difficulty of subject matter, breach of ethics, objectionable behavior, or unresolved personal conflicts between the student and interpreter. Requests for, and ultimate, reassignment on behalf of interpreters or students must be made to the RDS Interpreting Services Coordinator in consultation with the RDS Director.

Student Absences/Cancellations

It is the responsibility of the student to notify RDS of any absences from classes or other scheduled interpreted academic activity. At least one hour notice is required if a student will not be attending class. Cancellation of any other scheduled service (academic or other university sponsored program) can be done at any time prior to the event or activity. In case of illness or emergency, a student must notify RDS as soon as he/she is aware of the situation and/or is able to contact the office. Interpreters will be paid for one hour of service if a cancellation of an event or activity occurs with less than 24 hours advance notice.

 An interpreter will be required to wait at least ten (10) minutes (for each hour of class) for a student to arrive at class, after which time he/she will be permitted to leave if the student has not appeared. Unless otherwise notified by the student, the interpreter will consider the student absent from this class if he/she has not arrived within the first 10 minutes of a class. The interpreter will be paid for the hour committed to the class.

Suspension of Service

Suspension of services may result from behavior exhibited by the student that seems contrary to the need for services. This includes, but is not limited to: inappropriate behavior towards interpreters, continued absences from class, or disregard of the conditions agreed to upon initiation of services. Prior to the suspension of services, the RDS Interpreting Services Coordinator will provide written notification to a student of the suspension, outlining the reasons for suspension and the conditions required for reinstatement of services.  The following are conditions which may lead to suspension of services:

  • If a student  misses three (3) consecutive class meeting times without at least 1 hour prior notice for each instance.
  • If a student is attending a class for less than half of the regularly scheduled sessions during no less than four consecutive weeks, regardless of notification of missed classes.
  • If a student  does not abide by the agreed upon policies and procedures for interpreting services established by RDS.
  • If a student engages in substantiated abusive behavior, physical or verbal, towards any interpreter. Such behavior will be considered in violation of the university-sanctioned Student Code of Conduct (as indicated in the CSU Student Rights and Responsibilities) and may be subject to disciplinary action by the university.
Reinstatement of Services

Once interpreting services have been suspended, the student may request reinstatement of services by contacting the RDS Interpreting Services Coordinator to discuss reinstatement conditions. Depending upon the reason for suspension, one condition may be to meet with the RDS Director.

Reinstatement of services for individual classes will be arranged by the RDS Interpreting Services Coordinator after contact with the student and the interpreter assigned to the class, as determined necessary. For reinstatement of services due to extended absences, or non-compliance to policies and procedures, the student must also meet with the RDS Director.
The student is responsible for scheduling any meetings necessary for reinstatement of interpreting services. RDS will be responsible for providing appropriate interpreting services for the meeting.

Quality of Service

The interpreters (or captionists, as appropriate) hired by RDS, including the RDS Interpreting Services Coordinator, are all graduates of a recognized training program or have had extensive experience that is equivalent to a training program.  Some also have attained certification status with the Registry of Interpreters.  The RDS Interpreting Services Coordinator is also responsible for facilitating professional development activities for sign language/oral interpreters.

RDS contracts on an hourly basis with qualified interpreters (or captionists) from the surrounding community to fulfill requests related to academic or other university program needs. All interpreters (or captionists) are paid on an hourly basis with a pay rate dependent upon experience, education/certification skill level, and responsibilities.

A condition of employment for all interpreters (or captionists) hired on a contract basis is an evaluation by the RDS Interpreting Services Coordinator to assess the adequacy of an interpreter’s (or captionist’s) qualifications to interpret college level course content. All interpreters (or captionists) hired by RDS are expected to act in compliance with the Professional Code of Conduct for interpreters and/or the ethical policies of the Division of Student Affairs and to maintain a high level of professionalism in working with students, faculty, and staff. Substantiated unprofessional behavior of an interpreter (or captionist) toward a student will be grounds for dismissal from university employment.

Specific Payment for Interpreting Services

Interpreting services are provided free of charge to any enrolled student at Colorado State University for academic and/or university related programs and activities. Individual university units who provide interpreting services through RDS are charged $30.00 per hour for each interpreter used for an event and/or activity (minimum of 2 hours charged).

 Interpreters scheduled through RDS for other university sponsored programs open to the public will be paid regardless of the attendance of a particular student. There is a general expectation that Deaf/hard of hearing individuals may attend such programs without prior notice.

A student-initiated request for interpreting services for a university sponsored non-public program will be considered a scheduled meeting and be subjected to the same conditions as stated above. If the student subsequently does not attend, the interpreters will be paid for their scheduled time if notice of cancellation is less than 24 hours.

Interpreting services for all non-academic programs sponsored by other university entities are the fiscal responsibility of the sponsoring unit, including student organizations and clubs. Discounts for, or donations of, interpreting services on behalf of RDS are approved only by the RDS Director. Arrangements for payment on behalf of student organizations and clubs can be made through ASCSU.

At least one week prior to the event, a student or sponsoring entity must contact the RDS Interpreting Services Coordinator to schedule an RDS interpreter. The RDS Interpreting Services Coordinator will provide appropriate referral sources if RDS is unable to provide the service directly.

Interpreting services for non-university events or meetings is the responsibility of the sponsoring entity and/or the student. Related costs for interpreting services for non-university programs is the responsibility of either the student or sponsoring entity to be paid directly to the interpreter, whether or not the interpreter assigned/hired is employed by RDS.

If a student misses a regularly scheduled class or academic meeting/appointment without timely notification, RDS will be responsible for paying interpreting services up to one hour of service.

Interpreting Options

Due to the different needs of Deaf/hard of hearing individuals, providing access to auditory information may be accomplished through different means. The goal is to provide an interpreting option that is as effective as possible for an individual student.

Sign Language - The primary service provided through interpreting services is sign language interpretation, or transliteration. This method substitutes words/concepts into signs. Students who are Deaf/hard of hearing and whose first language is American Sign Language find this method to be the most appropriate accommodation/auxiliary aid for academic and other communication needs. Interpreters will also “mouth” what is being said as a means of supplementing/enhancing the communication as appropriate.

Oral Interpreting - An alternative method provided through interpreting services is oral interpreting wherein the interpreter “mouths” what is being said so that the student is able to speech-read (from the movement of the mouth) what is being communicated. Students who are hard of hearing (deaf often post-lingually) and/or have some residual hearing may find this method to be the most appropriate accommodation/ auxiliary aid. Due to the extensive vocabulary of the academic environment, some manual signs may be utilized to supplement/enhance communication.

Real Time Captioning - An alternative to both sign language and oral interpreting is real time captioning (RTC). RTC services provide a transcriptionist with court recording skills to “transcribe” what is being communicated at the time it is communicated (i.e., real time). The captionist uses equipment that translates what is said into typed script shown on a computer screen for the student to view while in class. Students who are deaf/hard of hearing and who are not familiar with sign language or oral interpreting may find this method to be the most appropriate accommodation/auxiliary aid. Real-time captionists attend each class with a student and are expected to provide their own equipment. The student is also sent a full electronic copy (not edited) of the lecture after class. Due to the shortage of captionists, however, this service may not be available at all times.

Other Support

For those with less severe hearing losses, other methods or services may be more appropriate as an accommodation/auxiliary aid in academic situations.

FM Listening Device - A closed circuit FM listening device may be more appropriate for specific environments. This system requires the speaker (e.g., instructor) to wear a microphone/transmitter while the student uses the receiver. The receiver can be adjusted to frequencies compatible with most hearing aids. This method transmits the voice of the speaker directly to the student, minimizing extraneous noise.

Devices are available on loan from RDS with a refundable deposit of $50.00. A student is required to sign a loan agreement form that outlines specific responsibilities and liabilities. Devices are loaned on a semester-by-semester basis, or as determined by the RDS Interpreting Services Coordinator. Deposits are returned to the student when the FM system is returned to RDS. Deposits are forfeited if the FM system is lost or broken by the student.

Notetaking Support - In some instances, notetaking support may be adequate for a student with residual hearing to have access. Notetakers are often recruited from within a particular class and voluntarily share notes with a student. Depending upon the circumstances of a particular student, paid notetakers may also be hired to assist with this accommodation (See Notetaking Support Services information).

However, any accommodation/auxiliary aid used for communication purposes may require the supplement of notetaking support. This supplement will be provided in combination with other methods offered as an accommodation in recognition of the difficulty associated with communicating and comprehending through alternative methods.

Transcription Support - Transcription support may be available for specific situations. Transcripts are prepared from taped lectures/presentations with a two to three day turn around time, depending upon the amount of material and availability of transcribers. Students who have less hearing loss and/or feel they are able to comprehend to some degree what is being communicated in a class may find this service to be helpful as support for specific situations. It may also be used temporarily if other services are not available or appropriate for a particular situation (e.g., this may be an option in lieu of the availability of RTC services).

If transcribing services are determined the only adequate or appropriate means available to access a course, RDS will be responsible for the full cost and for the tape recorder and/or tapes needed to record a lecture.

RDS is not obligated to substitute transcription support when other more appropriate means of accommodation/auxiliary aids are available on a regular basis. If a student specifically requests transcribing services when an alternative method would be as effective, RDS may not fulfill the request unless there is a compelling rationale by the student as determined by the RDS Director.


Exceptions to the above policies may be made based on individual student need and circumstances only through the approval of the RDS Director. Exceptions may be requested from the RDS Director by the student or Interpreting Services Coordinator.

(Revised 8/08)


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