Communication Access: Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I need to speak slowly?

A: Speak at a natural pace, but be aware that the service provider often must hear and understand a complete thought before translating/captioning. To ensure that the person who is deaf or hard of hearing receives your full message, the provider may ask you to repeat or slow down.

Q: Why does the interpreter/captionist continue signing/typing after I have finished speaking?

A: When a service provider is interpreting from one language to another or listening and typing, there is an unavoidable lag time. At times, a service provider can be several phrases behind a speaker. Allow a little extra time for the person who is deaf or hard of hearing to ask/answer questions or watch for cues that the service provider has completed their translation/captioning.

Q: Should I look at the interpreter/captionist?

A: Look at and speak directly to the person who is deaf or hard of hearing. They will watch the service provider to see what you have said and will be glancing back and forth at you. For this reason, it is not necessary to say “tell him” or “tell her.”

Q: Where should I stand or sit?

A: Usually it is best to position the interpreter next to the hearing person, opposite the person who is deaf or hard of hearing. This creates one line of vision between the hearing person and the interpreter, making it easier for the person who is deaf or hard of hearing to watch the interpreter and see the hearing person. This also allows the interpreter to more easily listen to the speaker.

Captionists should be positioned in a way that they can listen to the speaker while providing the student with an optimal of view their screen.

Q: What about group situations?

A: Semi-circles or circular seating arrangements are usually best for an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing to participate in discussions since it allows easier and faster identification of a speaker. Often, only one service provider is available to the whole group. When each person takes a turn, the provider can effectively communicate the meaning and mood of each individual. Overlapping comments, interruptions, and side comments make it difficult for the service provider to function, as they can only interpret/caption for one person at a time.

Q: How are communication access services provided?

A: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services coordinates interpreting/communication access services for all campus-related activities. Services are provided to hearing, deaf, and hard of hearing faculty, staff and students who participate in NECC classes, activities and events. To file a request for services, email, call 978-556-3897 V or 866-269-5584 VP, or stop by Room SC110 in the Behrakis Student Success Center.

If you have any further questions about working with an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing, an interpreter/captionist or would like more information, contact: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services
Phone: 978-241-7045 (VP/V)