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Interpreter Handbook

Kent State University Student Accessibility Services' Interpreter Handbook

Our Staff
Contact Information
Mission/Vision/Core Values
Working Environment
Introduction & Welcome
Disability Laws in Post-Secondary Education
Policies & Procedures
Qualification Criteria
Semester Beginnings
Billing Considerations
Schedule Changes
Finals Week
Attendance & Punctuality
Team Interpreting
Messages/Exchange of Information
Inclement Weather & Campus Safety
Cell Phones & Smart Phones
Interpreter/Student Interaction
Due Process

KSU currently employs three full-time staff interpreters. Staff interpreters are expected to complete 20 interpreting hours in the classroom and 20 administrative hours in the office per week working to maintain a conducive interpreting work environment for the interpreting and D/deaf community on campus. Adjunct interpreters have a semester long commitments and are chosen based on flexibility, skill, and campus need. Lastly, our graduate assistant has the skills required of an entry level interpreter and is looking to further his/her education.

Shannon Cowling, Deaf & Hard of Hearing Services Coordinator, BA, NIC, (330)705-9887
Olivia Krise
, Co-Coordinator/Staff Interpreter, MA, NIC-A,, (330)808-5662
Leah Subak
, Co-Coordinator/Staff Interpreter, ABD, CI/CT,, (330)608-0985
Sarah Sweeney, Graduate Assistant
Student Accessibility Services. Ground Floor DeWeese Health Center. Kent, OH 44240-001 V (330) 672-3611 VP (330) 968-0490Fax (330) 672-3391

Mission: The mission of SAS is to provide quality interpreting services to students and the KSU community. 

Vision: SAS pursues knowledge and resources relevant to meet the demands of an evolving consumer base of deaf, and hard of hearing students, faculty and staff, and is committed to being a center of excellence in post-secondary educational interpreting, and to promote quality interpreting services for the campus community. 

Core Values:

  • Uphold the RID Code of Professional Conduct
  • Commitment to the University’s deaf, and hard of hearing communities
  • Commitment to the University’s student interpreting program
  • Fiscal responsibility, integrity in decision making, timely coordination and delivery of services
  • Compliance with federal and state guidelines for students who are deaf, and hard of hearing
  • Professional Development & Maintaining RID/EIPA certifications

Working Environment

Post-Secondary interpreting provides a unique atmosphere that extends beyond the mentality of a 15 week, semester long, class assignment. Increasingly classes are convening through alternative formats and for varied time periods making the 15 week class contract less common. We admit classes form the bulk of our commitment, yet the KSU work environment encompasses much more. As an interpreter at Kent State you may find yourself interpreting for D/deaf and hearing faculty members who serve on committees, participate in meetings, or attend extracurricular events; interpreting for the University President as he addresses the community; making campus events accessible such as poetry readings, celebrations, and ceremonies; and future possibilities of Video Remote Interpreting. We join with you in embracing the ever-dynamic environment a university atmosphere encompasses.


The intent of this Interpreter Handbook is to offer guidelines and to clarify expectations and responsibilities of the interpreter and to give a basic understanding of some of the objectives, policies and procedures of SAS. With the general information presented in the Interpreter Handbook and good judgment, interpreters should have a reliable guide for what is expected of them. If you do not understand any of the material or if questions come up that are not covered in the Interpreter Handbook, it is your responsibility to contact interpreting staff via From time to time it may be necessary to update sections of the Interpreter Handbook. Copies of updated sections will be sent to all interpreting staff.

We look forward to working with you here at Student Accessibility Services (SAS)/ Kent State University (KSU) and trust you will enjoy it as well.


Qualified individuals with disabilities are entitled by law to equal access to postsecondary programs. The general laws that protect persons with disabilities in postsecondary education: The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Pub. L. No. 93-112, as amended), the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (Pub. L. No. 1001-336), and the 2008 ADA Amendments Act (Pub. L. No. 110-325). According to these laws, a student with a disability is defined as a person with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity; has a record of such impairment; or is regarded as having such an impairment.

The Rehabilitation Act

Title V of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is generally regarded as the first civil rights legislation on the national level for people with disabilities. Section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act is a program access statute. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in any program or activity offered by an entity or institution receiving federal funds. Section 504 states (as amended):

No otherwise qualified person with a disability in the United States…shall, solely on the basis of disability, be denied access to, or the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity provided by any institution receiving federal financial assistance.

Under Section 504, institutions were required to appoint and maintain at least one person to coordinate its efforts to comply with the requirements of Section 504 (Section 504 Coordinator). This individual of office has the ongoing responsibility of assuring that the institution/agency/organization practices nondiscrimination on the basis of disability and should be included in any grievance procedures developed to address possible instances of discrimination brought against the institution.

The Americans with Disability Act (ADA)

The ADA is a federal civil rights statute that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. There are four main sections of the law: employment, government, public accommodations, and telecommunications. The ADA provides additional protection for persons with disabilities in conjunction with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The ADA is designed to remove barriers, which prevent qualified individuals with disabilities from enjoying the same opportunities that are available to persons without disabilities.

The ADA in Relation to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

Institutions that receive federal funds (such as KSU) are covered under Section 504. The ADA does not supplant Section 504, but those situations where the ADA provides greater protection the ADA standards apply. Therefore, postsecondary institutions must adhere to both the Rehabilitation Act and The Americans with Disabilities Act.


Interpreter Qualification Criteria for Employment

·       Certification from RID, NAD, NAD-RID, or EIPA preferred

·       QAST level (Quality Assurance Screening Test)

·       Graduation from an accredited high school or possession of acceptable equivalency diploma (G.E.D.)

·       Graduate of an Interpreter Education Program preferred

·       Two years interpreting experience, preferred


Scheduling is a collaborative effort among all staff interpreters before the semester begins. After staff, adjuncts, and GA schedules have been determined, contract interpreters will be contacted based on subsequent needs. During the scheduling process, every effort is made to match the interpreter’s skill level and preferences with the appropriate students, instructors and classes. Any scheduling conflicts, questions or concerns should be reported immediately to Olivia Krise

SAS has no control over students adding, dropping, or withdrawing from classes. Scheduled hours could change at any time. If a staff interpreter’s hours drop below an acceptable number of hours, staff interpreters will occasionally be required to replace contract interpreters. These replacements will in no way reflect negatively on the contract interpreters.

Coordination criteria may include, but is not limited to:

·       Student schedules

·       Class content

·       Repeat experience

·       Certification

·       Attendance patterns and procedures

·       Ethical decision making

·       Professional behavior

·       Flexibility

·       Timely invoice submission

·       Listserv protocol

·       Student preferences and seniority are also considered.

Due to the current trends in class delivery, coordination was re-evaluated in order to maintain fiscal responsibility. Based on best practices, when a proposed class schedule is accepted by a contract interpreter, he/she will also be accepting a specified time frame. SAS maintains the right to reassign interpreters within their scheduled time. In the event a professor cancels class, a student no-shows, only one interpreter is needed for a test/quiz day, etc. an interpreter may be relocated to another assignment. If the interpreter chooses to deny the re-assignment, they will not be compensated for that period. If an alternative assignment is not offered, the interpreter will be compensated the scheduled time.  We will be collecting syllabi from professors in order to facilitate this change. Interpreters will need to inform SAS of a change not noted on the syllabi as soon as possible.

Some classes, because of length or other factors may look as if they require two interpreters. However, after the first few classes it may be obvious that one interpreter can do the job. SAS will contact interpreters after the first 2 weeks of classes in order to assess the specific interpreting needs of that class. It is the responsibility of the interpreters to accurately inform SAS of their class situation after which, teaming options will be determined. 

An alternative class format is a combination of face-to-face (F2F)and online learning, referred to as a hybrid course. Dates of online and F2F class are denoted on the syllabi and often announced the first week of class. In the event of this situation, the interpreters should notify SAS immediately. SAS will make every effort to confirm dates with the professor and schedule accordingly. In the event that 5 or more classes are convening online, interpreters will only be compensated on the dates the class meets F2F. When able, reassignment will be provided.


Parking: Interpreters working during the semester are required to purchase their own parking permit.  C.A.R.S permits allow you to park in C A R S lots.  Arrangements need to be made prior to your first class. SAS will no longer waive parking tickets. Parking permit rates vary depending on what time of day and the number of days you are on campus.  You may purchase your pass at the 123 Michael Schwartz Center

Appearance: Although there is no formal dress code, interpreters should follow the RID code of professional conduct regarding appropriate and professional attire. Some classes may require special consideration, and interpreters should dress accordingly (e.g., ice skating, dance, weather conditions). Snow/rain boots are encouraged and permitted! An interpreter should wear clothes that contrast their skin color and are not distracting to the student.

Preparing for your assignment: Please secure a syllabi for each of your class assignments and use it to plan for exams, presentations, and final exam dates.

If the information or assignment you have accepted is new and unfamiliar to you, you may opt to do the following preparation; get a copy of the text, talk with the professor, view videotapes, develop consistent signs for course-specific vocabulary (encourage involvement with the student in this task), confer with staff and contract interpreters, etc.

Compensation for preparation time will be approved and paid for on a case by case basis.  You will need to submit to SAS 1) a rationale, 2) outline of plan or mind map, and 3) copy of syllabus. If you need any assistance please contact SAS staff via .

If the interpreter has multiple classes with breaks in between, SAS will consider this available time to prep and any additional prep hours will need prior approval.

Payroll:  Interpreters are compensated bi-weekly. Time sheet Excel documents will be emailed prior to the start of the semester. Complete your time sheet and email to  no later than 8:00 am on Fridays. All payroll questions should be directed to Shannon Cowling. 

Compensation is based on education, years of experience, and certification. If there is an advance in the prior categories, raises will be implemented at the beginning of the following semester. Written confirmation from the testing organization or degree granting institution must be provided.

Billing considerations: 

Less than 48 hour cancellation for assignments other than class contracted time:  SAS agrees to compensate a 2- hour minimum for the cancellation.  All day assignments will be negotiated on a case by case basis. 

No team: If you do not have a team interpreter for an assignment lasting long than 1 hour and a half, you may; bill time and a half of actual class time.

2 hour minimums:  Single assignments are billed on a two hour minimum.  If there is less than an 1 hour and 30 minute break between assignments, bill start time to the end of the last assignment.

Time is paid on quarters (.25, .50, .75, 1) and rounded to the highest quarter based on actual class minutes.  Example:  4:25-7:05= 2 hours and 45 minutes.  Bill for 2.75 hours.

VISTA access: Some professors post information on Kent’s online program. VISTA access will be granted to each interpreter for the classes in which you are working at the beginning of the semester.  Vista can be accessed using your FlashLine username and password via OR Please contact Olivia Krise at if you need assistance.

Textbooks: If you require a textbook for the class, please ask the instructor first. Often times the instructor will have an extra desk copy or outdated edition for you to read. SAS has established a “book share” agreement with many departments; therefore, instructors should be agreeable to lending you a book for the semester. If the instructor/department is unable to provide a book for your use please contact SAS. 

Schedule Changes:  Email any changes regarding your assignment such as room numbers, time, and/or incorrect dates to

Finals Week: Interpreting services for finals weeks must be requested by the student and are not assumed to be worked by the regularly assigned interpreter.


The interpreter will arrive prior to or on time for all assignments. Interpreters should notify SAS as soon as possible in the event she/he will be absent from an assignment.

Call Off Procedure: Call offs go through with as much advance notice as possible. SAS understands that "life happens;" however, if call offs are repeated and/or excessive, SAS reserves the right to take corrective action with that respective interpreter. That action may range from a "friendly reminder" to a documented statement in the interpreter's personnel file, to termination.

No Show Procedure: Interpreters are required to wait 15 minutes for students to arrive at any class. After waiting the allotted time, the interpreter is to report to SAS by phone (330) 808-5662 (Olivia) or (330) 705-9887 (Shannon/backup) or email ( and inform them of his or her availability. If SAS needs an interpreter in another class at that time, the interpreter will be reassigned. If not, the interpreter will be free to leave and can record that class time on the time sheet. If SAS does not respond within 15 min, the interpreter is free to leave.

If the student wishes to attend the class after the interpreter has left, and the interpreter is still available to work, the interpreter should go with the student (e.g. if the interpreter is walking to his/her car and the student informs the interpreter that she/he will attend the end of the class, the interpreter will interpret the remaining class time).

Class Commitment: The interpreter is scheduled until the end of class. If an instructor goes past the designated time, or if a student needs to speak to the instructor after class, the interpreter may stay if her/his schedule allows. If the interpreter has another class or assignment she/he may leave at the end of the scheduled time. If the interpreter has to leave, and the instructor continues teaching, the interpreter should inform the instructor that she/he has to leave and inform the SAS Coordinator of the situation. Interpreters should not accept outside assignments that would force them to leave early, or accept a KSU assignment if they know they must leave early.

Unable to continue your assignment: If at any time during the semester you are unable to continue your assigned schedule of classes at KSU, a two-week advance notice is requested. After notifying the SAS office in writing, you will be expected to maintain your schedule for two weeks in order to not jeopardize our students’ access to the classroom, and to allow the office ample time to find a replacement.

Student Drops

  • 2 weeks written notification before first day of class = no compensation
  • 1 week written notification before first day of class= 1 week compensation
  • Any time during the semester= 2 weeks compensation


In team situations, each interpreter has a cooperative, active role in the process, alternately providing services, and backup support.  Continuity is assured when all team members remain present and actively involved, thereby maintaining awareness of the context and content of the information being transmitted. The team is to work out logistics and cues to ensure a smooth, effective process and should discuss this working partnership before going into the classroom and adjusting to any environmental demand throughout the course of semester. 

Both team interpreters are expected to stay until the end of the designated time. Any arrangements to the contrary should be discussed in advance with SAS. If you are late to class, indicate the arrival time on your time sheet.

Turn Taking: Interpreters are to act as a team, rotating responsibilities at pre-arranged intervals, and providing support and feedback to each other. Interpreters should discuss turn taking and logistics in advance. Best practices recommend interpreting at 15 minute intervals, switching at a natural break/pause. The support interpreter should be mindful of the time and notify the primary interpreter at a natural break. Interpreters will serve at all times as either primary or support interpreter, and should not take care of personal business at this time.

Exams: Only one interpreter needs to be present on test days. Interpreters should decide which one will interpret on a given test day. When a staff interpreter is in the class, the contract interpreter will interpret on test days unless otherwise arranged.


Occiassionally group meetings with interpreters will be held at the beginning of each semester. These meetings are strongly recommended for any interpreter who wishes to maintain a schedule of interpreting classes. The interpreter will be compensated for these meetings at a flat-rate stipend. If unable to attend a meeting, the interpreter may meet one-on-one with SAS staff, without compensation.


Any information from SAS will be provided via email, text messaging, cell phone, or any other communication method you prefer. This includes memos, schedule changes, and any non-emergency phone messages. Please keep your contact information current.

In case of an emergency phone call, every possible effort will be made to contact you wherever you are on campus. Therefore, it is important that the office know if your scheduled class has been cancelled or changed location.


If the weather appears hazardous, please be aware of the Kent State University website notification of any class cancellations Interpreters are strongly advised to sign up for Flash ALERTS to be notified immediately of any hazardous or dangerous event on campus.

Signing up for Flash ALERTS can be done at  

In the event of a snow closing, university policy specifies that:

*Morning Classes begin before noon Monday through Friday.
*Afternoon classes begin after noon Monday through Friday.
*Evening classes begin after 4:15 p.m. Monday through Friday.


Interpreters should take care of personal business at times other than when on assignment. We encourage you to be mindful and respectful of professors’ policy regarding cell phone usage. Please also be mindful of student preferences and considerate of possible distractions. All phones are expected on remain on silent during the assignment.


Interpreters should be mindful of appropriate and inappropriate conversations with all students (d/Deaf, HH, ASL students, Interpreting majors and others), the NAD-RID Code of Professional Conduct, and using discretion in these situations. Interpreters need to maintain confidentiality and sound ethical decision making when discussing class related information in University venues.

Comments made may influence the students’ class work and their original ideas. As a result, the work the students provide is not 100% their own.

If a student/faculty requests information regarding policies, please refer them to SAS and be prepared to provide contact information.


If SAS receives a complaint about an interpreting situation from students, faculty or staff, the interpreter involved will meet with a coordinator. If a complaint about the same issue is reported more than once, the interpreter involved will meet with the coordinator and the Associate Director of SAS. If this specific complaint continues, the decision may be made to terminate the interpreter’s services.


SAS may use formative and summative evaluations. Formative evaluations may be administered during the semester using demand control schema design. Summative evaluations will be made available to students and interpreters near the end of the semester. Student evaluations will assist in identifying strengths and areas for improvement. SAS will attempt to provide evaluation summaries in a timely manner. Interpreter evaluations of the semester are an opportunity for the interpreter to give SAS feedback about the semester.


SAS at KSU promotes higher learning opportunities not only for their students, but for their interpreters as well. All interpreters are encouraged to pursue certification and continue professional development through their involvement with local, state and national organizations that support the interpreting profession.


Code of Professional Conduct

Interpreters are expected to adhere to the RID Code of Professional Conduct. They are to provide interpreting services to the best of their ability and not allow personal feelings to interfere in the interpreting process. When interpreters socialize with students outside of the classroom, the interpreter should keep all information about interpreting assignments confidential, regardless of how inconsequential the information may seem.