Sign Language Interpreters

Booking Sign Language Interpreters

Departments and campus partners are encouraged to arrange interpreters for all Northwestern programs and events. Attendees who request accommodations for an event should be asked about their preference of communication access, and every attempt should be made to meet that specific accommodation request.

Requests for Sign Language interpreters can be made by contacting an interpreter referral agency. Interpreter requests should be initiated about two weeks in advance of the event date in order to ensure that communication access is available to all attendees. If a request is made just a few days before the event, however, a good faith effort should nevertheless be made to secure interpreters.

Creating a Department Account

Each Northwestern department or organization must set up its own customer account in order to book an interpreter. Please contact the interpreter agency to find out more about setting up a customer account, billing information, and interpreter requests.

Be sure to have all relevant event information on hand when submitting the interpreter request:

  • Date of event

  • Start/End Time (Events lasting ≥2 hours generally require 2 interpreters)

  • Location – Address, Building, Room

  • Type of event and important details

  • Onsite contact name and contact information

Chicago Area Interpreter Resources

Chicago Area Interpreter Referral Service (CAIRS) or 312-895-4300

Deaf Communication Innovation (DCI) or 773-857-7709

Chicago Hearing Society (CHS) or 773-248-9121

Important Event Planning & Space Considerations for Interpreters

  • Request presentation materials from the speaker a few days in advance. These materials can be sent to the interpreters prior to the event. This provides the interpreter(s) with advance notice of important topic and schedule details.

  • Consider the room set-up. Each interpreter will need a chair and should be located in close proximity to the speaker and in view of attendees. (Again, events lasting more than two hours will usually require two interpreters.) Seats with close proximity to the front and to the interpreter(s) should be reserved for individuals who request Sign Language interpreters.

  • Keep the event space well lit so that the interpreter and any visual aids are easy to see.

  • Ensure that presenters utilize close-captioned videos and, when possible, include key points on an overhead or slide.

Next: CART or Real Time Captioning