Sign Language Interpreters, Voice-to-Text Transcription, and Assistive Listening Devices

AccessibleNU provides deaf and hard-of-hearing students lecture material in the mode of communication that allows the student equal access to that material. This may include sign language interpreters or voice-to-text transcription such as C-Print or real-time captioning. Although AccessibleNU will schedule and pay for services pertaining to a student's classes (such as a class field trip or formal study group), those organizing University-sponsored programs and events are encouraged to budget for interpreters, real-time captioning, and other considerations that make all attendees feel welcome. If consulted, AccessibleNU can recommend helpful accommodations and preferred agencies to provide relevant services.

Sign Language Interpreting

Interpreters are professionals who facilitate communication between hearing individuals and people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. The role of the interpreter is similar to that of a foreign language translator: to bridge the communication gap between two parties.

C-Print and Real-Time Transcription

Some students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing do not possess sign language skills, or their hearing loss can not be accommodated by an ALD. In these cases C-Print or real-time captioning (CART) may be used. In C-Print, the student is provided with the meaning of what is being said in the class, while real-time captioning provides a word-for-word transcription of the class. The student with a hearing impairment will watch a portable computer display to visually follow the communication. The transcriptionist may also voice classroom responses for the student if the student has difficulty speaking.

Closed Captioning

Closed captions are similar to subtitles in foreign language films: captions appear at the bottom of the screen so the viewer may follow narration and dialogue. You can determine whether or not videos are captioned by looking at the video or DVD case, which usually contains a short statement about captioning or carries the initials "CC" or a Q-like symbol. In the event that closed captioning is not available, a sign language interpreter or transcriber can interpret the video, as is done during lectures or recitations. To prepare, the interpreter might request from the instructor the opportunity to view the video in advance.

Assistive Listening Devices

Students who are hard-of-hearing or who have Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) may use an assistive listening device (ALD) in the classroom to enhance the voice of a speaker. The most common ALD is a personal FM system, which entails the speaker wearing a microphone and the student wearing a receiving unit. Students may borrow a FM system from SSD.

Alternatively, depending on the classroom, the student may be able to connect to a room's built-in amplification system. We recommend that you contact your school's academic technology specialist when you have a student who is hard-of-hearing, and AccessibleNU can help too.