Interpreting Services Handbook for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students

What Services are Available in the Classroom?

  • Sign Language Interpreters
  • Transliteration Interpreters
  • Oral Interpreters
  • Note taking
  • Assistive Listening Device

What Services Are Available Outside the Classroom?

Interpreters are available for classroom related activities, such as field trips, internships, peer tutoring, tutoring at the Academic Achievement Center, or meetings with instructors. Interpreters are also available for activities, such as appointments with counselors or advisors, registration, meetings with financial aid representatives, purchases at the bookstore, meetings with the campus nurse, or Student Activity Council events.

To request an interpreter, fill out an Interpreter Request form(s) (see Appendix E) as soon as you become aware of an activity. Interpreter Request forms are located outside the interpreters office in building 6 on the Ankeny campus or may be requested from the counseling and advising office at any of the six campuses.

How to Receive Interpreting Services?

You must first ask for services. Ask for services by filling out an Application for Accommodation form and providing supporting documentation of your need for services. Application forms are available through the counseling/advising office on any of the six campuses or by the Coordinator, Special Needs on the Ankeny campus, building 6. Pamela Parker, Coordinator, Special Needs may be reached at (515)964-6850 voice or (515)964-6810 TTY or email You should apply at least 30 days before the start of the semester to allow enough time to schedule an interpreter. After accommodations are granted, you must give a copy of your schedule to the interpreting office so that interpreting services can be arranged.

What is an Interpreter?

A sign language interpreter is a professional who bridges the communication gap between individuals using spoken English and individuals using American Sign Language.

What is the role of an Interpreter?

The role of an interpreter is to facilitate communication. The interpreter will abide by the following guidelines.

  1. The interpreter will not discuss with others anything they interpret.
  2. The interpreter will sign the information in the exact way she/he hears it.
  3. The interpreter will use the language the student understands best.
  4. The interpreter will not tell the student what to do, help the student make any decisions, tell the student her/his opinion, or add/delete any information to what the student or the instructor says


Students are responsible for:

  • Completing an Application for Accommodation form and providing supporting documentation.
  • Giving a copy of their schedule to the interpreting office.
  • Their own learning.
  • Providing instructors with accommodation letters, which should be picked up at the Coordinator, Special Needs office.
  • Requesting a notetaker from the instructor and supplying NCR paper to the notetakers.
  • Being on time and prepared for class.
  • Providing prior, timely notification of absences or tardiness to the interpreter.
  • Paying attention to the information. If for any reason information is missed (i.e. the student leaving the room, coming late for class, or not watching the interpreter), the student is responsible for getting that information from the instructor.
  • Obtaining the information when absent from a class.
  • Turning in Interpreter Request form as soon as the student is aware of the event.

Interpreters will be matched to students based on a variety of reasons. As such, specific requests for interpreters will be reviewed but not guaranteed.

Interpreters require a break between classes. Interpreter breaks are used not only for checking messages, but also to give the interpreters eyes and mind a brief rest from the interpreting process. Office hours will be posted on each interpreters door.

See the DMACC Policy for Students with Disabilities (Appendix A) for further guidelines.

Support Services:

Note taking

DMACC uses volunteer, student notetakers. The instructor will ask for a student in the class to provide class notes if a Deaf student requests a notetaker. Notes will only be provided for those classes the Deaf student actually attends, unless an absence is related to the documented disability and prior arrangements have been made with the Coordinator, Special Needs, Counselor, or Advisor. NCR paper is available for the notetaker in the interpreters office in building 6.


It is the students' responsibility to ask for a tutor. Tutoring is free to all students. The tutor can help you with lecture material or difficult textbook material. You may request an interpreter for tutoring sessions through the interpreters' office.

Any student has the right to become a tutor by passing a class with an A or B. If you think other people might benefit from your knowledge or ability, you may fill out an application in the Tutoring Office in building 6 on the Ankeny campus. Tutors are paid $7.00/hr.


Career counseling is available to students who would like to learn about other career choices and/or make other educational plans.

Personal counseling is also available and may address stress management, time management, test anxiety, and self-esteem issues. DMACC believes advising plays an important, necessary part of educational success.

Academic Achievement Center

The AAC provides individual help with subjects such as math, science, and writing. The AAC also has several software programs that may help with reading, writing, math, and several other subjects.

If you require interpreting services while using any of these services, please complete an Interpreter Request form.


Problems with an Interpreter:

If any problems arise between you and your interpreter, first talk about it with the interpreter. If the problems continue, you should contact Sharon Bittner, Director, Academic Support Services in Building 6. Problems should be taken care of as quickly as possible. It is better to bring problems to the proper person rather than talking with your friends or other students.

Problems with an Instructor:

First, talk about any problems with the instructor. If the problems continue, you may talk with your counselor or advisor, the instructor's dean, or the Coordinator, Special Needs.


All students requiring the use of an interpreter should register as early as possible for classes. After you have registered, provide a copy of your schedule to the interpreter's office so that interpreting services can be arranged. Classes fill up fast at DMACC, you should register as early as possible. In the event a DMACC educational interpreter is not available, a freelance interpreter will be used.


If you wish to withdraw, audit or add a class during a semester that involves an interpreter, you will need to immediately inform the interpreter's office.

School Cancellations

It is your responsibility to find out if classes have been cancelled due to bad weather. You will need to watch the news from 6:00 a.m. - 7:30 a.m. This information is also posted on the web at,,,

If any of these guidelines are unclear please ask an interpreter to sign them to you.