Skip to main content

System Status: 

Enabling for American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreters

Make Zoom sessions and recordings accessible is allowing ASL interpreters to easily be seen and understood.

Settings for Enabling an Interpreter to Join

We recommend that only the instructor(s) and the interpreter(s) share video, not the students. This is to help with technical bandwidth concerns and to better facilitate the process below. Students should participate in the live session by typing in the chat.

During the live session, everyone will see the interpreter as a larger video and the instructor as a smaller video (or not at all if screen sharing is used). If students want to adjust this so all video feeds are equal sized, they can adjust their view to Gallery View.

When recording, choose the cloud recording option due to the improved playback and sharing that is part of this option.

In the recording, the interpreter will be shown but the instructor will not be visible. Screen sharing content is visible, if used. This is not adjustable.

ASL Interpretation When Sharing Video Only

Instructors need to spotlight the ASL interpreter’s video in Zoom. To do this:

  1. Make sure you are in active speaker view (one large video feed with smaller video feeds above it).
  2. Right-click on the interpreter’s video and select "Spotlight Video". 


This will make it so the interpreter can consistently and clearly be seen in the live session and the recording.

ASL Interpretation When Screen Sharing

To be able to see the interpreter and the screen share at the same time:

  1. Spotlight the interpreter's video as you would when sharing video only.

  2. Click on the active speaker icon (single box icon) (see arrow in image below). This creates a pop-up window with the interpreter next to the shared screen. This window can be moved or adjusted in size as needed.


Changing the Interpreter

When a course uses two interpreters, the instructor needs to remove the spotlight from the current interpreter then spotlight the new interpreter. This process needs to be done each time the interpreter changes.

  1. Right-click the current interpreter’s video feed and select "Remove Spotlight”.

  2. Right-click the new interpreter’s video feed and select "Spotlight Video".

Considerations When Working with an ASL Interpreter

Beyond the technical steps required for working with interpreters in Zoom, there are other best practices for ensuring an effective meeting:

  • Since interpreters will only be interpreting the instructor’s speech, all questions from students will have to occur through the chat tool on Zoom. Check the chat regularly.

  • When reading questions from the chat box, make sure to restate the question before answering it. This will ensure that both the question and answer are interpreted for students.

  • Take breaks regularly. Taking a break from instruction every 5 to 7 minutes will provide instructors a natural opportunity to check for student understanding, and provide interpreters the chance to quickly rest or swap with another interpreter if another one is in attendance.

By following these best practices, we believe that the needs of all students can be met. Following these recommendations will ensure that both synchronous and asynchronous sessions will be accessible to our students.