Interpreting Services

Interpreting Services

The Interpreting Services Office provides quality communication access accommodations to deaf and hard-of-hearing students throughout the San Diego Community College District, increasing their communication access and empowering them to meet their educational and career goals.


The Interpreting Services Office (ISO) provides communication access accommodations for deaf and hard-of-hearing students with a documented disability. The ISO, in conjunction with Disability Support Programs and Services (DSPS), provides services in state supported activities and classes, and related academic requirements that are directly related to the student's educational process. Learn more the services ISO can provide for students.

The ISO provides information for faculty and staff working with deaf or hard of hearing students. If interpreting services and/or speech-to-text services are needed for student activities outside the classroom, the ISO may provide these services, provided resources are available. If our office cannot provide services, they must be provided and funded by the respective department of the college.

Deaf or hard-of-hearing students should meet with the DSPS counselor at their campus to determine the appropriate communication access accommodations and the service requests are then handled by the Interpreting Services Office. Find your campus.



Communication Access AccommodationS

Sign Language Interpreting Services

Sign language interpreting provides the facilitation of communication between people who are deaf or hard of hearing and individuals who are hearing. To ensure the quality of interpreting services, typically a team of two interpreters is assigned for a session one hour or more in length.

  • American Sign Language is visual-gestural language with its own linguistic features. Interpreters are trained in American Sign Language, deaf culture, and interpreting from one language to another. Interpreters use sign to express what is spoken and verbalize what is signed while conveying the intent and feeling of the speaker and are versatile in adapting to a variety of communication styles, modalities and languages ranging from ASL to a more English-influenced form of signing. Interpreters follow a code of professional conduct, keeping materials interpreted strictly confidential and not imposing any opinion or comments of the subject matter.
  • Tactile interpretation may be needed for students who also have a visual limitation. The student will touch the interpreter's hands for comprehension while they supply both auditory and visual information to the student. Tactile signing can be taxing for interpreters, and may require more frequent interpreter switches or breaks and it is important to determine a seating arrangement that is comfortable for both the client and the interpreter.
  • Deaf interpreters may be needed when the communication mode of the student is so unique that it cannot be adequately accessed by interpreters who are hearing. Deaf interpreters may work as a team member with a hearing interpreter. 

Speech-to-Text Services (STS)

Students who do not use sign language or who cannot access information presented orally may need speech-to-text services. This involves a service provider transcribing a lecture or other spoken material into written language that is then displayed on a laptop computer screen for the student. This transcript is provided to the student within 48 hours after the class, which allows the student to give full attention to the instructor rather than worrying about missing information while taking notes. The service provider may be in the classroom or at a remote location. Speech-to-text services include real-time captioning (RTC) service and TypeWell service.

  • Real-time captioning involves a service provider using court reporter (stenotype) equipment to transcribe a lecture into written language that is then displayed on a laptop computer screen for the student. A RTC provider will render nearly instantaneous text translation of the spoken English as nearly word for word as possible while striving to convey the content and spirit of the speaker's message.
  • TypeWell is a transcription system that provides communication access and note taking services for deaf and hard-of-hearing students through the use of a speech-to-text transcription service. A transcriber uses a notebook computer containing software that uses abbreviation techniques to transcribe meaning-for-meaning what is said in class lectures and discussions. This means the transcriber usually does not type every word that is said, yet maintains the full meaning intended by the speaker. The student reads the transcription in real-time from a second display. Students can also type questions and comments to the transcriber during class, and even take their own notes on the reader computer.

Interpreting Services Office | 
Daniel Nakaji, Supervisor | | (619) 550-3389 (videophone or voice)