What do you do during testing?

Week two is off to a good start.  The school is doing some testing which can be daunting for interpreters.

In Florida, I couldn’t find any specific information, like an Educational Interpreters Guidelines.  I did find this from the Ohio Guidelines for Educational Interpreters and I think this is how most districts approach testing with interpreters.

For the purposes of statewide testing, sign-language is considered a second language and should be treated the same as any other language from a translation standpoint. The intent of the phrase “sign verbatim” does not mean a word-to-word translation per se as this is not appropriate for any language translation. The expectation is that it should faithfully translate, to the greatest extent possible, all of the words on the test without changing or enhancing the meaning of the content, adding information, or explaining concepts unknown to the student.

In no case should accommodations be provided beyond regular classroom practice. For example, when the student‟s IEP stipulates interpretation, that generally includes interpreting such things as directions, prompts for the writing test, and test questions, including corresponding answer choices. Individual words should not be interpreted; instead, the interpreter may interpret the entire sentence in which that word occurs. Interpretation of reading passages is never permitted since the purpose of the test is to assess the student‟s ability to comprehend text. Interpretation of the reading passage requires the school to invalidate
the test.


This information from the EIPA Guildlines for Professional Conduct gives good insight as well.

Standardized testing is a critical aspect
of assessing the student’s achievement.
Because of this, the interpreter should have
preparation time to discuss test
administration with a professional
knowledgeable about students who are deaf
or hard of hearing and about the specific test.
There are some interpreting practices that
may invalidate test results or may overly
assist the student. On occasion, the
educational team may decide that a student
who is deaf or hard of hearing should have an
alternate method of testing. The educational
interpreter should be familiar with, and
competent to make the language used on a
test as accessible as possible to the deaf or
hard of hearing student.


It wouldn’t seem like this would be a tough interpreting gig but it can be.  Not adding bias takes concentration.  While it’s okay to set up concepts in sign it can not add or change the English word order. Yeah, that level of concentration can wear an interpreter out. Especially when their little faces are looking at you trying to understand.

Thank goodness that isn’t the bulk of our job.



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