Tips for Reporters

Pronunciations for Gallaudet University and Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center:

Gallaudet – [gal-uh-det]

Laurent Clerc – [loh-rahn] [kler]


  • Be aware of your environment. Converse in well‐lit areas that are not crowded.
  • Allow the deaf or hard of hearing person to determine the best seating arrangement.
  • To get a person’s attention, tap their arm or shoulder or wave your hand.
  • Speak to the person you are interviewing as if the interpreter was not there. For example, do not ask the interpreter to “tell” the person something.
  • Maintain eye contact with the person you are speaking with, not the interpreter.
  • Do not interrupt the person when they are signing.
  • Do not assume all deaf and hard of hearing people read lips.

Interview tips

  • Allow time to determine seating, placement of participants, and lighting.
  • Be sure to write down the name of the interpreter. This may be useful for captioning a photo or video interview.
  • When in doubt, ask questions.
  • When conducting a television interview, allow the interpreter to use the microphone.
  • In certain situations, such as long interviews, there may be two interpreters. Be aware that they may work together and switch off.

American Sign Language (ASL)

  • ASL is a visual‐spatial‐tactile language with its own grammar and syntax.
  • The shape, placement, and movement of the hands, as well as facial expressions and body movements are used to convey meaning.
  • ASL uses signs representing ideas, manual signals, and an alphabet (finger spelling).
  • ASL is not a manual version of English.
  • ASL is not universal. ASL is used predominantly in the US and many parts of Canada.

Appropriate references

Please use the term “people who are deaf and hard of hearing” instead of “hearing impaired” or “hearing loss.” Do not use the term “disabled” when referring to a deaf or hard of hearing person. Some material in this article was provided by the National Association of the Deaf.

Gallaudet University Interpretation Policy for Media

For media inquiries in which interviews with students, faculty or staff at Gallaudet are requested, a certified American Sign Language‐spoken language interpreter will be required in most cases. At Gallaudet, interpreting services are provided through Gallaudet Interpreting Service (GIS), a division within the University which serves the Gallaudet community as well as external organizations.

GIS charges a per‐hour rate for its services and a team of two interpreters will be required in most cases. The Office of University Communications will work with media on a case‐by‐case basis to determine the exact needs for interpreting services based on the topic of the interview and the length of time requested.

Other external requests for interpreting services, including those for off‐campus events not affiliated with Gallaudet University, should be directed to GIS. Gallaudet Interpreting Services website.

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