Rock Valley College

Chapter 12: Interpreting & Real-Time Captioning Services

Sign language interpreting and real-time captioning services may be requested for classes, class related activities, and college-sponsored events open to students and the public.

Sign Language interpreters are trained professionals who are hired by the college convey messages between two different languages, typically spoken English and American Sign Language (ASL). All interpreters are required to abide by professional expectations and conduct. In addition, effective January 1, 2009, all RVC interpreters are required to be licensed in accordance with the Interpreter for the Deaf Licensure Act.

Real-Time Captioners are trained professionals who provide a speech-to-text translation which can be read visually on a laptop, computer monitor, or other display screen in real-time.

Process for Class-Related Requests

  • Contact DSS office to request this accommodation by phone: (815-921-2371, Email: or stop by)
  • Eligibility for this accomodation is determined through an interactive discussion between the student and Accommodations Specialist
  • When approved for this accommodation, students must request this accommodation for every class (each semester) in which an interpreter or captioner is needed. Requests are made by  contacting the DSS office.
  • DSS will notify Faculty of the accommodation via the Faculty Notification Letter
  • Students are responsible for contacting the DSS office regarding any questions or concerns they may have in relation to this accommodation.

Student Responsibilities


  • Review the No Call/No Show Procedure
  • Exchange contact information (E-mail, phone number) with the interpreter or captioner at the beginning of the semester and notify them directly in the event of an absence, tardiness, or emergency
  • Notify the DSS office and interpreter or captioner immediately of any changes to your course schedule, when absent from class(es), or if faculty cancels class on a particular day
  • Students should check the class syllabus for information concerning field trips, extra credit opportunities and other activities that may require accommodations and make custom requests (See Non Class-Related Request section below) as soon as possible.
  • Students are strongly encouraged to review the Working With an Interpreter guide.

Additional Important Notes

  • Requests are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.  A minimum of 48 hours advance notice is requested; one week advance notice is preferred. At least two weeks lead time is typically required for preparation for an interpreted theatrical or musical performance.
  • Students should not make requests directly to interpreters or captioners as these professionals must have prior approval from DSS before accepting assignments.
  • When two or more students who use interpreting or captioning are found to be taking the same class (but different sections), DSS may request for one or more students to switch sections whenever feasible.
  • The interpreter or captioner will wait for 15 minutes outside the classroom if a student is tardy. If the student hasn't arrived after 15 minutes, the interpreter or captioner will leave
  • The interpreter or captioner is not responsible for the student’s progress or success, and is not a substitute for missed information in the event of an absence. Any concerns regarding class performance should be addressed with the appropriate instructor and/or DSS.


Non Class-Related Interpreting or Captioning Requests

Ideally, all advertisements for an event should list a contact person to whom requests for accommodations can be made. If no such information is provided, a Custom Request (select Sign Langauge Interpreting or Real-time Captioning) can be made.

Examples of non-course-related requests may include any college-sponsored event, such as: workshops, lectures, activities, performances, and meetings. Please note that some requests may take more time than others due to the amount of prep time required, therefore it is imperative to provide as much advance notice as possible.

If you have any questions, or require additional direction, please feel free to contact the Disability Support Services office at (815) 921-2371 or