photos of students

Sign Language Interpreting/Transliterator Services

Policies and Guidelines

The Office of Disability Services (ODS) at George Mason University provides Sign Language interpreting/transliterator services for eligible students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing that are registered with the ODS. These same services are also available for faculty, staff and campus events.

The following are policies for the provision of these services.


"All requests for interpreting services are made through the ODS . Therefore, all inquiries and requests from any student, professor or staff member must be referred to the ODS Coordinator of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services. Student requests can be made by web form, telephone office703.993.2474, Fax 703.993.4306, or e-mail at  Faculty and Staff request forms are under construction and will be available soon.  At this time, please send requests via telephone office 703.993.2474, Fax 703.993.4306, or e-mail at"


Following legal and university mandates and due to the size of the university, the ODS has established the following order of eligibility of services:

  1. Academic - This includes classes, field trips, study groups, required attendance at special events, meetings with advisors or professors, tutorials, etc. This also includes training events sponsored by Continuing Education.
  2. Events sponsored by chartered student organizations - This includes programs, concerts, workshops, induction or recognition ceremonies, meetings, etc.
  3. Special Events sponsored by colleges or departments within the university including conferences, guest lecturers, special performances, recognition ceremonies, celebrations, etc.
  4. Human Resources requests for staff, faculty or GA positions. - This includes staff meetings, professional development , performance evaluations, recognition ceremonies, etc.

Due to the limited availability of Sign Language interpreters/transliterators, the ODS has set the following criteria for the prioritization for service provision for non-academic events:

  1. Initial request date - Early requests are given higher priority. Although the ODS will make every attempt to fill requests for interpreter service, there is no guarantee for any request submitted less than one week (7 days) prior to the event.
  2. Promptness in providing necessary information is a factor in determining priority. Day and date of event, begin and end time, location, name of sponsor, name of contact person and phone number/e-mail address are all considered necessary information. A copy of the program, conference brochure and related materials must be provided a.s.a.p. In the event of a theatrical performance, a copy of the script must be provided at least three weeks in advance.
  3. The Coordinator of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services will confirm the names of interpreters providing the service.


In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), services must be provided if request for accommodation is made by a person attending the event. Although every attempt will be made to secure interpreters for such a request, there is no guarantee of service provision if request is made by the attendee less than one week (7 days) in advance.

The ODS recommends the provision of services for any special event on campus that is open to the public and an attendance of more than one hundred (100) is expected.

The ODS recommends including the Interpreter Coordinator in special event planning committees.


If it is certain that interpreters will be used during the program, include the pictorial symbol below in promotional and registration materials.
hands signing 
This will alert individuals who are deaf that this service will be provided. The following is suggested language to be used with this symbol:

  1. "Interpreting services will be provided upon request. Please contact (insert appropriate name/office and phone number) to request services." This language is recommended for events requiring pre-registration such as conferences, workshops or events with limited seating.
  2. "Interpreting services will be provided." This language is recommended for any special event on campus that is open to the student body and/or the general public and attendance of more than one hundred (100) is expected.
    Provide seating for the individuals who are deaf in the front with an unobstructed view of the stage/speaker. This way they can take in the message and the message provider simultaneously.