Booking a sign language interpreter for your Departmental or Unit event (i.e. for a conference, a meeting, etc.)

Can I book an interpreter last minute? 

Do not wait until the last minute to book an interpreter. Interpreters get booked up quickly as they provide interpreting services throughout the Greater Victoria area as well as at the other local post-secondary institutions. Provide as much advanced notice as possible as this increases your chances of securing an available interpreter. There might be an interpreter available one or two days ahead of your event, but you are risking the chance of not providing access for Deaf students/community members to enjoy and participate in your event.

What will the interpreter need from me?

It is very useful to provide the interpreter you have booked with an agenda, speaking notes, PowerPoints etc. that will be discussed, this will allow them to prep the material ahead of time. The speaker knows their material, so for the interpreter to accurately interpret for them they will need access to this material ahead of time. Without reviewing the material ahead of time, they are in a sense ‘winging it’. With prior knowledge of the goal of the session, format, an understanding of the PowerPoints to be shown the interpreter can interpret and produce their best work. You will also need to pass along name and email contact for where they need to submit their invoice

How many interpreters do I need?

Due to Occupational Health and Safety Guidelines, events that are longer than 90 minutes may require two interpreters. The two interpreters will both be working throughout the event taking turns ever 15-30 minutes. One of the interpreters will be interpreting while the other listens intently supporting the other interpreter with any details that may be difficult to hear or are missed in the interpretation.

Do interpreters work elsewhere on campus?

The University of Victoria contracts with a number of Registered Sign Language Interpreters (RSLI’s) to provide service in courses that have a Deaf student registered in them. These interpreters are contracted on a semester by semester basis by CAL.

Why do I need to book an interpreter for our event?

Booking a Registered Sign Language Interpreter ensures successful communication between you and the student and/or ensuring that your event, meeting, seminar, conference is fully accessible to Deaf students or Deaf community members that are attending your event/conference. Without interpreters providing the information in Sign Language the Deaf students/participants will not understand anything that is going on at your event.

How much will it cost to hire an interpreter?

Depending on the length of the booking and the nature of the assignment (i.e.: meeting, conference, lecture etc.) you can anticipate paying $100+ per interpreter for a booking up to two hours. When you contact interpreters to inquire about their availability for your event, ask they to provide you with the cost of their services. Depending on the nature of your event the interpreter(s) may quote you time to prepare the material you provide ahead of time. I.e.: one hour of prep time.
Once you have received the interpreter’s invoice submit it through to Accounting using your FAST code. If it is under $2500 you will not need to have a Business Retainer Form filled out.
If you are unsure about what FAST Code to use or concerned about where the funds will come from connect with your Dean.

What if I don’t need the interpreter after all, how do I cancel this service?

You can expect to be quoted with at least a 48hr cancellation policy by the interpreter(s) when you book them. If you do not cancel the interpreter(s) within a 48hr (Mon-Fri) window, you will be charged in full for the services.

What if I’m not sure whether or not any Deaf people will be attending our event?

Ensuring full access to your event means that a Deaf person can attend and be confident that you are being fully inclusive and making sure there are no barriers to attend your event. There are many events each year that are interpreted without a Deaf person being in the audience. Knowing that you have provided interpreting services means that you are more likely to have Deaf participation at future events however it shows that you are welcoming diverse participation and are prepared by ensuring access needs have been met.

Where do I find interpreters to book for my event?

You can find Registered Sign Language Interpreters on the provincial chapter website of WAVLI (WestCoast Association of Sign Language Interpreters) which is a chapter of the National Organization AVLIC (Association of Visual Language Interpreters).

Those interpreters that have passed their Post-Secondary Interpreting Screen can be found at this link:

You can then compare that list with those that live on Vancouver Island

If you would prefer to contact an agency to arrange interpreting services for you, you can reach out to the Island Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre (IDHHC) at 250-592-8144

Or Preferred Interpreters