Interpreter Internship Policy Handbook

Program Overview

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s DRC interpreter internship program is a practical experience in a post secondary setting. Interns will experience a variety of settings across the campus of a university setting such as classroom lectures, department meetings, and events. Interns will work alongside nationally certified interpreters participating in observation of interpreting, hands on work and discussion of the practice of interpreting. The Interpreter Coordinator will serve as the intern’s supervisor. Interns will have the opportunity to earn 300 or more hours of experience as a working interpreter. Interns may be given the opportunity to gain experience in transcribing services.

Please review the DRC Mission Statement.

Intern Acceptance and Scheduling Procedures

Interns must have proof of the following:

  • Arkansas Department of Health Interpreter License
  • Interpreting credential (QAST level)

Interns will be scheduled at the beginning of the semester to observe/team mentor interpreter(s). Interns are expected to attend all scheduled events; excessive tardiness or absences may result in termination of internship. Inform the Internship Supervisor of any expected absences. Interns shall commit to attending for the duration of the semester.


Interns will have weekly meetings with DRC Interpreting Staff.  During these meetings the interns shall be prepared to discuss ethical concerns, self-analysis, and feedback given by the mentor interpreters.

Team Approach

DRC, the student, faculty, notetaker, transcriber and interpreter work together as an educational team for the purpose of creating a fully accessible learning environment; interns will have the opportunity to see how this team works to provide excellent services. Each member of the team has a vital and specific role. In order to create an equitable learning experience, all team members must actively fulfill their respective roles.

Intern Expectations:

  • adhere to the NAD-RID Code of Professional Conduct
  • interpret/transcribe lectures, discussions, media, and all communications in the classroom setting
  • provide services to the best of their ability
  • keep all information regarding assignments confidential
  • facilitate communication between persons who are hearing and persons who are deaf or hard of hearing as accurately as possible
  • arrive on time for assignments
  • be professional in all aspects of the assignment
  • dress appropriately wearing clothes that contrast with skin color and are not distracting
  • prepare for class by reviewing textbooks, handouts and media ahead of time
  • if student is absent or late, remain 20 minutes after class has begun unless notified otherwise
  • interpreters remain outside of the classroom until the student arrives; after 20 minutes, transcribers can pack up equipment and leave the classroom
  • any problems with the student should be discussed directly with them before coming to talk to a DRC staff person
  • contact the Coordinator with comments or concerns
  • remain engaged during all assignments whether working or observing
  • take notes, present feedback, and engage in discussion
  • turn all devices to silent while working or observing

Student Expectations:

  • for service provider requests outside of regularly scheduled class times, complete the request form two weeks prior to the event or as soon as possible
  • on the first day of class or in any new situation, identify yourself to the service provider
  • be on time for all classes, labs and meetings
  • when watching an interpreter, sit in a place that provides the best distance, lighting, background, and angle for viewing
  • direct questions relating to the class materials to the professor
  • personal conversations with the service provider should not occur during class
  • any problems with the service provider should be discussed directly with them before coming to talk to the Coordinator
  • notify the Coordinator if the service provider does not come to class
  • inform the service provider of any planned absences, if the class is cancelled or is late, if there will be a video shown in class, or if the student will be making a presentation
  • know and abide by all UA Little Rock and DRC policies, rules, and regulations.

DRC Expectations:

  • provide qualified interpreters
  • help students determine which accommodations are appropriate and explain how these services will be provided
  • assist faculty and staff members in working with interpreters
  • meet with students and/or professors as needed

Interpreter Intern Responsibilities

Ethics and Confidentiality

Interns are expected to adhere to the NAD-RID Code of Professional Conduct. They are to provide interpreting services to the best of their ability and not allow personal feelings to interfere in the interpreting process. When interns socialize with students outside of the classroom, they should keep all information about interpreting assignments confidential, regardless of how inconsequential the information may seem.

Suggested phrases to maintain confidentiality:

  • I am not at liberty to say.
  • I am sorry, that information is confidential.
  • I am not sure.
  • I don’t know.
  • I only see the student in class.
  • I don’t know the student personally.
  • I am not able to discuss that information.
  • I can’t answer that question, but I would be happy to interpret if you would like to ask the student directly.
  • The student could probably answer that better than I could.
  • DRC could probably answer that question for you. Let me give you their contact information.
  • I am sorry, I am not able to step out of my role of interpreting during class time.
  • If you have concerns you would like to address concerning the interpreter in your class you might want to talk to DRC. Let me give you their contact information.
  • I am an intern, please contact the Coordinator.

First Day of Class

Recommendations for the first day of class:

  • Arrive ten to fifteen minutes early to introduce yourself to the mentor interpreter, instructor and student, and let them know you’re open to feedback.
  • Use the team approach to best establish preferred placement within the classroom (i.e. standing by the board, sitting near the desk).
  • Obtain a syllabus in order to be better prepared.
  • Encourage continued open communication throughout the semester.

Contact Information

We ask that all interns provide updated contact information to the Coordinator. If your email address or phone number changes, please notify the Coordinator. This information is needed for interns to receive possible schedule changes and any messages.

In case of an emergency phone call, every possible effort will be made to contact you wherever you are on campus.

Intern/Student Interaction

Interns should not have conversations with students during class time. Visitation should be done before and after the class. If another student in the class asks for information about what the service provider or intern is doing, they should politely let the student know they are not able to discuss it during class, but could answer before or after the class. When answering questions from faculty and other students, the intern should provide only general information, keeping in mind the importance of confidentiality.

Team Interpreting

Intern will gain real life experience teaming with nationally certified and highly credentialed interpreters.

Dress Code

Interns are expected to adhere to the same dress code the Service Provider follows. If you have any specific questions about attire, they can be directed to the Coordinator.


Interns should take care of personal business at times other than during assignments on campus. Because electronic devices can interfere with the quality of services and disrupt the setting, interns are expected to turn them off or silence them during the assignment. They may check their devices if a break occurs, but should not respond to calls or texts during an assignment.

Due Process

If DRC receives a complaint about an intern situation from students, faculty, or staff, the Coordinator will meet with the intern involved. If a complaint about the same problem is reported more than once, the intern involved will meet with the Coordinator and the Director of DRC. If this specific complaint continues, the decision may be made to terminate their internship. Depending on the nature or seriousness of the complaint, a decision may be made to terminate the internship at an earlier stage in this process.


Interns interact with students, faculty, staff, and the community. Relationships with a variety of people will inevitably develop, and positive professional relationships and networking within the profession are strongly encouraged. However certain personal relationships with students are unacceptable within the context of a working relationship.

Interns will not be placed in assignments that could threaten to compromise their commitment to the NAD-RID Code of Professional Conduct. Examples of this include but are not limited to interpreting or transcribing for family members and romantic interests. As stated in the RID Standard Practice Papers, “The relative may have attitudinal or emotional issues that could affect objectivity and impartiality and prevent accurate communication.” The deaf person’s right to privacy and confidentiality could easily be compromised.

Any questions about the ethics of a relational situation should be directed to the Coordinator.


In-class observation of each service provider may occur and may or may not be announced.  The purpose of these observations is to document their attendance, promptness, and professionalism.

Inclement Weather

If the weather appears hazardous, please refer to the inclement weather policy for UALR. Information regarding school closings will also be posted on the UA Little Rock website.

Acknowledgement of Policies and Procedures

All UA Little Rock Interpreter Interns are required to submit an acknowledgement of agreement form indicating that they have read, understand, and agree to follow all UA Little Rock policies and procedures.  

Service Provider Policy Agreement Contract

Acknowledgement Statement(Required)
I have read and understand the UALR Service Provider Handbook. I agree to follow all policies and procedures.