Communication Accommodations

You must first register with Disability Services (DS) in order for DS to determine your eligibility for this accommodation. Refer to the registration page for further information.   

Sign-language interpreting and speech-to-text services are coordinated for students, faculty, staff, or visitors who are Deaf or hard-of hearing to facilitate communication and participation in University programs and activities. The appropriate type of service is determined according to the student’s documented need, communication skills, and preferred accommodation.  Students eligible for sign-language interpreting or speech-to-text services work with their Disability Services Coordinator to arrange this accommodation.

Sign-Language Interpreting

Sign-language interpreting is a visual-spatial language that utilizes hand movements, facial expressions, and other gestures to communicate the spoken word to people who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing.

Sign-language interpreting is available in the following styles:

  • American Sign Language (ASL)
  • Signed English (SE)
  • Cued Speech
  • Tactile Signing

Speech-to-Text Services

Speech-to-text services provide communication access for those who cannot hear spoken language by converting spoken language into words on a computer as the words are spoken that can then be read by people who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing.   

Speech-to-text services are available in the following formats:

  • CART (Communication Access Real-Time Captioning)
  • C-Print

Note:  Students with hearing disabilities will also likely require captioning services in order to access any videos with auditory components shown in class.  Captions are words that are displayed on screen that describe the audio or sound portion of a video. Captions allow viewers who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing to follow the dialogue and the action of a video simultaneously as the words typically appear in sync with the audio they describe.  Disability Services requires that videos shown in any class with a student who is Deaf or hard-of-hearing and receives sign-language or speech-to-text services must be captioned.

Visitors, Faculty, and Staff 

Requests for Sign-language interpreting and speech-to-text services may also be requested by all Columbia students, staff, faculty members, or visitors for campus events.  Requests for Sign-language interpreting require at least 2 weeks’ notice and at least 3 weeks’ notice for speech-to-text services. 

In order to coordinate such services for a campus event, the following information is required:

  • Name and Contact information of requester
  • Date of event
  • Start and end time of event
  • Location of event
  • Name of event and other information regarding the event including type of event (lecture, performance, tour, book signing, names of speakers, etc.)  
  • Flyer (if available)
  • A Columbia contact person/sponsoring department (if available)
  • Preferred communication format (i.e. ASL, SEE, Cued Speech, CART, C-Print)
  • Whether or not videos will also be shown at the event

Such requests can be made by contacting Disability Services via telephone, email, or in person.

Please note:  Communication services cannot be guaranteed if requests for sign-language interpreting are made with less than two weeks’ notice and less than three weeks’ notice for speck-to-text services.  If the event is canceled or communication services are no longer required, please provide Disability Services with this update at least 48 hours in advance of the event date.



I am attending an event at Columbia, how do I make arrangements for accommodations?

Contact Disability Services at least two weeks in advance to request disability accommodations. Certain accommodations, such as sign-language interpreting services, require advance notice to coordinate.

Someone requested a Sign Language Interpreter or other accommodation for an event I am hosting. What should I do?

Submit a request to Disability Services at least two weeks in advance of the event. Requests made less than two weeks’ notice cannot be guaranteed.

Last updated April 04, 2014