Using sign language interpretation in a meeting or webinar

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When Sign Language interpretation view is enabled, hosts can designate up to 20 users as sign language interpreters either when scheduling a meeting or webinar or during the session

When the meeting or webinar starts, the host must start the interpretation feature, which allows the sign language interpreters to provide their own video channels for the language they are interpreting. Participants can then select the video channel to view the sign language interpretation for an available sign language, and resize or relocate the video window as needed.

Note: Zoom does not provide sign language interpreters for meetings and webinars. Hosts must provide and assign users as sign language interpreters.

This article covers:

Prerequisites for managing sign language interpretation

Note: The minimum version applies to all users in the meeting or webinar, including the host, participants, and sign language interpreters.

Limitations of the Sign Language interpretation view feature

  • This feature does not offer sign language interpreters; hosts must provide and assign users as sign language interpreters in the meeting or webinar.
  • This feature cannot be used with Personal Meeting IDs (PMI). To include Sign Language interpretation view, the meeting or webinar ID must be generated automatically.
  • Hosts must join the meeting or webinar through the Zoom desktop client to manage and initiate interpretation. They cannot join with any other clients, such as the Zoom mobile app or web client.
  • This feature must be selected when scheduling a meeting or webinar, and thus cannot be used for an instant meeting.
  • If two are more interpreters are assigned, interpreter 1's video will always override other assigned interpreter's. Zoom recommends interpreters disable their video when they are not the active sign language interpreter. 

How to manage interpretation during a meeting or webinar

Once you've scheduled a meeting or webinar with sign language interpretation, you can manage interpretation when you start the session.

Note: To start, manage, or end interpretation in a meeting or webinar as the host, you must join the session on the Zoom desktop client. You cannot join through other clients, such as a web browser (web client) or the Zoom mobile app.

  1. Sign in to the Zoom desktop client.
  2. Start a meeting or webinar as the host.
  3. In the meeting controls toolbar, click the Interpretation icon.
    Note: On smaller screen sizes or windows, you may have to click the More icon, then click Interpretation.
    A window will open for managing interpretation, where you can do any of the following:
    • View everyone assigned to an interpreter role
    • Add or remove someone from an interpreter role
    • Start or end the interpretation feature for everyone

Add or remove someone from an interpreter role

In the interpretation management window, you can view a list of current language and sign language interpreters. To add or remove interpreters:

  • Add an interpreter: Click + Add Interpreter, choose if you want to add a language or sign language interpreter, then select their name and language.
  • Remove an interpreter: Click the delete icon  next to their name.

Start or end the interpretation feature for everyone

For any audio (language interpretation) or video (sign language interpretation) channels to begin, the host must start interpretation during the meeting or webinar. Interpretation will continue until the host ends it.

At the bottom of the interpretation management window, click Start or End.

  • Start: Everyone is notified that sign language interpretation is available. Anyone designated as a sign language interpreter will be shown in a designated video channel for the language they’re interpreting. Participants can choose to view their desired language channel.
  • End: Everyone is notified that the host has ended interpretation. For anyone designated as a sign language interpreter, their microphone is enabled but muted by default, and their video reappears in the meeting or webinar.

Allow a sign language interpreter to talk in the main session of the meeting or webinar

By default, when interpretation is started by the host, sign language interpreters will not be allowed to unmute their microphones, unless given permission from the host.

To give a sign language interpreter permission to speak in the session by unmuting their microphone:

  1. In the meeting controls toolbar, click the Participants icon.
  2. Hover over the name of the interpreter, then click Allow to talk.
    The sign language interpreter's video will broadcast into the main session, in addition to their assigned video channel. They will see a prompt with the choice to unmute or stay muted.
  3. (Optional) To mute the interpreter again, right-click their name in the Participants panel, then click Disable Talking.
    Their video will no longer be present in the main session and their microphone will be muted.

How to manage your sign language interpreter role

As an interpreter, you can only interpret one language at a time to eliminate language crossover and help reduce confusion.

The host can assign you as a sign language interpreter in two ways:

Once you join the meeting or webinar and the host starts the interpretation feature with you assigned to a sign language interpreter role, you will be notified that your video is now broadcasting in the language channel you are interpreting. You will see your video indicating that you are on air, and your microphone will be disabled, but the host can give you permission to speak.

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