Volunteer Student Interpreting Services FAQ

Who provides the service?

Students in the fourth year of the Honours Bachelor of Interpretation (American Sign Language-English) (C302) degree program at George Brown College provide a student-run volunteer student interpreting service for a limited number of situations.

This service was previously known as the GBC Student Referral Service, which is closed and is no longer in service.

What is the purpose of the service?

The goal of the service is to provide more access to low-risk social events for Deaf and hard of hearing individuals and in turn, provide students with more opportunities to practice their interpreting skills in authentic contexts. Interpreting swimming lessons or a birthday party would be examples of low-risk contexts.

Students in their fourth year of the program run and participate in the service as part of their studies. Students will accept approved requests for volunteer interpreters and assign students to interpret your requests. Faculty in the program must approve all requests that are sent to the service.

What does the service not cover?

The service does not accept assignments where funding is available for professional interpreting services, where professional interpreters are typically/historically secured, nor accept assignments that are beyond the scope and abilities of student interpreters. Assignments that have risk, are too difficult or potentially harmful to students and consumers are declined. You must make sure that there is no funding to pay for a professional interpreter before you contact us.

If any of the following agencies typically pay for the service, we will not accept the request. Please check with the following agencies prior to contacting us to ensure they will not pay for an interpreter for the event:

  • Canadian Hearing Society - CHS Interpreting Services (CHSIS)
  • Bob Rumball Canadian Centre of Excellence for the Deaf (BRCCED)
  • George Brown College (GBC) Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services
  • Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC)
  • Silent Voice Canada
  • Ontario government
  • other similar agencies who provide interpretation services

Suitable assignments for student interpreters include:

  • family events - anniversaries, birthday parties, BBQs, family reunions, etc.
  • social gatherings - knitting/quilting, crafts and hobbies, etc.
  • some sporting events – child’s baseball, soccer, tennis, etc., lessons and games
  • clubs - Cub Scouts, Pathfinders, Girl Guides, etc.
  • some religious settings (not services)
  • theatrical – front of house

** Note: these are broad categories with some examples. Depending on contextual factors, the request may or may not be approved.

Students cannot interpret the following assignments:

  • employment situations, including job interviews
  • legal contexts of any nature
  • business transactions or inquiries
  • final tests or exams
  • financial transactions
  • medical situations
  • mental health settings
  • disciplinary situations
  • presentations or lectures
  • theatrical performances
  • meetings, conferences and workshops
  • religious services

Service format?

If your request is appropriate and acceptable for student interpreters, we will make every attempt to fill the request. There is no guarantee that students are available. Two student interpreters will always be sent to the assignment. Please keep in mind that depending on the students’ skills, they may provide interpretation either consecutively or simultaneously. Service is not accepted if it conflicts with classes.

How do I submit a request for student interpreters?

To request student interpreters, please email: gbcvsis@gmail.com

In your request please provide the date and time of the event, location, nature/topic and number of participants.

You will receive a detailed explanation of the service once a request for student interpreters has been submitted to GBC VSIS.

What are the fees for the service?

As part of the volunteer nature of this service, students do not accept payment for their work. We ask that in lieu of payment that feedback forms be filled out and submitted via email to Rhondda Reynolds, Internship Instructor rreynolds@georgebrown.ca

Ideally, the request is submitted to the service with at least five (5) business days’ notice. As students’ workload, studies and schedules are demanding, the more time provided for a request means students have time to make arrangements if necessary.

What locations are covered by students?

Depending on the nature of the request, both in-person (GTA) and online events can be considered.

*Whether the event is in person or online, recording of the students interpreting is forbidden. If the event is online, it must not be open to the public*