Sign Language and Speech-to-text

Disability Services coordinates sign-language interpreting and speech-to-text services for students and visitors who are Deaf or hard-of hearing to facilitate communication and participation in University programs and activities.

You must first register with Disability Services to apply for eligibility for this accommodation.

Who Can Use This Service?


Staff determine the appropriate type of service according to students’ documented needs, communication skills, and preferred accommodation. Students eligible for sign-language interpreting or speech-to-text services for classes work with their accessibility coordinator to arrange this accommodation.

For University Events

All Columbia students, staff, faculty, or visitors can request sign-language interpreting and speech-to-text services for campus events. Requests for sign-language interpreting require notice of at least two weeks. Requests for speech-to-text services need a notice of at least three weeks.

To coordinate such services for a campus event:

  1. Contact Disability Services a minimum of two weeks in advance for sign-language interpreting and a minimum of three weeks in advance for speech-to-text services.
  2. Your request must include the following information:
  • Name of and contact information for person requesting services
  • Date of event
  • Start and end times of event
  • Event location
  • Name of event and other pertinent information, including type of event (lecture, performance, tour, book signing, names of speakers, etc.)
  • Flyer (if available)
  • A Columbia contact person or sponsoring department (if available)
  • Preferred communication format to be used at the event
  • Information on video if any will be shown
  1. If the event is canceled or communication services are no longer required, please update Disability Services at least 48 hours in advance of the event.

Sign-language Interpreting

Sign-language interpreting is available in the following styles:

  • American Sign Language
  • Signed English
  • Cued speech
  • Tactile signing

Speech-to-text Services

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

  • Communication access real-time captioning
  • C-print

Students with hearing disabilities will also likely require captioning services to access video with auditory components shown in class. Disability Services requires that videos be captioned if they are shown in a class with a student who is deaf or hard-of-hearing and receives sign-language or speech-to-text services.