Conference Planning

Although GIS is primarily a resource for the Gallaudet community, we also provide interpreting services for conferences held at Gallaudet University as well as in the Washington metropolitan area. In particular, GIS works closely with the Conference Management Unit at Gallaudet University to ensure that events held in the Gallaudet University Kellogg Conference Hotel are well planned and coordinated.

GIS often assigns an Interpreting Coordinator for conferences, workshops and other large events. The Interpreting Coordinator is responsible for working with the requester and interpreters to assure effective communication. The Interpreting Coordinator helps plan logistics, consults with speakers to familiarize them with the use of interpreters and to obtain advance copies of speeches, discussion papers, and agendas, and remains on site to address any last minute needs, concerns or changes. This service is billed at the regular interpreting rate.

Gallaudet Interpreting Services follows the guidelines recommended by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf on conference interpreting. In order to keep costs to a minimum and to provide you with the best possible interpreting services, GIS recommends the following:

  • Conference registration forms should allow registrants to indicate whether interpreting services are needed and what their communication needs are. Choices might include: ASL, English-based Sign, Tactile, Close Vision, Oral or assistive listening devices.
  • GIS would prefer a minimum of 30 days notice in order to plan and coordinate interpreting services for conferences. GIS will guarantee interpreting service for those participants who register in advance but cannot guarantee interpreting services for late registrants or for late changes or additions to the conference schedule. Advance notice is critical to providing service to all clients. If late changes or additions can be accommodated, they will be charged at a premium rate.
  • If possible, the GIS Interpreting Coordinator should be included in planning committee meetings for large conferences of more than two days' duration. The Interpreting Coordinator will offer suggestions to assure an effective presentation, arrange logistics for the interpreters, and address any areas of concern. This service is billed at the regular interpreting rate.
  • GIS interpreters are committed to accurately representing the content of the speaker's presentation to the audience. Often there is highly specialized or technical terminology included in the speech, or particular names may be unfamiliar to the interpreter. In order to assure the best possible interpreting service, it is important that GIS be given a copy of the presenter's materials in advance so that the interpreters can prepare for the event. Materials should be submitted to GIS preferably three weeks in advance (five weeks for International Conferences) prior to the beginning of the conference. Failure to provide presentation materials will result in additional billed hours. The GIS Interpreting Coordinator will make arrangements to pre-conference with speakers to review content, ask any last minute questions and go over logistics.
  • Because conference events are carefully and tightly orchestrated, any changes in scheduling may be problematic. GIS understands that some situations are unavoidable. Before making any last minute changes to your event, please check with your GIS Interpreting Coordinator to see whether these changes can be accommodated before any commitments are made. Last minute changes may result in overtime and/or late fees.


  • Upon request, GIS will provide you with an estimate of interpreting costs in advance based on the information provided to us. The number of interpreters needed is determined by GIS.
  • Conference planning requires commitments from interpreters well in advance of your event. If the conference or any section is cancelled, GIS must receive no less than five working days' notice prior to the first day of the conference. If fewer than five days' notice is received, you will be billed all interpreting fees for the first two days of the conference.
  • In the event that interpreters are scheduled but their consumers do not show, the interpreter will report this information to the GIS Interpreting Coordinator. The interpreter may be reassigned to assist in other areas of the conference or be released to prepare for upcoming conference sessions.
  • GIS will contract with all interpreters necessary for your conference unless otherwise specified. If other agencies are used to cover special needs (e.g., foreign language interpreting, oral interpreting), GIS will incorporate their charges into your final bill and provide you with advance notice of expected costs.
  • Videotaping of interpreters (audio or visual) is strictly prohibited without receiving the interpreter's prior written consent. Videotaped events may be charged at a premium rate.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact GIS at (202) 651-5199 or email us at We will be glad to assist you.