Planning to make your event accessible for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing community? Here’s a guide on how to work with the access team, which consists of sign language and/or speech-to-text interpreters.

Note: These are just some overall pointers. In reality, every event has different components and set-ups. The diversity in access requirements of participants may also vary depending on who attends. 

If you’re planning to engage our access services for an event, we will also walk you through the most feasible accessibility set up which matches the goals of your event, and the accessibility requirements of disabled participants.



If you have a registration process, it would be helpful to ask participants what their access requirements are. This will allow us to better recommend how many access professionals are required for each type of access service.

Which access service to pick?

Not all deaf people use sign language as their main mode of communication — some might prefer live transcription in the form of speech-to-text interpretation, while others would prefer to access information through sign language.

The access service they would prefer also depends on the nature of interaction: sign language interpretation for example, might be more ideal in dynamic conversations with multiple people involved, while speech-to-text services might work better in events with lots of jargon. 

Both services can also complement each other to provide fuller access and options for accessibility at your venue.


Providing materials to the access team

Providing materials beforehand will give access professionals more context on the topics, and the jargon that might come up. This makes for a more accurate translation, and better facilitation of communication between all parties.

These materials would be helpful:

  • Event flow
  • Slides
  • Script
  • List of Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing participants, and their access requirements (e.g. Sign Language or Speech-to-Text interpreting)

It would be great if you could send these over to the team at least one week prior to the event date. 

Set-up for accessibility professionals

Working with the access professionals on the set-up will help ensure that service provision is as seamless and effective as possible. Here are some common technical requirements.

Sign language interpreting:

  • Raised platform, if the access professional is not on the same stage
  • Large screen to flash the teleprompter or presenter’s slides
  • Speaker, if the sound is not clear from where the access professional is standing 
  • Table for a laptop, for the supporting interpreter to refer to materials
  • Chair for the supporting interpreter, placed across the active interpreter 

Speech-to-text interpreting:

  • Access to stable WiFi
  • Tables for laptops, and chairs to sit
  • A seating area that is facing the main stage or screen
  • Speaker, if the sound is not clear from where the access professional is standing
  • A staff member to help with the scrolling of the transcript document

A point to emphasise on is that it’s essential for access professionals to be able to see the presenters and screen. For any form of interpretation, visual reference is required to capture the speaker’s intention.

Some examples of visual references include:

  • the speakers’ body language
  • gestures
  • other points of interaction

These can only be captured by actually seeing what’s happening.


Do involve access professionals in a full-dress rehearsal, so that they can get familiar with the event flow, content, jargon and speech patterns of presenters. This is also a great time to work with the access team and check if the set up is ideal!

At this point, access professionals can also advise where Deaf and Hard of Hearing guests are recommended to sit for ease of viewing of the sign language interpretation or speech-to-text screen. 

Quick Wins to Consider

Games and quizzes

  • For games or quizzes that require speed, it’s good to project the questions or game instructions on screen. As with all forms of translation, sign language interpretation requires time for the message to be conveyed from one language to the other. By the time the questions are communicated to Deaf attendees, they’ll have missed the question. 


  • For speeches, consider projecting a bullet point summary of key points on screen. This can be helpful for all attendees to capture the speaker’s main messages.


  • For music, song and dance performances, consider projecting the lyrics on stage so that Deaf attendees can follow along and understand what’s happening.


As far as possible, we try to approach service users after the event to collect feedback on our end, specific to our access service provision.

On your end as the event organiser, you may want to collect feedback from your Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing participants, especially if it is your first time engaging them.

It may be useful to request feedback in a more specific, structured way — for example, through a Google form with questions on different aspects of the event. Requesting feedback about the access services provided can be one of the sections.

If you would like, we can also provide feedback from our end from the perspective of the service provider, so that you can improve accessibility for your future events!

Engage Us

Besides providing sign language and speech-to-text interpreting, we also can offer the following services to ensure your event is accessible from start to end. These include:

  • Accessibility consultancy for branding and event organisation 
  • Accessibility testing and remediation for marketing materials, social media posts, and event website

If you would like to request our services for an upcoming event, or as a long term engagement, reach out to us via our Contact page!


We have some public resources on Deaf Access in the context of Higher Education. Some concepts will be applicable to all settings.

Feel free to check it out and share it with your team!