FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How much notice do you need to schedule an interpreter?
The more advance notice we have, the better we can assess your needs and provide the appropriate interpreters for your specific environment and client situation. Ten (10) business days advance notice is most preferred.
What is the proper etiquette in working with an interpreter and Deaf individual(s)?
Speak directly to the Deaf individual while maintaining eye contact with them and refrain from using phrases like “tell them”
Do not include the interpreter in the conversation unless necessary
Speak in a normal tone or pace – if the interpreter needs you to slow down or repeat a word they are unfamiliar with, s/he will let you know.
If there are any materials that may help the interpreter become more familiar with the content of the meeting/event, please share it ahead of time. Examples include access to presentation slides, notes, names of participants, objectives and/or important highlights that will be covered.
Who is responsible for providing the interpreter?
The legal onus of providing communication access is outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The National Association for the Deaf (NAD) has an easy reference guide that can be used to determine responsibility. Please visit the NAD website for a breakdown of the ADA requirements. An additional resource in determining the nature of effective communication access can be found here.
Why is there a two-hour minimum for onsite assignments?
Considerations that have informed the industry standard two-hour minimum include:
Drive time to/from an assignment
Accounting for billing, scheduling and other necessary paperwork time for both the agency and the interpreter
Arrival at least 15-20 minutes prior to the start of an assignment to ensure setup and preparation
Why do I need to provide two interpreters?
Facilitating communication between two languages requires intensive mental processing. For situations that are content-dense or long, an interpreter becomes mentally fatigued after a certain amount of time and becomes unable to provide accurate interpretation without support. A second interpreter is needed to provide support and breaks to maintain the quality of the interpretation.
What is the difference between a “spoken language company” that offers sign language interpreting and Source which specializes in sign language interpreting?
There is a common misconception that sign language services are similar in scope to “spoken language companies” and services. While there are common themes, in terms of relaying information between two individuals who do not share the same language or culture, federal laws have identified deaf individuals, whether they use sign language as a primary mode of communication or any other form of communication, as a protected class and deserving of laws to protect their rights. As a result, the Americans with Disabilities Act was implemented. In response to that legislative act (ADA), states have responded by deeming the practice of sign language interpreting a learned profession, affecting the public health, safety and welfare of the community, and subject to regulation protecting the public from the practice of interpreting by unqualified persons. Hence, there are many legal implications governing the field of sign language interpreting that a “spoken language company” would find difficult to master; the certification governance, standard practices and the ADA’s full scope and effect on your organization.
What do the different certifications mean?
NIC: National Interpreter Certificate > Current certification hosted by RID that evaluates an interpreter’s historical and text-based knowledge of their work first, once passed, evaluates the interpreters ethical performance by a series of questions that the candidate must answer and explain how it aligns with the tenets, and finally, on their interpreting skills by interpreting various source materials with varying level of needs and settings.
NAD: National Association of the Deaf Certification > The National Association of the Deaf certification is one that has been retired for a number of years. This certification was hosted and evaluated by the organization NAD but has since transitioned the responsibility of evaluating interpreters to the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID). Note: The NAD, and CI/CT are typically still accepted as valid certifications even though the testing system itself is no longer available.
CI/CT: Certificate of Interpretation / Certificate of Transliteration > A retired certification that evaluated both skills (interpreting and transliteration) separately. Note: The NAD, and CI/CT are typically still accepted as valid certifications even though the testing system itself is no longer available.
EIPA: Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment > A certification system that evaluates the interpreting skills of interpreters who intend to work in elementary and secondary school settings.
BEI: Board for Evaluation of Interpreters > The primary goal of the BEI certification program is to ensure that prospective interpreters are proficient in their ability to meaningfully and accurately comprehend, produce, and transform ASL to and from English in the state of Texas. However, recently several other states have adopted the BEI certification approach to their state requirements.
Where do I find more information on our legal responsibilities to individuals with disabilities?
Please visit the following helpful ADA and general information resource links below. Although our site focuses primarily on the deaf and hard of hearing population, you will find the ADA links to be all inclusive of all disability groups.
GENERAL NATIONAL RESOURCES:
LOCAL ADVOCACY ORGANIZATIONS:
Have more questions? Feel free to reach out!
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