What is the role of an interpreter?
A sign language interpreter is a trained professional who facilitates communication and conveys all auditory and signed information so that both hearing and deaf individuals may fully interact. The interpreter is bound by Professional Code of Conduct which includes keeping all information interpreted strictly confidential. Interpreters must also maintain the integrity of the message, always conveying the content and spirit of the speaker. The interpreter's mission is to facilitate communication without adding or deleting any information at any time.
What is the difference between a sign language user and a sign language interpreter?
Simply knowing American Sign Language (ASL) and being a sign language user is not sufficient enough to be a qualified sign language interpreter. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that a qualified interpreter must be able to "interpret effectively, accurately and impartially both receptively and expressively, using any necessary specialized vocabulary." It is important to note that an interpreter may be considered qualified to interpret for one individual but not qualified for another individual due to language differences, level of comprehension and modes of communication.
How far in advance do I need to request for interpreter services?
As much advance notice as possible to request a sign language interpreter is needed. However, a minimum of 72-48 hours is needed for non-emergency or routine interpreting assignments. Please note that emergency or last minute interpreting assignment request that are made less than 24 hours in advance are billed at a premium hourly rate.
Are last minute or emergency interpreter services available?
Yes, requests less than 24 hours in advance or in emergency settings are available .
Please call 225/802-5511 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I request for interpreter services?
1. Call 225/802-5511
2. E-Mail -
3. Fax - 866-360-7242
Where can I obtain information about my legal obligations under ADA?
There is an online resource that has been compiled by the US Department of Justice. You can access a wealth of ADA information by visiting which is referred to as the "ADA Home Page".
Why are there sometimes two (2) interpreters required for some assignments?
The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) explains through their online standard practice papers (www.rid.org), that a team of two interpreters is utilized in situations due to factors such as, "length and/or complexity of the assignment, unique needs of the person(s) being served, physical and/or emotional dynamics of the setting, and for avoidance of repetitive motion injury (RMI)s for the interpreters".
Additionally, a hearing interpreter may sometimes team with an interpreter who is Deaf which is referred to as a certified deaf interpreter (CDI).
Other factors that may necessitate additional interpreters include situations such as the size or configuration of the participants or the setting, varied communication preference(s) of individuals utilizing interpreting services, need for tactile, oral or close visual range interpreting services, simultaneous needs for interpreters by multiple individuals, etc.
What does it mean to provide a "qualified" interpreter?
ADA defines a "qualified interpreter" as an interpreter who is able to effectively, accurately and impartially both receptively and expressively, using any necessary specialized vocabulary".
ADA goes on to give further guidance concerning effective communication through the use of auxillary aids including sign language interpreters,
" A public accommodation should consult with individuals with disabilities whenever possible to determine what type of auxiliary aid is needed to ensure effective communication, but the ultimate decision as to what measures to take rests with the public accommodation, provided that the method chosen results in effective communication. In order to be effective, auxiliary aids and services must be provided in accessible formats, in a timely manner, and in such a way as to protect the privacy and independence of the individual with a disability.
A public accommodation shall not require an individual with a disability to bring another individual to interpret for him or her.
A public accommodation shall not rely on an adult accompanying an individual with a disability to interpret or facilitate communication..."
Do sign language interpreters follow a Code of Ethics or maintain confidentaility?
Yes -- Certified sign language interpreters adhere to a Code of Professional Conduct (CPC) through the Registery of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID). Below is a summary of the CPC. More detailed information can be obtained online through www.rid.org.
RID, along with the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), co-authored the ethical code of conduct for interpreters. Both organizations uphold high standards of professionalism and ethical conduct for interpreters. At the core of this code of conduct are the seven tenets, which are followed by guiding principles and illustrations.
The tenets are to be viewed holistically and as a guide to complete professional behavior. When in doubt, one should refer to the explicit language of the tenet.
1. Interpreters adhere to standards of confidential communication.
2. Interpreters possess the professional skills and knowledge required for the specific interpreting situation.
3. Interpreters conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to the specific interpreting situation.
4. Interpreters demonstrate respect for consumers.
5. Interpreters demonstrate respect for colleagues, interns, and students of the profession.
6. Interpreters maintain ethical business practices.
7. Interpreters engage in professional development
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