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Overcome the Language Barrier with American Sign Language Translation Services

American Sign Language

Frequently Asked Questions

What is American Sign Language (ASL)?

American Sign Language is a manual (hand) language with its own syntax and grammar, used in the United States mostly by the deaf or for communication with the deaf, in which gestures made with the hands symbolize words, alphabetical letters, or ideas, permitting rapid communication in the absence of speech.

What is a Sign Language Interpreter?

An interpreter must accurately convey messages between two different languages. A sign language interpreter will work to ensure effective communication between individuals with who use sign language and those who don’t.

Am I legally required to hire an interpreter?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that any place of business (regardless of profit or non-profit status) cannot discriminate against any individual by denying them unequal access to the services or events.

Are your American Sign Language interpreters qualified?

All of our Sign Language interpreters have attained national certification through The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID). In order to achieve national certification, American Sign Language interpreters have to meet educational requirements, pass testing of their knowledge of interpreting (linguistics, ethics, decision making, etc.), as well as pass an interpreting performance exam. Once certified, an American Sign Language interpreter must renew his or her certification every 5 years. One of the renewal requirements is to have at least 80 hours of documented continuing education in every renewal period. By choosing to work with certified interpreters, you can be assured that your interpreter meets industry-standard requirements.

Why are two interpreters sometimes required for one Deaf person?

The number of interpreters required for any given assignment is determined by the requirement for effective communication and the physical/mental limitations of the interpreter. Interpreting is hard work! Even interpreting for a single individual can exhaust the interpreter after only a short amount of time. The mental experience has been likened to speaking English while simultaneously writing French. Furthermore, prolonged intensive sessions over a career can result in debilitating repetitive stress injuries.

Although all situations are unique, Deaf Hands Connections generally observes assignments of over 60 minutes per session require a team assignment.

Am I legally required to hire an interpreter?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 requires public and private services and employers to be accessible to all people, regardless of disability. When dealing with people who are Deaf, Deaf- blind, or Hard of Hearing, this means that communication must be accessible. In many cases, the best way to ensure this is to have an interpreter. American Disability Act: Title III

Who is required to pay for an interpreter?

The ADA specifies that all public and private agencies that provide services to the general public and all employers with 15 or more employees must be accessible. Accessibility covers everything from wheelchair access to effective communication. Small businesses can get tax credits for the expense of an interpreter. Although a sign language interpreter is an extra expense, the business cannot charge this cost to the person who needs the interpreter.

How does VRI work?

Rather than having an interpreter in person at your appointment, your interpreting would be done through a video connection in which an interpreter at another location interacts with both the deaf and hearing participants through a video screen and camera. It is just like having the remote interpreter in the room with you.

Your video screen can be a computer with a camera or any other video conferencing equipment you have. Most people use a laptop computer.

What equipment do I need?

You will need a computer and high-speed internet connection. In order to have a smooth and clear video connection, it is recommended that you have at least a 1MB upload/download speed. To check your connection speed, click here.

You will also need a webcam for our interpreter to see you. Most new laptops have webcams integrated, but external webcams often work better for VRI because they are more powerful. You may also need external speakers and a microphone based on the arrangement of your meeting/event.

We typically assess your equipment needs during test sessions. If you’re missing any necessary equipment, we can let you know.