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frequently asked questions

How do I hire an interpreter? Click on “Request an Interpreter or SSP” link on the front page or under the “Contact Us” tab. Fill out the form and click submit. We will contact the requesting personnel when a suitable qualified and certified interpreter has been confirmed. You may also email us at

What is a Support Service Provider (SSP)? Support Service Providers are the conduit s to the world for the Deaf -Blind. These professionals provide critical environmental information to the Deaf -Blind allowing full participation needed to access communication in any environment. The provision of such services allow these citizens to conduct and address daily life; attend medical appointments, enjoy entertainment, seek employment, access education, recreation and social activities to improve the overall quality of life.

Am I required to hire an Interpreter? One extremely important area covered by the ADA is the medical field, where sign language interpreting services are often required. Hospitals, for instance, must provide an appropriate means of communication to any patients, family members or hospital visitors who may be hearing impaired. This is applicable in all hospital areas, from the emergency room to the gift shop. In some cases, the ADA specifies that an effective form of communication may consist simply of a written note, but if a conversation is more complicated — such as explaining a patient’s symptoms or a medical procedure — a qualified ASL interpreter may be necessary.

The ADA extends beyond medical settings and also covers areas like the legal, education, law enforcement and employment systems. The key phrase used by the ADA when it comes to deaf and hard of hearing individuals is “effective communication.” Whatever is necessary to ensure effective communication is required, by law, to be done. Although the details of what “effective communication” entails may be hazy in some cases, there’s no doubt that ultimately sign language interpreting is the most straightforward way for institutions to fulfill their obligations under the ADA

Can’t they just read my lips? Lip reading is an amazingly ineffective way of communicating.  It’s estimated that lipreaders can understand only 30% of the conversation taking place.  That’s like missing two of every three words being spoken!  In situations where the Deaf person is familiar with the speaker or the conversation is easily predictable (such as at a checkout stand) comprehension goes up to 60%, but that’s still almost every other word missing from the exchange.

Is providing pen and paper enough? It is a common belief that American Sign Language (ASL) has the same grammatical structure and words as English. It is not “English on the hands”, but rather its own language with syntax and grammar drastically different from English. When you write notes with a Deaf person, you are still communicating in a language that may be their second language and thus one they may not be skilled at using.

Why do I have to pay for two interpreters (a team)? Team interpretation is not simply defined as two interpreters sharing an assignment. Interpreters work in conjunction with one another as support or “backup” when providing services to a consumer. While some interpretation settings are less technical in nature than others, team interpreters rely on each other to provide missed information, technical vocabulary, assistance in voice interpretation, as well as physical relief. In a team situation, both interpreters are “on” at all times, not just the interpreter who is moving his/her hands. NOTE: The quality of interpretation may begin to suffer after 45 minutes of constant interpretation. Substantial breaks must be given to interpreters every 30-40 minutes in order to preserve the service level. After 1 hour of continuous work, the brain becomes fatigued and the quality of the interpretation suffers; errors and omissions rise. For this reason, a team of interpreters are used. A secondary reason for hiring a second interpreter is to reduce the occurrence of Repetitive Motion Injuries in interpreters.paragraphs.

Can a deaf person drive? Deaf people drive cars all the time.  In fact, some studies have shown that Deaf people are actually better drivers than Hearing people due to the fact that Deaf people have enhanced peripheral vision.  If you think about it, nothing about driving really requires you to be able to hear.  After all, there’s a reason emergency vehicle have both sirens and lights.

Is hiring an interpreter a tax deduction for me? Yes. There are some tax benefits for businesses that hire interpreters. Please consult your tax professional for details.

Do I have to pay for the interpreter? The ADA is clear in that schools, institutions, businesses, and employers are responsible for arranging and paying for interpreters. Conversely, the deaf individual is not responsible for arranging or paying for this service.

What websites can I use for resources to help me better understand the industry?

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