Hiring the Right American Sign Language Interpreter

The role of a professional sign language interpreter is to facilitate communication between signed & spoken languages. These trained professionals  convert spoken language, such as English, into a sign language most readily understood by a Deaf, Deaf-blind, or hearing individual, such as American Sign Language. Sign language interpreters  are fluent in a variety of sign language varieties, including all the grammatical nuances contained in both fingerspelling and body language.

An American Sign Language Interpreter is effectively used to communicate  between someone who has  hearing loss and someone who does not.. Your first inclination  may be to write or text  to communicate with the person with hearing loss ; however, this option is not always feasible, and in some circumstances, may do more harm than good. What if both the individuals are conversing over a video chat? It is where the American Sign Language Interpreters are required.

If you’re hiring a sign language interpreter, then there are plenty of factors  to consider. here we’ve  shared  practical tips to help you select a qualified NYC-based sign language interpreting agency for your communication needs.

Let’s get started!

#1. Qualification, Qualification Qualification!

There’s no substitute for quality  when seeking out a professional  ASL interpreting agency.  A Bachelor of Arts in American Sign Language or Sign Language Interpreting is the minimum requirement to become a certified interpreter in the United States. The best place to begin looking for a quality sign language interpreting agency for your corporation or organization is  the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) — This terrific resource lists a variety of local agencies specialized in providing sign language interpreters, so you can rest assured of the referred interpreter’s qualifications and experience. .

You can also ask the individual with hearing loss if they have a preferred sign language interpreter or accommodations agency. This helps to ensure the rendered services meet the individual’s communication needs.

#2. Context & Security

Yes, it’s true, a professional business or medical discussion that involves industry-specific jargon or content  — such as abbreviations, internal references, technical terminologies- — can be difficult for an interpreter to understand and convey.. Fortunately, professional ASL interpreters come prepared for everything involved with an assignment by preparing and conducting research before the event. Even more importantly, the interpreting agency should refer an interpreter with experience and background in your business’ industry.  Any agency that does not follow these professional best practices are putting you and your organization at risk. Be sure to partner with a local sign language interpreting agency who has your best interest at heart. Avoid procuring your services from a one-size-fits-all agency such as spoken language agency, which are often unfamiliar with their providers’ qualifications and experience..

Besides context, privacy is another deciding factor. Partnering with an ASL interpreting agency  who understands professional ethics ensures that everything shared or discussed remains strictly confidential before and after your services.

#3. Professional Fees

The hourly rates for a professional ASL interpreter vary between $78 and $90, and it can go up to $110. The rates depend on the experience and qualification and the kind of interpretation assignment. You can directly negotiate with the interpreter or agency you’ve contacted regarding their fees.

Note: interpreter may ask for compensation for mileage, parking, or travel time. Some may have the term of charging 50% of the assignment if the service’s cancellation is made a few hours prior. So, you must clear all the expectations with your interpreter before hiring them.

#4. Reputation Matters

Reputation always has its final say, whether you are finalizing a commercial merger  or putting ink on  a business contract. Evaluating your prospective interpreting agency’s market and community reputation will give you a fair idea of how trustworthy and vested the agency truly is

An American Sign Language Interpreting agency  with a strong market reputation means the agency has  effectively met the communication needs of its Deaf, Deaf-blind, and hard-of-hearing consumers in the past

The best way to check a sign language interpreting agency’s reputation is to  request the agency  to provide a couple of end-consumer- NOT CLIENT- references. End-consumers are the Deaf, Deaf-blind, and hard-of-hearing individuals who actually engage in the interpreting services. These individuals are much more likely to be qualified to assess and honest in reporting about a sign language interpreting agency’s providers and past performance.  Simply asking hearing managers and supervisors within the company or organization will not provide an accurate picture of the interpreting agency’s actual services.

Final Takeaway

Choosing a sign language  interpreting agency is no different from the steps you take in considering any professional partnership; the rules are still the same. You need to trust an agency vested in the Deaf community and  with the right qualifications, knowledge, and reputation to meet  your organization’s communication need s. Don’t simply choose the first listing you find on Google; taking time to form a long-term relationship with a local sign language interpreting agency will save you time, worry, and even money months down the line. Most importantly, it will provide equal access to your business for everyone with hearing loss!

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