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Why should my business or organization provide interpreting services?
Providing a sign language interpreter allows clear and concise communication to occur between Deaf or Hard of Hearing individuals and Hearing individuals. Not only does a Sign Language Interpreter save time, but it also reduces confusion, liability, and frustration for all parties involved. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires organizations that receive federal funding to provide sign language interpreters as needed in order to provide equal communications access. Sign language interpreting is an effective means of providing communications access to your business or organization.

How do I go about choosing an interpreter?
Many factors affect people's communication style and method. Since no two people are alike, you should ask the deaf consumer which type of interpreter best suits his or her needs.

How am I charged for interpreting services?
Interpreting services are usually billed on an hourly basis with a two-hour minimum. Because interpreting is physically and mentally demanding, assignments typically require a team of interpreters who alternate during the job. Hourly rates vary based on factors such as complexity, type of assignment, and/or how much advance notice you provide the agency.

Are there different types of sign language?
Basically, every country has its own sign language. American Sign Language (ASL) is the language of culturally Deaf people in the United States. Regional variations exist in ASL, much like spoken accents. Several other methods of sign language have been developed over the years, which follow a more English word order. Some of these sign methods are (or have been) called Manually Coded English (MCE), Pidgin Signed English (PSE), and Signed Exact English (SEE).

I'm considering hiring a deaf employee. What do I need to consider?
Deaf people are a cultural and linguistic minority. As with any diverse organization, being able to take advantage of multi-cultural strengths will only make your organization stronger. Ask the potential employee what method of communication he or she prefers. Remember that common sense gestures and body language are often more effective than assuming the person can read your lips. In the absence of an interpreter (and until you learn some sign language), writing notes back and forth is often effective for everyday messages. BIS offers training for employers and co-workers of deaf employees.

What are the typical circumstances in which I should consider an interpreter?
Interpreters are used on a daily basis for official meetings, social events, personal phone calls and the like. An interpreter should be used any time you want to convey information accurately and efficiently. The interpreter allows everyone to participate equally by using his or her native language.

How has technology changed sign language interpreting?
Computers and improved low-cost manufacturing techniques allow interpreting services to be provided across any distance by utilizing video conferencing software and hardware.

Additional questions or comments?