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BIS is one of the few agencies that have a large number of on-site staff sign language interpreters. We are proud to be represented by more than 500 interpreters across the United States, including Certified Deaf Interpreters (CDI), Legal-certified Interpreters, and other dedicated specialists. In addition, we have a dedicated Medical Project Manager on staff to serve your medical or hospital interpreting needs. BIS is also represented in every level of United States government, through specialized Government Project Managers. Our flexibility and adaptability helps us to make sure your unique communication needs are always met. Although BIS is headquartered in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area, our interpreters are available for your requests nationwide. 

Our extensive live screening process and ongoing focus on professional development help ensure that we provide you with a qualified interpreter who is bound to a Code of Professional Conduct. For more on our quality assurance program, click here.


Do you know the difference?

  • Interpreting: The process of transmitting spoken English into American Sign Language and/or gestures for communication between Deaf and hearing people.

  • Transliterating: The process of transmitting spoken English into any one of several English-oriented varieties of manual communications between Deaf and hearing people.

Languages and Communication Methods

American Sign Language (ASL) is comparable in complexity and expressiveness to spoken languages. It is not a form of English. It has its own distinct grammatical structure, which must be mastered in the same way as the grammar of any other language. ASL differs from spoken language in that it is visual rather than auditory and is composed of precise hand-shapes and movements.

Certified Deaf Interpretation (CDI) or Deaf Interpretation is explained by the National Consortium of Interpreter Education Center (NCIEC) as, "a specialist who provides interpreting, translation, and transliteration services in American Sign Language and other visual and tactual communication forms used by individuals who are Deaf, hard-of-hearing, and Deaf-Blind". BIS is proud to utilize this mode as a "bridge of linguistic and cultural understanding" to meet a range of communication needs.

Pidgin Signed English (PSE) is a term that refers to a contact language or blended form of Signed English and ASL. Often used when d/Deaf people and hearing people attempt to communicate.


Manually Coded English (MCE) utilizes invented manual codes to represent the aural/oral language of English, accompanied by spoken or inaudible mouthed English. MCE includes the Signed Exact English (SEE) system, a communication method that strives to be an exact representation of English grammar and vocabulary.


Tactile or Deaf-Blind Interpretation is a technique where the client places her/his hands over the hands of the interpreter, in order to read signs through touch and movement. Tactile signing can be taxing for interpreters, and may require more frequent interpreter switches or breaks. The interpreter must supply both auditory and visual information to the client. It is important to determine a seating arrangement that is comfortable to both the client and the interpreter. Tactile signing is used by clients who have very limited vision and by those who are blind.


The Cued Speech system is a sound-based visual communication system that, in English, uses eight handshapes in four different locations ("cues") in combination with the natural mouth movements of speech, to make all the sounds of spoken language look different.


Oral transliteration is used to facilitate spoken communication between individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and use speech and speechreading as their primary mode of communication, and other persons. These speechreaders may or may not also know or use manual communication or sign language. Oral transliteration, however, does not normally include any use of sign language. Oral transliterators may also "voice"; for speakers who use no voice, or whose voices are difficult for listeners to understand, but depend on the consumer to advise as to their preference.

Reach our experts today for more information on sign language interpreting and more!