American Sign Language

Many deaf people rely on sign language as their primary mode of communication. Just like English, sign language has many forms and dialects, depending on a person’s background, education, geography, and the age at which they became deaf. However, significant differences in the grammatical structure of the two languages often create communication gaps.

Sign Language interpreters bridge the communication barrier between hearing and deaf persons by conveying the purpose, thought, and spirit of the message in a consumers’ preferred mode of communication from oral transliterating to American Sign Language. Additionally, the interpreter maintains strict confidentiality and complies with the NAD-RID Code of Professional Conduct. Interpreters work in many settings: Legal, Business, Training, Meetings, Mental Health, Medical, Interviews, Educational, and Social.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), gives persons who are deaf or hard of hearing the right to accessible communication. In many situations, this calls for qualified interpreters to facilitate interactions between persons with a hearing loss and hearing persons using ASL(American Sign Language). The ADA mandates that public or private entities are responsible for providing this accessibility.

ASL has many ways of combining into a single sign complex meanings that can only be expressed with a sequence of words in English. This is one of the many differences between ASL grammar and English grammar. ASL does not lack grammar; it has a grammar of its own that is different from that of English.

Assignments lasting 2 hours or longer in length require 2 interpreters to be hired and work as a team. There are other instances in which 2 interpreters are needed, but the general industry standard is anything 2 hours or longer. Both interpreters are actively engaged in the process of interpreting. One will work providing communication, and the other will be monitoring the setting for communication issues, providing cues and support for the working interpreter, and monitoring time for a smooth transition. You will see the interpreters switching roles on regular intervals. This also ensures interpreting accuracy and decreases injury from repetitive motion of the interpreter.

Speak directly to the D/HH person using first person address.

Speak naturally – the interpreter may ask you to slow down or repeat information as needed. 

Look at the Deaf person while speaking even though they will be mostly looking at the interpreter. Your eye contact, body language and facial expressions are important for communication.