The Benefits of Hiring a Sign Language Interpreter

Why Hire an Interpreter

Businesses, Agencies & Services

The ADA (American with Disabilities Act) states that all public and private agencies providing services to the public, and all employers with 15 or more employees must be accessible. If your agency, business, or service is accessible to people without disabilities, it must also be accessible to people with disabilities. When dealing with people who are Deaf, Deaf-blind or hard of hearing, this means that communication must be accessible. In most cases, this means providing Sign Language interpreting services. It is the responsibility of the agency, business or service to provide and pay for this service. The customer is not responsible to "bring along a family member to interpret" for them.

An interpreter may be used any time communication is taking place between two or more people, who do not share the same language. Simple communications, such as a deaf customer and a store clerk, can be done through gestures or written communication. However, anytime communication involves important information or content, that communication must be accessible to both parties. This is where a Sign Language Interpreter needs to be present to ensure adequate communication is taking place.

The Medical Profession

Effective communication is particularly critical in health care settings where miscommunication may lead to misdiagnosis and improper or delayed medical treatment.

The ADA of 1990 and Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities affecting one major life activity, including people who are deaf. The federal laws state health care facilities must provide deaf patients with a means of communicating effectively with providers. This also includes deaf family members involved with the patients' care.

The use of a child or other family member to interpret can pose possible legal liabilities. Children or others may not understand medical terminology thus causing inaccurate communication between patients and caregivers. Family members may try to protect the patient by hiding the seriousness of their condition. Hospitals and medical providers should have arrangements in place to ensure that qualified interpreters are readily available.

ADA Non-Compliance: Can You Afford It?

Is your organization compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990? Most organizations are not,as they feel there is not an imminent need or do not have the funding. In the past, this has been an unfunded federal requirement with very little financial support. The truth of the matter is that over the past decade there have been several major lawsuits filed due to discrimination on the basis of not complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. As a result, private citizen watchdog groups and federal and state organizations have emerged and are looking for noncompliance.