Hiring an Interpeter

The following Guidelines are intended to serve as a basis for negotiations between freelance interpreters and persons or entities contracting for interpreting services.

When you inquire about interpreting services, an interpreter will likely ask for these kinds of details:
•Description or type of event
•Date of assignment
•Start and end time
•Location and instructions for getting on site, parking, etc.
•Contact person who will be on site
•Names of participants
•Nature of the assignment – setting, goals, number of consumers (Deaf and hearing), etc.
•Language preference of the Deaf consumer, if known
•Contact person for billing purposes

Fees negotiated with interpreters in private practice may be based on various factors including:
•training and years of experience in this field
•skill level and reputation
•educational background
•whether the interpretation will be recorded for future use and broadcast
•trilingual skills

Team Interpreting

Some situations require more than one interpreter. Some assignments require two hearing interpreters while other assignments require one hearing and one Deaf interpreter.

The factors that indicate the need for a team may include:
•the number of participants
•the length of the assignment
•the complexity of the information being discussed
•the communication needs of the Deaf consumer

Deaf Interpreters

Not all Deaf consumers communicate in American Sign Language or English-like signing. Some Deaf consumers are from other countries and are more familiar with a foreign sign language than with ASL. Others, for a variety of reasons, may communicate in an idiosyncratic system of gestures and “home signs.”

In these situations, the skills of professionally trained hearing interpreters may not be sufficient to ensure accurate communication. If this is the case, a team of hearing and Deaf interpreter(s) is necessary.

The hearing interpreter works between English and ASL, and the Deaf interpreter works between ASL and the communication system of the Deaf consumer.

Ultimately, it’s best to ask the Deaf consumers for their preference about individual interpreters. They will likely recommend particular interpreters they’ve found can meet their needs most effectively. Once an interpreter or team has been hired, follow up with the Deaf consumers to let them know the names of the interpreters they can expect to see at your event. Afterwards, check in to see whether the consumers were satisfied and would like to see those same interpreters again for the next meeting or event.

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