Frequently Asked Questions and Answers



Why do I need to hire an Interpreter?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 mandates that a comprehensive variety of public and private services, as well as employers, must be accessible to all people, regardless of disability. When dealing with people who are Deaf, Deaf-blind, or hard of hearing, this means that communication must be accessible. In many cases, the best way to ensure this is to have an interpreter.
When do I need to use an interpreter?
An interpreter may be used any time communication is occurring between people who do not share the same language. Deaf, Deaf-blind, and hard of hearing people may not have access to information if it is presented in English, either verbally or in writing. Any time communication needs to happen, having an interpreter ensures information is accessible to both parties.
Who is required to pay for an interpreter?
The ADA states that all public and private agencies that provide services to the general public, and all employers with 15 or more employees, must be accessible. If your agency, service, or business is accessible to people without disabilities, it must be accessible to people with disabilities. Additionally, companies with 15 or more employees must follow fair hiring and employment practices when considering candidates with disabilities (however, the ADA is superseded in Washington State by RCW, which covers employers with 8 or more employees, therefore, it is the agency, service, or business which is responsible for payment for interpreting services).
Isn't it expensive to provide interpreting services?
Interpreting services should be budgeted as part of your annual planning for accessibility services. It is true that, on a per-encounter basis, you may pay more for interpreting services than you generate in revenue for your company; however, if you consider the cost over the course of a year as an overhead cost of doing business, providing accessible services is quite reasonable.
Will I have to pay a minimum charge?
You will usually be asked to pay a two-hour minimum charge for interpreting services. Because interpreters come to you, on your schedule, their fees have to take into account the amount of time spent traveling between jobs, wait time for the next assignment to start, and down time when no work is available. Additionally, mileage and/or travel time is sometimes charged, depending on how far the interpreter has to travel to your assignment.
What if I have to cancel my request?
When you schedule an interpreter, you are purchasing his/her time. If you have to cancel your request, it may or may not be possible to sell that time to another customer. Please be sure to ask about our cancellation policy, when requesting an interpreter.
How much advance notice do I need to give you to get an interpreter?
There's never too much advance notice! Interpreters are a scarce resource, and often the demand exceeds the supply. Because interpreters come to you, on your schedule, we must juggle many customers' needs to try to accommodate as many requests as possible. The farther in advance you can plan appointments, trainings, or meetings where you will be using an interpreter, the better.
What does it take to become an interpreter?
Interpreting is a complex task requiring near-native language skills in at least two languages, as well as a deep knowledge of two cultures. A skilled interpreter provides the full content of an interaction between two or more people who do not share the same language, which requires exposure to and understanding of the information that is being transmitted, as well as interpreting skills. Most interpreters have studied American Sign Language for two to five years, plus one to three years of interpreter training. In order to maintain their credentials, Nationally Certified Interpreters are required to obtain CEUs, on an ongoing basis.    
Why do I have to have two interpreters for my assignment?
Interpreting is a very taxing activity, both mentally and physically. Research has shown that an interpreter's ability to mentally process and accurately interpret the message drastically diminishes after approximately 20 minutes of interpreting. The interpreter is usually unaware that his or her accuracy has decreased, so misinformation is being unwittingly transmitted. Additionally, the rate of repetitive motion injuries among sign language interpreters is very high (some studies have shown over 60% of interpreters suffering some injuries that require medical treatment). When an assignment is over 1-2 hours, two interpreters will be scheduled, in order to relieve each other approximately every 20 minutes in order to ensure the message is interpreted accurately. The Interpreting Associates LLC scheduler will assist you in determining the appropriate number of interpreters needed for an assignment.