Frequently Asked Questions
What is the role of an interpreter?
Certified interpreters are bound to comply with the RID Code of Ethics. The Code of Ethics explains the role of the interpreter, what they should do and what they should not do, so it is helpful that you become familiar with what professional ethics entail in order to utilize your interpreter effectively. Please refer to the RID website to read the Code of Ethics at http://www.rid.org/coe.html
How do I request an interpreter?
First, sign up as a new customer, then you can use our online request portal to send us your interpreting request. No matter what your preferred method, we are available to help you find an interpreter to meet your needs. Feel free to contact us if you have questions on how to create a log-in account.
Who pays for the interpreting services?
While we cannot provide legal advice, we can say that generally, the hospital, school system, clinic, employer, private physician, therapist or other service provider is responsible for obtaining and paying for the interpreter. Please refer to the ADA home page for results of recent mediation regarding accommodations and who is responsible to provide and pay for interpreters at http://www.ada.gov/mediate.htm.
How do I know my interpreter is qualified?
First, ask about their credentials and years of experience. Both the National Association of the Deaf (www.nad.org) and the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (www.rid.org) are national organizations that credential professional interpreters. While NAD and RID have now combined their efforts to offer a new certification called the NIC, many professional interpreters still carry separate credentials from these organizations. See “What type of interpreter credentials should I look for?” for a list of certifications. Next, listen to the feedback of those who the interpreter is serving in your organization. If you are getting negative feedback, then it’s important to investigate those concerns and let the interpreter or referral service know your concerns. Any reputable organization or individual practitioner will want to address your concerns right away and ensure that everyone is well serviced. Finally, take steps to ensure a smooth assignment but conveying all of the pertinent information about the assignment content, setting, and people involved to the interpreter or referral service when making the initial request or prior to the assignment.
Are hospitals required to provide interpreters for Deaf or hard of hearing patients, family members or visitors?
The simple answer is yes. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) does state that hospitals, emergency rooms, outpatient centers, clinics and other healthcare settings must provide effective means of communication for patients, their family members, and visitors who are Deaf or hard of hearing. For more details, please refer to the US Department of Justice’s ADA Business Brief at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/hospcombr.htm.
What are some effective means of communication?
There are a variety of ways in which Deaf and hard of hearing individuals prefer to communicate. Many use American Sign Language (ASL) or Pigeon Signed English (PSE). Others use captioning or speech reading. Still others use signed English, Cued Speech or assisted listening devices (ALD’s) such as FM loops. For this reason, it is critical that you assess the needs of the individual(s) for whom you are making accommodations. This will ensure that you correctly match the accommodation with the needs of the Deaf or hard of hearing person, avoid costly mistakes and unnecessary delays. In brief encounters where critical information does not need to be conveyed, and no interpreter is available, then written notes can be used if both parties are willing. This is in no way considered optimal or effective communications for anything other than brief exchanges, such as setting up an appointment.
How can I access the communication needs of those I am trying to accommodate?
Simply ask them. Most individuals are more than happy to explain exactly what types of accommodations best fit their needs so refer to them as your first resource. It’s easier than ever, in our technologically advanced society, to reach out and contact a Deaf or hard of hearing person via email, fax, video relay, text relay and pager. The person or persons you are working with can tell you which methods they prefer you use to reach them. It’s great to familiarize yourself with the local text relay service number if that person uses a TTY or text telephone. Some people use a videophone, d-link or web cam or their computer to make phone calls through a video relay service. Still others prefer a text messaging pager or just regular email to communicate. Often when you call a person through a relay system, whether it’s text or through a video relay interpreter, Deaf and hard of hearing users have an answering machine-type device for you to leave a message for them much like leaving a voicemail message for a hearing person. These are but a few options available to you and the person you are trying to communicate with. Whether in their home or work environment, many Deaf and hard of hearing people use special signaling devices much like those that hearing people depend on such as doorbells and phone ringers. For example, instead of an auditory doorbell, many people use a special doorbell that causes a light to flash alerting the person that someone is at the door. The same is true for the phone ringing, a dog barking or a baby crying. There are special devices that may cause a light to flash or send a signal to a device the person carries with them so that they are aware of these environmental noises. Whatever the method, don’t be afraid to ask questions about how to reach that person and let them know how they can best reach you so that you can work together to get the most out of using an interpreter or transcriber.
What type of interpreter credentials should I look for?
NIC- National Interpreter Certification (NAD-RID)
CDI- Certified Deaf Interpreter (RID)
CI- Certificate of Interpretation (RID)
CT- Certificate of Transliteration (RID)
CSC- Comprehensive Skills Certification (RID)
NAD Levels III, IV and V (NAD)
Can businesses offset the costs for providing accommodations?
Yes, they can! There is a great way to recoup the costs for providing interpreters and transcribers. After all, why should your organization be penalized for doing the right thing? They shouldn’t be and there is a good chance that the IRS has the solution. Many businesses may not be aware of this but the IRS has methods to help you and encourage you to provide access to your service for people with disabilities. While it can seem like a rather unexpected expense to some organizations initially, there is a great deal of support already in place that could help you take advantage of special incentives to provide these important and necessary accommodations. You may already be eligible for thousands of dollars in tax credits and deductions that businesses can use every year to defray the cost for providing interpreters, transcribers, and other crucial accommodations. It’s important that you consult with your tax advisor each year regarding ADA compliance improvements and reasonable accommodations that you have provided to make sure you are not missing out on this fantastic opportunity. The federal government understands the importance of providing equal access to your organization for everyone. Like you, we understand the importance of complying with the ADA . With thousands of dollars in savings at stake, this is worth investigating for your company. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers two ways for businesses to offset the costs incurred when hiring interpreters or providing other ADA improvements. Small businesses can take advantage of a special credit every year offered by the IRS. All businesses can take advantage of a special deduction, as well. While we are not professional tax experts and cannot provide tax or financial advice, we urge businesses to contact the IRS and their own accountant to explore these means of offsetting costs. Please take advantage of an on-line course offered by the Department of Justice and the ADA to learn more about reaching out to customers who have disabilities at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/reachingout/intro1.htm
What makes DAVO unique?
It’s our synergy that makes us different. There are a very few interpreter services are run by working interpreters. There are even a few organizations run by Deaf business people. Still, most organizations are run by people who aren’t even fluent in sign language, have never had to use an interpreter and know little about the processes of interpreting or transcription, much less the issues or concerns of Deaf and hard of hearing individuals. This is just one area that sets us apart from the fray. Our group was founded by and is run by a highly qualified, certified interpreter and a highly experienced Deaf businesswoman. We have achieved a synergy of these two distinct worlds and brought this new, powerful resource to you.
What are the corporate values of DAVO?
We believe that you deserve highly skilled practitioners at a competitive rate. We will provide that to you and treat you with fairness, honesty and respect. After years of watching agencies and referral services maximize profits with no regard for quality of service, we have decided we must become the change. After years of watching unskilled practitioners accept assignments that they should not, we have been driven to act. After years of watching administrators charge exorbitant rates while they undervalued their practitioners, we see a new way. We know there is a better way. We know that profit cannot dictate service. We will accept nothing less than excellence from ourselves, our Group, and for you.
Disclosure: We are an interpreting and transcribing service provider. We are not qualified or licensed accountants, attorneys, health professionals or therapists. We are not intending to nor are we qualified to advise or provide any counsel regarding legal rights, taxes or accessibility issues. These FAQ’s in no way represent legal, financial, civil rights, or tax advice and are merely a general guide provided for informational purposes only.