Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Interpreting?
Where Do Professional Interpreters Work?
How Much Notice Is Required To Schedule an Interpreter?
Why is there a cancellation charge even when the interpreter did not have to come to the job site?
Why are two interpreters sometimes required for one deaf person?
Who pays for the interpreter’s travel time to and from the site?
What about the Americans With Disabilities Act?
WHAT IS INTERPRETING?
Interpreting, simply stated, is receiving a message in one language and delivering it in another. Not as simple as it sounds, interpreting is a complex process that requires a high degree of linguistic, cognitive and technical skills.
Professional sign language interpreters develop interpreting skills through extensive training and practice over a long period of time.
Sign language interpreting is a highly specialized field. The professional sign language interpreter adjusts to a broad range of deaf consumer preferences and needs. Some deaf individuals use American Sign Language, a natural language with its own grammar and structure that is distinct from English. Others prefer a form of signing that more closely follows the grammar and structure of spoken English.
The professional interpreter is expected to work comfortably along this wide spectrum. Sometimes it is necessary to have two or more interpreters working simultaneously in order to satisfy the preferences and needs of a varied audience. On occasion, one of the interpreters may be a deaf individual or a person fluent in a language other than English or American Sign Language. Interpreters are aware of and sensitive to ethnic/cultural and linguistic concerns.
WHERE DO PROFESSIONAL INTERPRETERS WORK?
Interpreters work in a variety of settings and situations. Many interpreters work in private practice; they are self-employed. Others interpreters are salaried staff of an agency, institution, or corporation. Still others interpret in educational settings from pre-school to graduate school and any level in between. Interpreters work in settings as intimate as a private therapy session or as public as a televised address at a national political convention. The interpreter must be a versatile, flexible, skilled professional.
HOW MUCH NOTICE IS REQUIRED TO SCHEDULE AN INTERPRETER?
SRI Interpreting sets no absolute minimum on the amount of time required to request an interpreter. There is a limit based on the number of interpreters available at any given time, the amount of time required to contact the interpreter and the amount of time the interpreter needs to travel to the job site. In exceptional circumstances, interpreters have been provided with less than 30 minutes notice, however we appreciate as much notice as possible.
WHY IS THERE A CANCELLATION CHARGE EVEN WHEN THE INTERPRETER DID NOT HAVE TO COME TO THE JOB SITE?
Interpreting is a relatively rare skill in most areas. SRI Interpreting honors a reasonable cancellation policy with its interpreters and must pass that charge along to its customers. This policy is well within the guidelines published by RID in Business Practices: Billing Considerations.
WHY ARE TWO INTERPRETERS SOMETIMES REQUIRED FOR ONE DEAF PERSON?
The number of interpreters required for any given assignment is determined by the requirement for effective communication and the physical/mental limitations of the interpreter. Interpreting is hard work! Even interpreting for a single individual can exhaust the interpreter after only a short amount of time. The mental experience has been likened to speaking English while simultaneously writing French. Furthermore, prolonged intensive sessions over a career can result in debilitating repetitive stress injuries.
Although all situations are unique, SRI Interpreting generally observes assignments of over 60 minutes per session require a team assignment. For more information, see “Team Interpreting,” published by RID.
WHO PAYS FOR THE INTERPRETER’S TRAVEL TIME TO AND FROM THE SITE?
Travel time to each area is billed to the customer at the same rate as interpreting time without regard to mileage. When special requests require us to bring an interpreter in from out of the area, transportation expenses, such as airfare, lodging, per diem, etc., are billed to the customer.