When is an Interpreter required?
According to the ADA, “People who have vision, hearing, or speech disabilities (“communication disabilities”) use different ways to communicate. For example, people who are blind may give and receive information audibly rather than in writing and people who are deaf may give and receive information through writing or sign language rather than through speech.
The ADA requires that title II entities (State and local governments) and title III entities (businesses and nonprofit organizations that serve the public) communicate effectively with people who have communication disabilities. The goal is to ensure that communication with people with these disabilities is equally effective as communication with people without disabilities.
For people who are deaf, have hearing loss, or are deaf-blind, this includes providing a qualified notetaker; a qualified sign language interpreter, oral interpreter, cued-speech interpreter, or tactile interpreter; real-time captioning; written materials; or a printed script of a stock speech (such as given on a museum or historic house tour). A “qualified” interpreter means someone who is able to interpret effectively, accurately, and impartially, both receptively (i.e., understanding what the person with the disability is saying) and expressively (i.e., having the skill needed to convey information back to that person) using any necessary specialized vocabulary.”
What are Certified Deaf Interpreters?
Certified Deaf Interpreters are “deaf or hard of hearing and have demonstrated knowledge and understanding of interpreting, deafness, the Deaf community, and Deaf culture. Holders have specialized training and/or experience in the use of gesture, mime, props, drawings and other tools to enhance communication. Holders possess native or near-native fluency in American Sign Language and are recommended for a broad range of assignments where an interpreter who is deaf or hard-of-hearing would be beneficial.” (from Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf)
What about confidentiality?
Confidentiality is always understood and Interpreters will always refrain from sharing any information regarding an assignment or what was communicated during that assignment.
Can’t I just write back and forth?
While this may be an option for some deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals, it does not always completely communicate the message. To ensure the message and context are completely communicated, if is necessary to use American Sign Language (the first language of many culturally deaf individuals).
Are there tax credits available for the associated fees?
Yes! To assist businesses with complying with the ADA, Section 44 of the IRS Code allows a tax credit for small businesses and Section 190 of the IRS Code allows a tax deduction for all businesses.
The tax credit is available to businesses that have total revenues of $1,000,000 or less in the previous tax year or 30 or fewer full-time employees. This credit can cover 50% of the eligible access expenditures in a year up to $10,250 (maximum credit of $5000). The tax credit can be used to offset the cost of undertaking barrier removal and alterations to improve accessibility; providing accessible formats such as Braille, large print and audio tape; making available a sign language interpreter or a reader for customers or employees, and for purchasing certain adaptive equipment.
The tax deduction is available to all businesses with a maximum deduction of $15,000 per year. The tax deduction can be claimed for expenses incurred in barrier removal and alterations.
What types of events will I need an Interpreter for?
DEC provides Interpreters for the following settings:
- Business Interpreting
- Educational Interpreting
- Legal Interpreting
- Medical Interpreting
- Mental Health Interpreting
- Meetings, Conferences and Seminar Interpreting
- Religious Interpreting
- Performing Arts Interpreting
- Personal Events Interpreting
- Entertainment Interpreting