Am I required to hire an interpreter? and what is the ADA and how can I become compliant?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation. When focusing on communication, one must assess the needs of the Deaf/hard of hearing person they are working with, and provide reasonable accommodations to ensure there is effective communication. Reasonable accommodations can vary depending on the person and nature of your meeting.

Partners Interpreting offers American Sign Language interpreters and caption services, to ensure there is effective communication as stated in the ADA. If you are unsure of where to start or what you actually need, we can help. We will be happy to review the logistics of your event with you and give you some direction on what your next steps should be. Our interpreters are qualified providers and we’ll work to ensure that our services provide compliance under the ADA.

The ADA applies to many aspects of daily life, such as going to doctor’s appointments, meeting with teachers at school, and interviewing for a job. In these situations, interpreters are used so the Deaf/hard of hearing person is able to understand and participate in the conversation.

Providers often wonder if writing back and forth is a reasonable accommodation. The ADA notes that exchanging written notes may be effective for some people to navigate a brief interaction. However, complicated interactions discussing symptoms, diagnosis or therapy should involve a qualified interpreter.

It is inappropriate to ask family members or other companions to interpret for Deaf and hard of hearing people. Family members may not be to convey the message accurately and should be part of the discussion rather than serve as the channel for communication.