Protocol

Contracting Interpreting Services

  • ‘As-needed services’: Partners Interpreting establishes ‘Service Agreements’ with clients. These agreements do not obligate organizations to make a request to PI nor are they ‘exclusive agreements. These agreements are deemed ‘active’ until notice of any new updated terms.
  • ‘Dedicated services’: Programs where an organization arranges recurring services (daily, weekly) or another special program, a scope of work and quote can be established.
  • Institutions and Organizations requiring a BAA may submit one for our review and agreement, or if needed, PI has a BAA to use between the two parties.

Request Services

  1. Authorized personnel review and sign our T & C and provide both billing and schedule contacts.
  2. Submit service request, advanced notice is always best
  3. Provide needed information:
    • Logistics (Date, time, duration, location, parking, on site contact etc…)
    • Background (Nature/type of request, agenda/schedule, materials etc…)
    • Profiles (number & name of participants, roles, patient #, etc…)
    • Special considerations: Additional information needs to be given to situations:
      1. Deaf-Blind and low vision consumers
      2. General Audience access (if interpreters asked to be on standby or not)
      3. Legal settings
      4. Filming, Videotaping: If there is filming, a television crew or videotaping involved in the assignment, selection of the interpreter needed for the assignment will be based on skills and qualifications. Additionally, the ‘interpretation process’ and language register produced by the interpreter will change (e.g. working with an individual vs. a general audience interpretation). Potential additional cost, preparation time and materials may be required.
      5. Deaf Interpreter Specialist (CDI)
  1. Coordination work begins. Scheduling process:
    • We identify and confirm which service (ASL interpreter, captioning etc.) is needed
    • Check the Deaf consumer profile for communication and interpreter preferences
    • Check availability of providers
  2. Confirmation- once interpreters are secured, automated email notifications sent by scheduling system and phone for emergency last minute needs. If services are not available there are options.
    1. Continue to work on the request right up until and including the day of service or a predetermined deadline (e.g. 24-48 hours before start time). Sometimes interpreters’ schedules open due to a cancellation.
    2. Check for schedule flexibility in the start time on the same day
    3. Reschedule to another date
    4. Try an alternative service (e.g. VRI or CART captioning) This would require customer authorization of that service, as terms, rates and policies vary across services.
    5. Expand resource search. We have a network of interpreters and agencies nationwide
  3. Invoice sent via email generally within 7 business days after services are provided.

Selection of Interpreters
(the process)

  1. Coordinators first- check with the consumers requested/preferred interpreter(s
  2. Second check the most qualified/best-fit (we match by skill, experience, content knowledge) who is in the local area
  3. Third check with the most qualified/best fit who can travel in

Rates are established per service type. Each service has its own unique terms as far as minimums, billing increments and are all outlined within our Terms and Conditions. We aim to stay competitive and keep costs down for clients. There are no automatic annual increases. Should there be any adjustments, all clients are notified a minimum of 30 days before implemented. Our rates include Account setup, maintenance, coordination, provider management and maintenance, access to remote technology platforms, appointment time or travel time, 24/7 client online portal access and customer service support.

Rate differentials and variations are due to numerous factors

  • Day, time (business, night, weekend), location (local or remote location require ‘extra’ travel)
  • Lead time, rush/short notice or emergency
  • Volume and frequency
  • Payment method (check, ACH, CC) and terms (15, 30+ etc)
  • Request type: General/Conference/Legal/# of providers/prep time

Why are the hourly rates for interpreters what they are? Interpreters are not volunteers, but working professionals with a code of ethics, trained in cultural and linguistic fluency. Interpreters are specialists in high demand that go through years of rigorous training and ongoing professional development. More information on Interpreters.

Services are generally invoiced electronically within 7 business days of the services being provided. Invoices will outline a date and description of services, pre-approved expenses and total hours. Additional details regarding the assignment such as the name of the requestor, consumer etc. is available on the online scheduling system.

Invoices are typically sent within 7 business days. In some cases, for recurring services with a hospital or college semester classes, invoices may be sent only 1x/week. Invoices are sent by Partners Interpreting accounting department NOT the interpreter. You may pay with check, ACH/EFT, credit card. Our interpreters are employees (not contractors) therefore we are required by state law for timely payment and your prompt payment following your accounts terms are greatly appreciated.

Following best practices and in order to provide the best interpretation services possible, interpreters need preparation materials (prep) prior to an event. Prep includes PowerPoint slides, outlines, unique words, agendas, speaker names and acronyms and other industry resources (website etc…). In situations where the content is highly complex or technical, beyond standard working interpreters’ knowledge, media event, platform interpreting or when the Deaf consumer is presenting, teaching or plays a significant role, we will request additional time for the interpreter to do advanced preparation-this is beyond ‘standard assignment prep’. Preparation may include: review of materials and industry resources also including speaking with key point of contact (e.g. presenter) or doing a ‘dry run’ of the presentation etc. This is to ensure accuracy and message equivalency and interpreters need to be compensated for the time they spend preparing. Interpreters may also prepare for an assignment by arriving early at the site to speak with consumers and/or review relevant documents.

Occasionally, Partners has an administrator observe our interpreters while on-site for quality assurance and supervision opportunities. Additionally, in the interpreting industry ‘mentors’ who are national certified interpreters work with newer practitioners to develop their skills and monitor their growth. In either case, our office will attempt to contact the site contact to notify them and obtain approval from the customer and consumer before proceeding to have a mentee or manager be present during the interpreting encounter. Mentees, like the mentors, have been cleared by PI’s hiring and screening processes and comply with the same policies for confidentiality as all interpreters do.
For quality assurance, PI collects, maintains and manages employee documentations, assisting organizations in being fully compliant with state and federal laws. All PI interpreters who perform on-site services carry PI photo identification, and have submitted mandatory employability documentation to PI. These documents include resumes, immunization records, state licenses (when applicable), certifications, emergency contact information, federal tax forms and HIPAA/PHI security compliance. Additionally, professional profiles on all PI employees are maintained and include information such as work history, experience etc…). Furthermore, each interpreter employee undergoes a national criminal background check, including an address and social security number trace and a county criminal search for felony and/or misdemeanor convictions, as permitted by law. All records are maintained by PI and can be verified upon request, including during any assessments by an accrediting body.

Interpreting is a very taxing process, both physically and mentally.  An interpreter’s ability to effectively process the message and interpret it accurately diminishes significantly after approximately 20 minutes of interpreting.

Following industry standards to protect the occupational health of our interpreters and to assure the highest quality (language interpreting) communication, assignments may require a team of two or more interpreters. This includes assignments that are fast paced, highly technical, complex, including conferences and platform/stage interpreting. Our coordinator will work with you to determine the appropriate number of interpreters needed for your request, with best practices in mind. If Business’s designated contact person is unavailable to discuss the number of interpreters required, Partners will assign the number of interpreters it deems necessary, following best practices and generally accepted industry standards.

It’s not just about the time- Examples: 1 interpreter could be sufficient to cover a single 3 hour medical appointment, a 2-3 hour college class (e.g. lab, or computer class that’s primarily hands on etc.) or an 8 hour job shadowing for an employee. Whereas for the 30-minute televised press conference, 1 hour school IEP meeting with a dozen participants, the 75 minute college class (heavy lecture component), all day conference etc… would require a team (2) of interpreters.

For semester courses or classes, a team (of 2) interpreters may be assigned to the first class to determine if one or two interpreters are required to meet the demands of the class. Note in some cases interpreting specialists referred to as ‘Deaf Interpreters’ may be required to supplement the Sign Language interpreter to successfully facilitate communication, therefore a ‘team’ will be required. More information on the role of Deaf interpreters is available on our website.

Request a consultation

Email:

Phone:

  • 508-699-1477 (voice); answering service supports non-business hours sending messages to on call staff
  • 508-809-4894 (videophone) for ASL users