What is Sign Language Interpreting
The Deaf, Deaf-Blind, and Hard of Hearing community is culturally and linguistically rich, with American Sign Language interpreting (ASL) being the primary language. While ASL is the language primarily used in the United States by the Deaf community, it is not universal. ASL is its own language: its syntax and grammar are distinct from English, with regional and individual sign variations and dialects. Each individual also has different communication and style preferences.
Our professional interpreters at Partners Interpreting navigate culture and language to facilitate communication between individuals who use ASL and individuals who use English.
End Users: Services can be provided to specific individuals or for general audience access. Language access can be needed in numerous roles and our interpreters have the experience to meet those needs for patients, students, clients, employees, professionals, visitors/guests and more. Depending on the size of your event and number of attendees, we can support individual interpreter requests and coordinate interpreting teams to provide access to a larger number of Deaf individuals simultaneously. See more information on the Deaf Community
Interpreter profile: We have over 230 qualified sign language interpreters locally, with staff interpreters and general hourly (freelance) W2 interpreters as part of our network. Our ASL interpreters have all been screened and vetted to satisfy PI’s highest qualifications, which meet or exceed industry standards. We employ both hearing and Deaf interpreters, who meet state compliance regulations where applicable. On our team, 83% of our interpreters are certified with the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID), and 15% are qualified by state credentialing bodies (such as MCDHH). The remainder of the interpreting team is in the process of obtaining national certification. For more information, check our Compliance or Interpreter industry pages.
Industries: Healthcare, education, government, corporate, community, human services, entertainment and more.
Settings: Appointments, ceremonies, interviews, meetings, trainings, conferences, classes, concerts, public events, family events, and more.
Locations: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Tennessee. If you have needs in another state, please contact us to check our availability; we partner with other interpreting companies nationwide.
- Our services and interpreters are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
- Interpreters are available for both pre-scheduled and last minute/emergency bookings.
- Services can be requested for one-time or recurring (daily, weekly, etc.) needs.
Contact us for more information.
- In accordance with federal laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), public services are generally required to provide auxiliary aids to Deaf individuals. One aid that meets the ADA requirements is a qualified interpreter. Another key legislation is the 1973 Rehabilitation Act and the Civil Rights Act, which requires “meaningful access.” Learn more on our Compliance page.
- By providing communication access you can successfully execute your organization’s mission while serving a broader and more diverse community. This opens opportunities for you, your customers, employees, patients, students, visitors, and community.
To ensure optimal interpreting services, request services as soon as you can. Qualified interpreters are in high demand and are a limited resource locally and nationally. Ample lead time helps secure interpreters specifically requested or preferred and/or the interpreter best suited for the content and nature of the request. Also consider whether there is any schedule flexibility; this may help secure an interpreter even faster.
To request an interpreter:
- Verify with the Deaf individual that ASL interpreting is the preferred service (not captioning). Keep in mind that each individual has different needs in different situations.
- Inquire whether there are any preferred or non-preferred interpreters. Even among qualified interpreters, the most suitable interpreter for an assignment can vary, so it is best to ask the consumer. Additionally, because the community is small, there may be conflicts of interest or other factors that impact interpreter selection.
- Have all the details, such as date, time, location, duration, site contact, nature of the request, topic/agenda, and so forth readily available.
- Get in touch with us. We will assist in identifying the appropriate services for your request.
- For short notice or emergency requests, call us for immediate service.
- For pre-scheduled, advance requests, call or email us, or use your online scheduling system profile.
Number of Interpreters Assigned
Interpreting is a very taxing process, both physically and mentally. We follow industry standards to protect the occupational health of our interpreters and to ensure the highest quality in our services. Accordingly, some assignments may require a team of two or more interpreters. These assignments include fast-paced, highly technical, complex, and high-stress situations, including conferences and platform or stage interpreting. Our coordinators will work with you to determine the appropriate number of interpreters for your request. If you are unavailable to discuss the number of interpreters, we will assign the number of interpreters based on best practices and generally accepted industry standards.
Examples: One interpreter could be sufficient to cover a single 3-hour medical appointment; a 2 to 3-hour college lab, or computer class that is primarily hands on; or an 8-hour job shadowing for an employee.
However, for a 30-minute televised press conference, a 1-hour school IEP meeting with a dozen participants, a 75-minute college class with a heavy lecture component, or an all-day conference, a team of two interpreters would be required.
For semester courses or classes, a team of two interpreters may be assigned to the first class to determine if one or two interpreters are required to meet the demands of the class.
In some cases interpreting specialists referred to as Deaf Interpreters may be required to successfully facilitate communication with the ASL Interpreter. In these cases a team will be required. More information on the role of Deaf Interpreters is available on our website.
Did you know?
- Organizations are prohibited from charging individuals protected by the ADA for the access services they requested.
- Organizations meeting federal criteria can qualify for tax deductions for complying with the ADA in providing communication access.