FAQ – Interpreting Services

When should a Sign Language Interpreter be requested?

A sign language interpreter should be requested whenever you are trying to communicate with a Deaf person who primarily communicates through American Sign Language (ASL). Having an interpreter present is needed to ensure effective and clear communication, and safeguards all participants by ensuring all information is accessible to both parties.

Lip-reading is not reliable as approximately only 30 to 40 percent of spoken English is distinguishable on the mouth and lips under the best of conditions. Additionally, the “paper and pen” method is not equivalently effective as using a sign language interpreter. This is because ASL is a visual-spatial language having its own syntax and grammatical structure, and is often Deaf and Hard of Hearing (HoH) individual’s ‘first language,’ making English a ‘second/foreign’ language to many Deaf and HoH people.


Who is responsible for requesting interpreter services?

All businesses (for-profit and non-profit) and government agencies are required by The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other state and federal laws to provide auxiliary aids and services as necessary to ensure effective communication for all people, regardless of disability. Interpreting services are fee-based, and DCI will accept interpreting requests only from the party that will be paying for the interpreting services.


Who is responsible to pay for the interpreter?

All businesses (for-profit and non-profit) and government agencies covered by the ADA are responsible to provide effective communication. It is illegal to pass the cost to the Deaf or HoH consumer as the costs of providing auxiliary aids and services are considered the cost of doing business.


What is the interpreter’s role?

The role of an interpreter is strictly to serve as a facilitator for effective and clear communication. The interpreter is responsible to enable cross-cultural communication and accurately translate between voiced English to American Sign Language and vice versa.

All interpreters are bound by a code of ethics, which includes keeping all material interpreted strictly confidential. Additionally, interpreters are responsible to maintain the integrity of all messages, always conveying the content and spirit of the speaker/signer. Last, but not least, because of the specific role of the interpreter, it is important not to ask the interpreter for his/her opinion or to perform any tasks other than interpreting.


When do I need two interpreters?

As interpreting assignments are mentally and physically demanding, a team of interpreters may be necessary. Interpreting assignments that are lengthy (more than two hours) and/or complex (for example, an all-day staff training seminar) require an interpreting team. Research shows prolonged interpreting contributes to an increase in errors and physical injury and a team of two (2) interpreters rotating at 20-30 minutes intervals ensures consistent quality for your clients. DCI reserves the right to determine if an assignment requires a team of interpreters.


How do I make a request for interpreting services?

All interpreting requests must be made through DCI’s friendly Internet based software. If you do not have an account with DCI, please see the following question.


How do I sign up for an account with DCI?

Below are the steps to sign up for an account with DCI:

  • Visit Customer Signup page
  • Fill out all the information on the following Customer Signup page


What information do I need to give when requesting services?

After signing up as a customer, the following information is needed to fulfill your request:

  • The date, the start time, and the expected end time of the assignment;
  • The assignment location (including the address, city and zip code);
  • Event name and a description of the assignment;
  • The name of the Deaf or HoH consumer(s) needing an interpreter; and
  • The name and phone number of an onsite contact person at the assignment location.


Does DCI provide emergency services?

DCI provides emergency interpreting services on a 24/7 basis for hospitals, urgent care, mental health care facilities and law enforcement. These requests have top priority. Any other last minute requests will not be treated as an emergency request; however, these requests will be accepted based on the availability of interpreters.


How do I pay for the interpreter services?

All payments are made by check or credit card (VISA and MasterCard only). Pre-payment is required for new customers until adequate credit limit/history can be established.

The billing and contact information provided when requesting an interpreter will be used in creating an invoice. Depending on the agreement between DCI and the consumer. If you would like to make other payment arrangements, please call us at 773-857-7709.