Sign language interpreting agencies play a crucial role in ensuring that individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing can effectively communicate with hearing individuals in various settings. These settings can include medical appointments, legal proceedings, educational settings, and more. Choosing the right sign language interpreting agency can make a significant difference in the quality of the interpreting services provided. However, it’s important to note that the lowest cost option is not always the best choice. This article will explore how to choose the right sign language interpreting agency and why the focus should be on quality services that exceed the minimum standards of legal compliance.
Legal Compliance is the Minimum Standard
It’s essential to understand that legal compliance is the minimum standard for sign language interpreting services. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing have the right to effective communication in a variety of settings. As a result, businesses and organizations that fall under the ADA’s purview must provide sign language interpreting services if requested. However, legal compliance only ensures that a minimal level of service is provided, which may not meet the needs of every deaf or hard of hearing individual.
Consider the Agency’s Reputation and Expertise
When choosing a sign language interpreting agency, it’s crucial to consider their reputation and expertise. A reputable agency should have a track record of providing high-quality services that go beyond the minimum standards of legal compliance. Look for an agency with a team of experienced interpreters who have received extensive training and are certified by recognized organizations such as the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID).
Evaluate the Agency’s Processes and Procedures
It’s also essential to evaluate the agency’s processes and procedures. A reputable agency should have a clear system in place for selecting interpreters based on their qualifications and experience. They should also provide ongoing training and support to their interpreters to ensure that they stay up to date with the latest best practices in the field. Additionally, the agency should have a clear system for handling any complaints or concerns raised by clients and interpreters.
Look for an Agency That Provides Comprehensive Services
When choosing a sign language interpreting agency, it’s essential to look for one that provides comprehensive services. This means that the agency should be able to provide interpreters in a variety of settings, including medical appointments, legal proceedings, educational settings, and more. They should also be able to provide interpreters who are familiar with the specific subject matter, such as medical terminology or legal jargon.
Don’t Make Cost Your Primary Concern
While cost is an important factor when choosing a sign language interpreting agency, it should not be your primary concern. The lowest cost option may not provide the quality of services that you need, and may even put you at risk for legal liability if the services provided do not meet the minimum standards of legal compliance. Instead, focus on finding an agency that provides high-quality services at a reasonable cost.
In conclusion, choosing the right sign language interpreting agency is crucial for ensuring effective communication between deaf or hard of hearing individuals and hearing individuals. Legal compliance is the minimum standard for interpreting services, but the focus should be on providing high-quality services that exceed these standards. When choosing an agency, consider their reputation and expertise, their processes and procedures, and the comprehensive services they provide. Don’t make cost your primary concern, as the lowest cost option may not provide the quality of services you need. By prioritizing quality over cost, you can ensure that the interpreting services you receive meet the specific needs of you or your organization.