Frequently asked questions


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Why do we need interpreters at all?

Providing interpreting services allows meetings, events, conversations and celebrations to be accessible to a wider audience which includes those who are d/Deaf or Hard of Hearing.

Some folks request interpreters in order to comply with ADA regulations, some simply recognize the importance of being inclusive to a wider community, some do it for specific staff, friends, and family in need – there are infinite reasons to have interpreters in our world, and we are happy to help provide this access!

Why aren’t auto-captions good enough?

Though computer-generated captions are a great technological advancement which provide assistance in certain ways/scenarios, a live person providing Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) increases the quality of captioning services.

Auto-captions have difficulty with accents, can mis-’hear’ and mistype words, and overall do not provide the same level of accuracy, nuance, and accessibility as a live, human captioner.

How many interpreters do I need?

This depends on the assignment at hand. Any job over one hour will require a ‘team’ of at least two interpreters. Jobs that are one hour or less may also require a team if the assignment is highly technical or otherwise requires excessive physical/mental exertion.

Why do interpreters have to work in teams?

We get many inquiries about why any assignment over one hour requires a ‘team’ of multiple interpreters (at least two). This is an industry standard and best practice not only for ASL interpreters, but often for spoken language interpreters as well – reasons for this include:  

Fatigue – Interpreting is undoubtedly strenuous both physically and mentally. If you can imagine the fatigue often felt by teachers, administrators, students, etc., and add repetitive hand motions to the mix, you can probably imagine the physical and mental toll interpreters begin to feel. Consider also that interpreters often work in intense settings such as courts, news reportings of important events, theaters where expression and dramatics are key, etc. Teaming allows interpreters to work together in order to avoid the mistakes which could otherwise occur as a result of fatigue.

Support – Teaming is not just two interpreters independently taking turns working one assignment. They most often work together, providing ‘backup’ when necessary, especially in highly technical, dramatic, or stressful environments. They may help each other identify any missed information, translate technical vocabulary, or support each other in the event of unexpected occurrences.

Efficiency – Seeing as language is contextual and nuanced, the interpreter may have to make quick decisions about how to translate context-specific terms. The other interpreter can take notes to ensure that these terms remain consistent throughout the remainder of the session, and the two can together ensure maximum clarity.

What is DI?

DI stands for Deaf Interpreter – you may also see CDI, which stands for Certified Deaf Interpreter

HI, on the other hand, stands for Hearing (ASL) Interpreter

DI’s often work in a team with an HI. The spoken information is fed through the Hearing Interpreter to the Deaf Interpreter, who interprets to the d/Deaf client (and vice versa).

DIs often work in settings where it would be beneficial to have a DI delivering a message to another d/Deaf person in their native language of ASL. Since DIs have deep and extensive first-hand knowledge of Deafness, d/Deaf culture, and d/Deaf communication, there are instances where the particular experience and expertise of these individuals is best suited to the job at hand.

Why do I sometimes see it written D/deaf?

The word is sometimes written this way to encompass all folks who identify as Deaf (uppercase D) and deaf (lowercase d)

Uppercase D Deaf is typically used by and for folks who identify as culturally Deaf – meaning they are deeply aligned with and immersed in the Deaf community. Capital D Deaf denotes a cultural identity, a multitude of shared experiences, and often (but not always) a shared language. As with any cultural identity, there is no one type of Deaf person or way to be Deaf, but identifying in this way often provides a deep sense of pride, community, and comfort for folks who use it.

Lowercase d deaf refers to the physical condition of having hearing loss. Unlike capital D Deaf, the lowercase denotation does not encompass the cultural, social, societal aspects of deafness or hearing loss. Many folks with loss of hearing do identify with lowercase d deaf for a variety of reasons, including (but not limited to) being born to hearing parents, growing up in mostly hearing communities, lack of exposure to the Deaf community, or simply choosing not to associate themselves with the Deaf community.

Where do we put the ASL interpreter?
To come

Requesting Interpreters

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Can Joyful Signing provide estimates and/or suggestions on how to staff events?

Absolutely! We are more than happy to discuss the details of your event and what our recommendations would be based on your budget and set-up. We provide an estimate upon request for any assignment.

How much notice is needed to hire ASL interpreters?

The further in advance we receive notice of your need for an interpreter, the higher the chances are of us filling your request.

If the request is made within 72 hours of the job, ‘Last Minute Rates’ are applied which are higher than standard rates. The chances of us finding available interpreters to fill the requests within this Last Minute timeframe also decreases slightly, though we will still work to our best ability to fill any job request we receive.

Why is there a two hour minimum?

A two hour minimum is the industry standard set by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID), which applies this requirement to all RID certified independent contractors. It is also logical considering the commuting, setup, preparation, and scheduling that an interpreter must do on their own for each job, whether it be 15 minutes or 8 hours.

What if I need to cancel my request for an interpreter?

Unless otherwise specified in an agreement with Joyful Signing, our cancellation policy is as follows:

Jobs canceled, rescheduled, or timing changed with less than 27 business hours’ notice will be billed.

Significant last minute changes (over 30 minutes) within 27 business hours accrue last minute rates. We will notify you of additional charges before confirming any schedule changes.

 No-shows are billed without exception.

Jobs involving significant travel may necessitate special notice and charges.

Can I just ask you what best practices would be?
To come
What do I need for captions?
To come
How far away can I get an interpreter?
To come
I don't know how long the interpreter will be needed. Can I just say the hour and if it goes over they can stay for the 2 I'm paying for?
To come