FAQ

Find answers to common inquires about our language services.

On-Site Interpreting

Who is required to pay for sign language services?

According to the American with Disabilities Act, most businesses and medical facilities are required to ensure effective communication, which includes providing qualified interpreters (http://nad.org/issues/about-law-and-advocacy-center/FAQs).

Using friends and family members is highly discouraged due to the lack of training and possible conflicts of interest, which can lead to errors or filtering of information (http://nad.org/issues/health-care/position-statement-health-care-access-deaf-patients).

To find out if you are the responsible party required to pay for interpreting services, call the Americans with Disabilities Act office at (800) 514-0301.

When is it required to hire two interpreters?

Interpreting is a physically and mentally demanding job. Studies have shown that after 30 minutes of continuous interpreting, fatigue can set in, causing the interpreter to make errors. Typically, if a job is highly technical and/or longer than one hour, SAI Interpreting & Translation will require a team of interpreters be sent. This is to provide the Deaf and hearing consumers with the highest quality of interpreting. When submitting an interpreting request to SAI Interpreting & Translation, providing as much information as possible is crucial. This way, SAI Interpreting & Translation is able to determine which interpreters are most qualified for the job, how many interpreters are needed, and what type of interpreting team to send, whether it be two hearing interpreters, or a Deaf-Hearing interpreter specialist team.

Is Sign Language universal?

No, sign language is unique to each culture. Additionally, many countries have dialects or variations of their primary sign language. American Sign Language (ASL) is used in the U.S. and parts of Canada (http://nad.org/issues/american-sign-language/what-is-asl).

Countries such as Mexico and Spain have differing sign languages, signifying that many countries that share a common spoken language do not share a sign language.

What is a Deaf Interpreter and why do I need one?

A Deaf Interpreter is a specialist who provides interpreting, translation, and transliteration services in American Sign Language and other visual and tactual communication forms used by individuals who are Deaf, hard-of-hearing, and Deaf-Blind. As a Deaf person, the Deaf Interpreter starts with a distinct set of formative linguistic, cultural, and life experiences that enables nuanced comprehension and interaction in a wide range of visual language and communication forms influenced by region, culture, age, literacy, education, class, and physical, cognitive, and mental health. These experiences coupled with professional training give the Deaf interpreter the ability to successfully communicate across all types of interpreted interactions, both routine and high risk. NCIEC studies indicate that in many situations, use of a Deaf Interpreter enables a level of linguistic and cultural bridging that is often not possible when hearing ASL-English interpreters work alone.

Currently, Deaf Interpreters work most often in tandem with hearing interpreters. The Deaf-Hearing interpreter team ensures that the spoken language message reaches the Deaf consumer in a language or communication form that he or she can understand, and that the Deaf consumer’s message is conveyed successfully in the spoken language. (http://www.interpretereducation.org/specialization/deaf-interpreter/)

Is it possible to find a hearing interpreter that can act as a CDI/ASL interpreter?

There are times when the communication mode of a Deaf consumer is so unique that it cannot be adequately accessed by interpreters who are hearing. Some such situations may involve individuals who:

  • use idiosyncratic non-standard signs or gestures such as those commonly referred to as "home signs" which are unique to a family use a foreign sign language
  • have minimal or limited communication skills
  • are deaf-blind or deaf with limited vision
  • use signs particular to a given region, ethnic or age group
  • have characteristics reflective of Deaf Culture not familiar to hearing interpreters.

(http://www.oregon.gov/dhs/odhhs/pages/tadoc/terp2.aspx)

How can we as the client communicate with the Deaf consumer?

In terms of phone calls, many Deaf or hard of hearing individuals have a videophone. When you call his/her phone number, you will be connected to a hearing ASL interpreter who will interpret the phone call for you. If the Deaf consumer is physically in the office without an interpreter, try writing back and forth if communication is absolutely necessary. English is often a second language for Deaf and hard of hearing people, while American Sign Language is the native language, which can make written communication ineffective (http://nad.org/issues/health-care/position-statement-health-care-access-deaf-patients).

Is lipreading an effective way of communicating with deaf and hard of hearing consumers?

Most of the time, no. Forty to sixty percent of English sounds look similar when mouthed on the lips. In medical settings, many complex medical terms can go misunderstood or misinterpreted, causing further problems for the Deaf consumer. Most Deaf consumers do not depend on lipreading because of the excessive guesswork involved. If your patient is not Deaf, but requires a lipreader, you can seek agencies that provide oral interpreting/transliteration (http://nad.org/issues/health-care/providers/questions-and-answers).

If, for example, a Deaf individual knows how to read or write Spanish, does that mean that they use Mexican Sign Language?

Not necessarily. A person may know how to read or write a language but still use American Sign Language or a different signed language. It is important to find out the linguistic background of the Deaf consumer(s).

What are the proper terms to use when referring to people with hearing loss?

“Deaf” or “hard of hearing” are the acceptable terms. Labels such as “hearing impaired”, “deaf-mute” or “deaf and dumb” are outdated and no longer accepted or considered politically correct by the Deaf community (http://nad.org/issues/american-sign-language/community-and-culture-faq).

What does it mean to be Deaf-Blind and why is it important to understand?

Deaf-Blind refers to anyone with some type of hearing and visual loss. Deaf-Blind consumers require unique forms of ASL, including Tactile Sign Language. Not every interpreter is qualified to work with Deaf-Blind consumers as there are different grammatical rules and structures used, in addition to the specialized training one must possess when working with a Deaf-Blind person. It is important to find out the Deaf-Blind consumer’s preferred method of communication before making your interpreting request (https://nationaldb.org/library/page/1934).

What is the difference between a professional interpreter and a bilingual individual?

A bilingual individual is a person who has some degree of proficiency in two languages. A high level of bilingualism is the most basic of the qualifications of a competent interpreter, but by itself does not ensure the ability to interpret. A bilingual employee may provide direct services in both languages but, without additional training, is not qualified to serve as an interpreter.

What is the difference between simultaneous and consecutive interpretation?

Consecutive interpretation is the process by which the interpreter renders their interpretation during natural pauses in the conversation. Consecutive interpretation works most effectively during one-on-one meetings or group discussions.

Simultaneous interpretation is used most often during more formal meetings in which one person will do the majority of the speaking (such as conferences and workshops) or when a meeting must take place with minimal interruptions (such as a legal proceeding). Call us with more information and we will help you determine the best possible solution for your meeting.

What is the difference between interpretation and translation?

“Translation” refers to the written word and “interpretation” refers to the spoken word.

Why does the interpretation seem longer than the English explanation?

The two main reasons are grammatical differences, and vocabulary. Many languages have elaborate grammatical structures that use more modifiers, prefixes, and suffixes than English. There are also many words in English that do not have equivalents in the other language, which require the interpreter to “paint” a word picture, describing what the word means. Generally, more words means the interpreter is thoroughly and accurately interpreting what was said.

What is a “certified spoken language interpreter”?

“Certified interpreter” has many meanings. Outside the courts and legal system in the United States, there is no nationally recognized standard or certification for spoken language interpreting. There are many state level certifications and industry specific certifications, such as health care, however.

What is simultaneous interpreting?

In the simultaneous interpreting mode, the interpreters listen to, analyze and interpret the message at the same time (with just a slight lag) and same rate of delivery as the person speaking. It is the most challenging mode of interpreting and requires specialized skills and interpreting equipment.

Required Equipment: We offer portable equipment for fully or partially enclosed interpreting booths and technical support to ensure a seamless experience for all of your participants.

What is consecutive interpreting?

In this mode, the interpreter allows the speaker to utter a full thought, then transmits the message in the other language. Since each person pauses often to allow the interpreter to relay the message. It is best suited for one-on-one conversations or discussions, or in small groups where all or most participants would benefit from the interpretation. Required Equipment: None

Video Remote Interpreting

Who is required to pay for sign language services?

According to the American with Disabilities Act, most businesses and medical facilities are required to ensure effective communication, which includes providing qualified interpreters (http://nad.org/issues/about-law-and-advocacy-center/FAQs).

Using friends and family members is highly discouraged due to the lack of training and possible conflicts of interest, which can lead to errors or filtering of information (http://nad.org/issues/health-care/position-statement-health-care-access-deaf-patients).

To find out if you are the responsible party required to pay for interpreting services, call the Americans with Disabilities Act office at (800) 514-0301.

Is Sign Language universal?

No, sign language is unique to each culture. Additionally, many countries have dialects or variations of their primary sign language. American Sign Language (ASL) is used in the U.S. and parts of Canada (http://nad.org/issues/american-sign-language/what-is-asl).

Countries such as Mexico and Spain have differing sign languages, signifying that many countries that share a common spoken language do not share a sign language.

What is a Deaf Interpreter and why do I need one?

A Deaf Interpreter is a specialist who provides interpreting, translation, and transliteration services in American Sign Language and other visual and tactual communication forms used by individuals who are Deaf, hard-of-hearing, and Deaf-Blind. As a Deaf person, the Deaf Interpreter starts with a distinct set of formative linguistic, cultural, and life experiences that enables nuanced comprehension and interaction in a wide range of visual language and communication forms influenced by region, culture, age, literacy, education, class, and physical, cognitive, and mental health. These experiences coupled with professional training give the Deaf interpreter the ability to successfully communicate across all types of interpreted interactions, both routine and high risk. NCIEC studies indicate that in many situations, use of a Deaf Interpreter enables a level of linguistic and cultural bridging that is often not possible when hearing ASL-English interpreters work alone.

Currently, Deaf Interpreters work most often in tandem with hearing interpreters. The Deaf-Hearing interpreter team ensures that the spoken language message reaches the Deaf consumer in a language or communication form that he or she can understand, and that the Deaf consumer’s message is conveyed successfully in the spoken language. (http://www.interpretereducation.org/specialization/deaf-interpreter/)

Is it possible to find a hearing interpreter that can act as a CDI/ASL interpreter?

There are times when the communication mode of a Deaf consumer is so unique that it cannot be adequately accessed by interpreters who are hearing. Some such situations may involve individuals who:

  • use idiosyncratic non-standard signs or gestures such as those commonly referred to as "home signs" which are unique to a family use a foreign sign language
  • have minimal or limited communication skills
  • are deaf-blind or deaf with limited vision
  • use signs particular to a given region, ethnic or age group
  • have characteristics reflective of Deaf Culture not familiar to hearing interpreters.

(http://www.oregon.gov/dhs/odhhs/pages/tadoc/terp2.aspx)

How can we as the client communicate with the Deaf consumer?

In terms of phone calls, many Deaf or hard of hearing individuals have a videophone. When you call his/her phone number, you will be connected to a hearing ASL interpreter who will interpret the phone call for you. If the Deaf consumer is physically in the office without an interpreter, try writing back and forth if communication is absolutely necessary. English is often a second language for Deaf and hard of hearing people, while American Sign Language is the native language, which can make written communication ineffective (http://nad.org/issues/health-care/position-statement-health-care-access-deaf-patients).

Is lipreading an effective way of communicating with deaf and hard of hearing consumers?

Most of the time, no. Forty to sixty percent of English sounds look similar when mouthed on the lips. In medical settings, many complex medical terms can go misunderstood or misinterpreted, causing further problems for the Deaf consumer. Most Deaf consumers do not depend on lipreading because of the excessive guesswork involved. If your patient is not Deaf, but requires a lipreader, you can seek agencies that provide oral interpreting/transliteration (http://nad.org/issues/health-care/providers/questions-and-answers).

If, for example, a Deaf individual knows how to read or write Spanish, does that mean that they use Mexican Sign Language?

Not necessarily. A person may know how to read or write a language but still use American Sign Language or a different signed language. It is important to find out the linguistic background of the Deaf consumer(s).

What are the proper terms to use when referring to people with hearing loss?

“Deaf” or “hard of hearing” are the acceptable terms. Labels such as “hearing impaired”, “deaf-mute” or “deaf and dumb” are outdated and no longer accepted or considered politically correct by the Deaf community (http://nad.org/issues/american-sign-language/community-and-culture-faq).

What does it mean to be Deaf-Blind and why is it important to understand?

Deaf-Blind refers to anyone with some type of hearing and visual loss. Deaf-Blind consumers require unique forms of ASL, including Tactile Sign Language. Not every interpreter is qualified to work with Deaf-Blind consumers as there are different grammatical rules and structures used, in addition to the specialized training one must possess when working with a Deaf-Blind person. It is important to find out the Deaf-Blind consumer’s preferred method of communication before making your interpreting request (https://nationaldb.org/library/page/1934).

What is the difference between a professional interpreter and a bilingual individual?

A bilingual individual is a person who has some degree of proficiency in two languages. A high level of bilingualism is the most basic of the qualifications of a competent interpreter, but by itself does not ensure the ability to interpret. A bilingual employee may provide direct services in both languages but, without additional training, is not qualified to serve as an interpreter.

What is the difference between interpretation and translation?

“Translation” refers to the written word and “interpretation” refers to the spoken word.

Why does the interpretation seem longer than the English explanation?

The two main reasons are grammatical differences, and vocabulary. Many languages have elaborate grammatical structures that use more modifiers, prefixes, and suffixes than English. There are also many words in English that do not have equivalents in the other language, which require the interpreter to “paint” a word picture, describing what the word means. Generally, more words means the interpreter is thoroughly and accurately interpreting what was said.

What is a “certified spoken language interpreter”?

“Certified interpreter” has many meanings. Outside the courts and legal system in the United States, there is no nationally recognized standard or certification for spoken language interpreting. There are many state level certifications and industry specific certifications, such as health care, however.

What is simultaneous interpreting?

In the simultaneous interpreting mode, the interpreters listen to, analyze and interpret the message at the same time (with just a slight lag) and same rate of delivery as the person speaking. It is the most challenging mode of interpreting and requires specialized skills and interpreting equipment.

Required Equipment: We offer portable equipment for fully or partially enclosed interpreting booths and technical support to ensure a seamless experience for all of your participants.

What is consecutive interpreting?

In this mode, the interpreter allows the speaker to utter a full thought, then transmits the message in the other language. Since each person pauses often to allow the interpreter to relay the message. It is best suited for one-on-one conversations or discussions, or in small groups where all or most participants would benefit from the interpretation. Required Equipment: None

How does video remote interpreting work?

With our video interpreting service, you will be provided a link to register using your email and a unique password. Then, you simply connect to www.sai.interpretmanager.com, enter you’re your login information and select the language you need from our menu. We offer scheduled and on-demand video calls, connecting you with the appropriate video remote interpreter within 30 seconds.

What are the requirements to become a video remote interpreter?

In addition to the requirements for other interpreters based on their area of specialization, including a combination or experience, specialized training, testing, and/or certification, our remote interpreters must: – Demonstrate ability to manage remote communication flow void of some visual cues, such as body language or facial expressions – Adequate voice clarity and volume; appropriate tone

Is your video remote interpreting available 24/7?

Yes, SAI offers video remote interpreting services for top requested languages, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What are the technical requirements for Video Remote Interpreting (VRI)?

It requires a high speed Internet at the minimum bandwidth of 400 Kbps for audio and 1 Mbps for video. The following hardware: webcam, microphone, and speaker are also required for the Video Remote Interpreting.

Over-the-Phone Interpreting

What is the difference between a professional interpreter and a bilingual individual?

A bilingual individual is a person who has some degree of proficiency in two languages. A high level of bilingualism is the most basic of the qualifications of a competent interpreter, but by itself does not ensure the ability to interpret. A bilingual employee may provide direct services in both languages but, without additional training, is not qualified to serve as an interpreter.

What is the difference between interpretation and translation?

“Translation” refers to the written word and “interpretation” refers to the spoken word.

Why does the interpretation seem longer than the English explanation?

The two main reasons are grammatical differences, and vocabulary. Many languages have elaborate grammatical structures that use more modifiers, prefixes, and suffixes than English. There are also many words in English that do not have equivalents in the other language, which require the interpreter to “paint” a word picture, describing what the word means. Generally, more words means the interpreter is thoroughly and accurately interpreting what was said.

What is a “certified spoken language interpreter”?

“Certified interpreter” has many meanings. Outside the courts and legal system in the United States, there is no nationally recognized standard or certification for spoken language interpreting. There are many state level certifications and industry specific certifications, such as health care, however.

What is simultaneous interpreting?

In the simultaneous interpreting mode, the interpreters listen to, analyze and interpret the message at the same time (with just a slight lag) and same rate of delivery as the person speaking. It is the most challenging mode of interpreting and requires specialized skills and interpreting equipment.

Required Equipment: We offer portable equipment for fully or partially enclosed interpreting booths and technical support to ensure a seamless experience for all of your participants.

What is consecutive interpreting?

In this mode, the interpreter allows the speaker to utter a full thought, then transmits the message in the other language. Since each person pauses often to allow the interpreter to relay the message. It is best suited for one-on-one conversations or discussions, or in small groups where all or most participants would benefit from the interpretation. Required Equipment: None

How does Over-the-Phone interpreting work?

With our over-the-phone interpreting service, you will be assigned a unique PIN upon opening an account with SAI. Then, you simply call our telephone interpreting line, enter your PIN and select the language you need from our menu.

Do I need any special equipment for Over-the-Phone interpreting?

To reach our telephone interpreters, no specific equipment is required. Over-the-phone interpreting works from any modern touch-tone phone. Once your account is created, all you do is 3 simple steps: – Call the provided number – Enter your unique PIN – Select the language you need to connect to an interpreter

Is your Over-the-Phone interpreting available 24/7?

Yes, SAI offers Over-the-Phone Interpreting services for over 200 languages all year long, including holidays, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Document Translation

What is the difference between interpretation and translation?

“Translation” refers to the written word and “interpretation” refers to the spoken word.

How long does translation take?

It depends on the language and subject matter. Generally speaking, a single translator can complete between 1,500 – 2,000 words per business day.

How does pricing work?

Estimates are generated based on the word count of your document. The per-word rate varies by language, from languages like Spanish and Chinese on the lower end to low-density languages on the higher end of the spectrum.

Other FAQs

Who is required to pay for sign language services?

According to the American with Disabilities Act, most businesses and medical facilities are required to ensure effective communication, which includes providing qualified interpreters (http://nad.org/issues/about-law-and-advocacy-center/FAQs).

Using friends and family members is highly discouraged due to the lack of training and possible conflicts of interest, which can lead to errors or filtering of information (http://nad.org/issues/health-care/position-statement-health-care-access-deaf-patients).

To find out if you are the responsible party required to pay for interpreting services, call the Americans with Disabilities Act office at (800) 514-0301.

Is Sign Language universal?

No, sign language is unique to each culture. Additionally, many countries have dialects or variations of their primary sign language. American Sign Language (ASL) is used in the U.S. and parts of Canada (http://nad.org/issues/american-sign-language/what-is-asl).

Countries such as Mexico and Spain have differing sign languages, signifying that many countries that share a common spoken language do not share a sign language.

How can we as the client communicate with the Deaf consumer?

In terms of phone calls, many Deaf or hard of hearing individuals have a videophone. When you call his/her phone number, you will be connected to a hearing ASL interpreter who will interpret the phone call for you. If the Deaf consumer is physically in the office without an interpreter, try writing back and forth if communication is absolutely necessary. English is often a second language for Deaf and hard of hearing people, while American Sign Language is the native language, which can make written communication ineffective (http://nad.org/issues/health-care/position-statement-health-care-access-deaf-patients).

Is lipreading an effective way of communicating with deaf and hard of hearing consumers?

Most of the time, no. Forty to sixty percent of English sounds look similar when mouthed on the lips. In medical settings, many complex medical terms can go misunderstood or misinterpreted, causing further problems for the Deaf consumer. Most Deaf consumers do not depend on lipreading because of the excessive guesswork involved. If your patient is not Deaf, but requires a lipreader, you can seek agencies that provide oral interpreting/transliteration (http://nad.org/issues/health-care/providers/questions-and-answers).

What are the proper terms to use when referring to people with hearing loss?

“Deaf” or “hard of hearing” are the acceptable terms. Labels such as “hearing impaired”, “deaf-mute” or “deaf and dumb” are outdated and no longer accepted or considered politically correct by the Deaf community (http://nad.org/issues/american-sign-language/community-and-culture-faq).

What does it mean to be Deaf-Blind and why is it important to understand?

Deaf-Blind refers to anyone with some type of hearing and visual loss. Deaf-Blind consumers require unique forms of ASL, including Tactile Sign Language. Not every interpreter is qualified to work with Deaf-Blind consumers as there are different grammatical rules and structures used, in addition to the specialized training one must possess when working with a Deaf-Blind person. It is important to find out the Deaf-Blind consumer’s preferred method of communication before making your interpreting request (https://nationaldb.org/library/page/1934).

What is the difference between a professional interpreter and a bilingual individual?

A bilingual individual is a person who has some degree of proficiency in two languages. A high level of bilingualism is the most basic of the qualifications of a competent interpreter, but by itself does not ensure the ability to interpret. A bilingual employee may provide direct services in both languages but, without additional training, is not qualified to serve as an interpreter.

If you have any further questions or would like in service training for your staff or at your place of business on any of the information listed above, or information not found on this FAQ, please feel free to contact SAI Interpreting & Translation.

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