Interpreting Services – Frequently Asked Questions

What makes an interpreter qualified?

A qualified interpreter provides effective communication between two parties. DCS is happy to provide qualified interpreting services to individuals who may be deaf, hard of hearing, late-deafened, or deaf-blind. Our agency employs the services of professionals who hold certification recognized by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. Many of our interpreters have specialized skills which qualify them to interpret in settings such as medical, legal, mental health, educational, and the performing arts. Our coordinating staff will select the most qualified interpreter available.

Can a deaf person read lips or write notes instead of using an interpreter?

While many deaf persons are literate and some are able to read lips, these avenues may not always provide effective communication. Even a proficient lip reader will only comprehend about 33% of what is being said; the rate of comprehension would be much lower for the average deaf person. Writing notes can hinder communication and waste precious time. Providing a qualified interpreter is the best way to ensure effective communication.

Can a person who “signs”interpret for a deaf individual?

Although an individual may be able to sign, the process of interpreting between two languages is a complex task which requires more than just knowing sign language. Interpreting is a trained skill which requires proficiency in the languages involved. Under federal law, deaf individuals have the right to a qualified interpreter. A family member, friend, or co-worker may not be trained or proficient and would not be considered a qualified interpreter. Only a qualified interpreter can guarantee the quality, accuracy, and confidentiality of the communication process.