Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why is there a two-hour minimum?
A: A two-hour minimum is considered an industry-standard in nearly every interpreting community. It exists because the freelance interpreters charge this, and the agencies pass this onto clients.
Q: Why is it necessary to have more than one interpreter?
A: There are a couple reasons why interpreters almost always work in teams, the exception being for settings where approximately an hour or less of interpreting is required.
Interpreters work in teams, first and foremost, for the sake of the quality of communication access for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing consumer. Interpreters are trained to switch off every 10 – 30 minutes or so, depending on the topic/content being interpreted. Interpreting is mentally taxing and inevitably, were an interpreter to not receive a break, there would be a reduction in the quality of communication, no matter how well-qualified or well-trained the interpreter. Furthermore, as with any form of interpretation, there might be a word or concept missed by the working interpreter, so the team is there to “feed” their team the sign, so again, the quality of communication remains at the highest level, and the Deaf consumer, receives the same level of communication that their hearing peers do.
Secondly, sign language interpreting is physically taxing as well, with repetitive motions. It is a health concern to have an interpreter work beyond an hour alone, on an ongoing basis. Very rarely an exception is made, but is typically made because without the exception, the consumer may go without access entirely.
Q: How far in advance should I request an on-site ASL interpreter?
A: Interpreters can be booked days, if not weeks, in advance so we recommend requesting services two weeks notice or more if possible. However, this is not always practical, and a one-week notice is generally enough time to staff a request. For anything less than a week we can not guarantee that your request will be staffed, however, we would be happy to try. Please note that there is an additional charge for last minute requests.
Q: What is the difference between VRI and VRS?
A: Video Remote Interpreting, often referred to as “VRI” is a video telecommunication service that utilizes a two-way video call to provide remote sign language interpreting between Deaf and hearing individuals. This is different from the Video Relay Service, or “VRS” which is an FCC-regulated service allowing Deaf or Hard of Hearing individuals to utilize phone systems.