Tips and Tricks: How to Ensure Language Access to Deaf Clients
in a Time of High Demand and Low Supply
If you have worked with Deaf clients, then you have also seen the dreaded emails returned from your request for an interpreter that say, “no interpreter is available at this time”. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires equal language access, meaning appointments between hearing and Deaf individuals must also be joined by a qualified interpreter for greater communication access.
This can range from an assortment of appointment types such as doctor visits, emergency room visits, public meetings, employee training, professional training and meetings, conferences, court cases, and more.
Unfortunately, the demand for Sign Language Interpreters is much higher than the supply. According to the Survey of Income and Program Participation, there is an estimated of 1,000,000 individuals in the United States who are functionally Deaf, and about 10,000,000 persons who are hard of hearing (2006). However, there are only a little over 10,000 certified and registered Sign Language Interpreters (Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf).
This can make it difficult to ensure appointments have the best access to quality communication. Here are some tips that will help you get the coverage you need so that you and your clients do not end up without effective communication:
- Requesting in advance. There is never a “too far in advance,” and the best way to ensure your request is fulfilled is to request an interpreter 2+ weeks in advance.
- Flexibility. Requesting in advance is not always an option, so the best second runner-up is flexibility. There are a variety of ways you can be flexible to have your vendors find coverage for last-minute appointments. Call LATN to speak with a representative for a variety of factors that will give better flexibility.
- Always communicate with your employees and clients. Make sure employees and clients are aware of ADA laws, the need to request in advance, or tips like these.
- Have a back-up option. There are several options that may be available when there is an onsite certified interpreter is not available, such as video interpreting. LATN Language Solutions will gladly walk you through a variety of back-up options for these services.
Please contact LATN Language Solutions if you would like more detailed access to a quality, functional, language plan or other services for Sign Language, Spoken Languages, or Translations. We take pride in our capabilities as a Top 40 Language Service Provider who creates customizable plans to adapt to your business model and needs. Call us today at 1-800-943-LATN (5286).
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