Sign Language Interpreting Company vs. Independent Sign Language Interpreter

Are you considering the difference between hiring a sign language interpreting company verses independent sign language interpreter?  Like any decision, let’s consider services that you might be more familiar with and give similar consideration to.  You might consider a firm or an independent contractor to provide electrical installation at your home.  Typically when making these decisions we evaluate risk, benefits, and cost.

ASL sign language interpreting company or independent contractor

Comparison: Electrician

Appropriate Credentials to Satisfy Customers

A reputable electrical installation firm will have a staff of people to assist you with logistics.  They should hold the appropriate levels of liability insurance, evaluate the proper credentials of their employees, and manage and guarantee the work.  Having a medium to large staff typically allows a firm to accommodate their customers quickly.  In the event that one electrician is sick or on vacation (or if you are unhappy with your original one) they can provide an equivalent substitution.

Individual Business Handling

When considering an individual electrician you assume (since you’re likely not an expert) that they will provide electrical installation accurately.  They will be up to code (similar to a sign language interpreter’s code of ethics).  They will follow the standards of their license (if they are licensed).  This individual may also handle their own scheduling.  They should be appropriately insured (if applicable) and will follow billing procedures.  It wouldn’t be uncommon to think that the electrician might be interrupted often on the job to handle business matters.  They may take several days to get back to you.  Additionally, if an emergency arises or if you are unhappy with their work, you’ll likely need to seek a replacement on your own.

So what about a Sign Language Interpreting Company?

The same things are considered when hiring a sign language interpreting company versus independent sign language interpreter.  Similar with using an electrical installation firm, hiring a sign language interpreting company usually costs more than an independent contractor.  This is because the company can provide all of the services for you and thus are reducing your risk and saving you time.

Some Differences

Here are some differences between what a sign language interpreting company and sign language interpreter contractor can offer:

Reputable Sign Language Interpreting Company:

  • Ensure qualifications, licenses, and certification of each interpreter
  • Juggle various sign language interpreter availability and schedules
  • Can best match sign language interpreter qualifications to the unique needs of each Deaf and hearing consumer
  • Have several interpreters on staff with various skill levels that can match nearly any request
  • Are savvy in business practices and may advise you when you need more than one sign language interpreter to meet your needs
  • Offer consultation for you to save money
  • Are experts in code of ethics, laws governing sign language interpreters, and proper procedures
  • Partner with your team and manage projects to your satisfaction
  • Have standard billing practices and procedures
  • Have a large staff of sign language interpreters to accommodate in the event of an emergency or substitution of an interpreter
  • Have a large staff to better accommodate last minute requests
  • Have an office staff in the event that you need guidance while a sign language interpreter is providing services
  • Able to assist after the sign language interpreting services have occurred

Individual (independent contract) interpreters typically are:

  • Lower in cost
  • Unable to provide project management services
  • Uninsured (common in the St. Louis Metro area)
  • Unable to accommodate you in the event of an emergency or when several interpreters are required
  • Individually managing themselves.  You will need to work with the specific individual if you require conflict resolution.
  • Not savvy in billing practices and procedures
  • Working without supervision
  • Unable to be experts in all interpreting and may not have all the skills you require for your unique request


If an electrical contractor makes an error it may be possible that you can see it.  You, however, may not be able to “see” the errors in a sign language interpretation.  If you’re considering less work and low risk, you’ll likely want to hire a sign language interpreting company for your business.


Additional Resources:


Photo Credit:

MT & Associates | Sign Language Interpreting Practice BBB Business Review