Hiring a Sign Language Interpreting Company vs. Foreign Language Company

Many people do not understand the differences between spoken foreign language and visual sign language, but they are vastly different. Many foreign language companies only offer sign language interpreting to increase their business. Unfortunately, many of them do not have a long standing relationship or understanding of sign language interpreters or the Deaf Community. Consider instead hiring a sign language interpreting company.

Hiring a Sign Language Interpreting Company

Knowledge of the Deaf Community and Signed Language

Similar to spoken language cultures, Deaf consumers consider their deafness a part of their culture.  This, however, does not make signed languages the same as foreign languages.  In foreign language typically a word translates to an equivalent English word.  But if you ask a sign language interpreter to interpret one word directly from spoken to signed language, they will often say, “It depends.”  Signed languages are more complicated than a word for word translation.  They vary from city to city, state to state, and country to country.  We are not suggesting that foreign language interpreting is easier.  We are saying that it is different.

Contextual Skills and Expertise

The skills and expertise needed for an accurate sign language interpretation are different than those needed for a foreign language interpretation.  You would not hire an electrician to come into your home to do plumbing work.  Similarly, we highly recommend you choose an expert in your local area to provide sign language interpreting services.  Additionally, to ensure the highest accuracy, choose a reputable sign language interpreting company who specializes in the geographic area of the Deaf user.

Cheaper doesn’t always mean Better

One argument for using foreign language companies is that some businesses who use multi-language interpreters want to consider a “one-stop shop.”  Unfortunately, even if they are able to offer sign language interpreting services at a lower price, it may not mean that you get the same product.  Their lower price could mean that they do not have the business knowledge or understand the profession requirements of sign language interpreters.  For example, the interpreter’s credentials must be according to law and hold proper business insurance.  The company may not vet the interpreter’s skills either.

Satisfy Specific Consumer Needs: A Detailed Approach

Additionally, spoken language companies and out-of-state companies usually complete scheduling internally.  They send out bulk emails and book interpreters strictly by availability and cost.  Sign language interpreting services should NOT be a service like Uber.  Not all interpreters are experts in all subject matter.  Since each Deaf and hearing consumer’s services are unique to their setting it is important to consider the most appropriate interpreter.  Like anyone else you would hire to serve your business, would you hire anyone who walked through your doors?  Likely not.  With a new employee there is a long process before payment or availability is even negotiated.

In closing, foreign language companies can best serve foreign language consumers.  But hiring a sign language interpreting company can best satisfy your sign language interpreting services.  If you need foreign language interpreting services or foreign language translation, MT & Associates would be happy to provide you a referral.

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MT & Associates | Sign Language Interpreting Practice BBB Business Review