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Sign language interpreting and Foreign language interpreting are two distinct professions with the same goal of mediating communication between two or more parties with different languages. Both deal with language; one spoken and one signed. Both contrive importance from cultural impact on the language(s) being interpreted. However, the standards and practices by which we operate are quite distinct.


Sign Language Interpreting – MT&A Practice


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There are specific requirements, both state and national, for sign language interpreters.  There are certification and license laws.  There are also educational demands to become a qualified interpreter.  Sign language is not as standardized as established spoken languages.  A signer may have varied language from pure American Sign Language to spoken English but they rely on an interpreter since they can’t hear.


There is not a formal written form of ASL.  It is, therefore, impossible to have a written translation of English to ASL.  This can be an issue with closed captioning (CC).  And this is often why Deaf clientele require an interpreter even when a written English translation is provided.


There are also different laws about providing interpreters for equal access to language.  You could be sued for not providing an interpreter for a Deaf patient, student, or patron.  It is written into the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).


Foreign Language Interpreting – Language Solutions, Inc.


Logo of Language Solutions, Inc. for Foreign Language InterpretingForeign Language Interpreting standards vary by State. Because of Language Access Laws, courts are typically required to provide language interpreting services. In Missouri, all proceedings  require a qualified foreign language interpreter when any party or witness is non-English speaking. To deal with this vague requirement, the courts do recommend court certification. However the availability of court certified interpreters locally is very limited. When we look at court interpreters we put a lot of emphasis on court experience and relevant education or experience with similar cases.


Foreign Language interpretation can be influenced by many factors. First of all, when interpreters work on court depositions or interviews, complete objectivity is required.  Interpreters need to be able to navigate court proceedings, deal with subject matter terminology, and also sometimes deal with conflicts of interest that may influence their objectivity if they are not careful.


For instance during a deposition, one of our interpreters was asked to give an opinion to a witness statement and had to defend her position as an objective intermediary. Clients often forget that, even though an interpreter may be hired to be on their side, the interpreter’s role is not to inject any meaning, conclusion or personal thought into the conversation. That level of commitment to the job comes with experience and is why attorney’s, judges and clients should put a value on the needs of a qualified interpreter.


Raising the bar for standards in translation and interpretation


Whether dealing with strict guidelines and laws as we see with sign language interpreting or more ambiguous standards when dealing with foreign language interpreting assignments, there is no doubt that interpreting is a profession that carries a lot of responsibility. The value of high quality interpreting is not always considered by those who are tasked with hiring an interpreting. It’s not often that the end-user is responsible for bringing the interpreter on-board.


MT&A and Language Solutions both understand the burden of proving the value of translation and interpreting every day. If the value is not known, then interpreting is merely seen as a cost burden to the client. However, the costs of a poor interpreting job almost never go unnoticed at some point in the proceedings. Poor interpreting services can lead to poor decision making that otherwise could have been avoided. At MT&A and Language Solutions, our goal is to ensure that language interpreting services removes language barrier to facilitate proceedings. If Language Interpreting services are done well, the outcome of any case should be the same as if it were done between two parties who could speak in the same language.

Make the effort to secure quality interpreters for an accurate and objective translation of your message, and for satisfied and smooth relations with those who speak or sign a different language:


Contact MT&A for any Sign Language Interpreting needs.


Contact Language Solutions for Foreign Language Interpreting Services or Foreign Language Translation Services


Introducing MT&A Practice for Sign Language Interpreting


MT&A, as their mission states, integrates superior sign language interpreting services with exceptional customer service in order to best prepare for needs in the field. This goes beyond filling a warm seat with an interpreter whether certified and qualified or not.