Daily Inquiries

Natural Languages' has furnished you with a number of queries most commonly asked. If your question is not posted please contact us and we will be happy to add it to our listing.

1. Who is responsible for the cost of hiring an interpreter? 

According to the American Disability Act of 1990, the law states that any entity private and public, large or small is responsible for covering the cost of an interpreter. For example, if you are an educational institution and have a student whose parents are Deaf and wants to attend open house. It is the duty of your institution to acquire and pay for interpreting services.  

 2. What is the American Disability Act?

ADA prevents discrimination against persons with disabilities from obtaining equal opportunity in the areas of state and local government services or public and private accommodations. For example;
a patron of a hotel who is blind may need to bring their guide dog, the hotel cannot deny that person a room because he/she has a dog. The hotel is mandated by law to make the necessary adjustments within their facility to accommodate that patron.

3. Who is exempt from ADA?

All businesses large and small are required by law to accommodate a person with a disability. The only exemption is claiming "undue hardship". In this case, you will have to prove, in writing, that your revenues could not cover the cost of reasonable accommodations. To learn more about "undue hardship" please visit www.ada.gov

4. If my Deaf consumer has Medicaid, can Medicaid cover the cost of interpreting services?

Only if that Deaf consumer is meeting with a Medicaid representative and is discussing Medicaid related issue(s). In this case the Medicaid office is responsible to provide an interpreter.

 5. What is reasonable accommodation?

Any modification or adjustment made from your business to ensure that your patron has equal access to your services as those without a disability. For example; wheel chair ramps creates equal access to the entrance of your facility.

6. My client can lip read. Isn't that enough?

Lip-reading is great for short informal chats amongst people whom they have a rapport with. However, studies have shown that even the best lip reader can only understand anywhere between 30-40%. Most words on the lips look similar, for instance, bye & buy, mail & pail or ate & eight. It can serve as additional support but does not replace the need for visual communication. 

7. Can't they simply bring a friend or family member along to help?

Unfortunately, many people do not see how this is a conflict of interest and an invasion of privacy to the individual. Keep in mind that the ADA law was created to ensure equal access to those who are disabled with those who are not. Privacy/Condentiality is of grave importance. For example, If the patient is about to learn that he/she has been infected with the HIV Aids virus that patient is robbed of his/her right to privacy when a friend or family member is present and asked to interpret.

This conflict of interest can cause one to experience a struggle between diverging interest, ones point of view or allegiances.

In addition, the insitution is subjected to a potential lawsuit. Please read #13 and click on the link provided to view several lawsuits due to the absences of a professional interpreter. Interpreting is a professional profession and requires years of training and experience.

8. How much time do I need to secure an interpreter?

The sooner the better! Idealistically 5 business days would be sufficient. Interpreters are self-employed, they work with several interpreting agencies, and therefore, they seek to book their schedule well in advance. They practice the "first come first serve" method. However, since we have Sign Language Interpreters on staff we have successfully filled jobs requested at the last minute. But we strongly encourage you to request an interpreter as soon as you learned you must obtain one.

There are some exceptions where sufficient time is required like shows, concerts, presentation and seminars. These require mental preparations and material review. If this is your situation please let us know and we can assist you in the securing process.

 9. Can Deaf people read and write English?

Sign Language is very unique in its nature of communication.  A Deaf population that uses their voice to express complex thoughts, conception and emotions through their hands and into the air. There is no written language to read what the hands are saying. The Deaf must learn how to read and write English much like any foreigner who migrates to the United States.

If that Deaf person did not learn the English language then no that Deaf person would not be able to communicate through writing. 

10. Can employers get a tax credit for the expenses paid out to accomodate someone?

Most definitely! The IRS gives employers a special tax credit of up to 5k per year for minor accomdations and up to 15k for major changes. Please visit http://www.ada.gov/employmt.htm for more information regarding this.

ADATax Incentives Packet – Information from the U.S. Department of Justice about the ADA and tax benefits for small and large businesses, as well as IRS information.

11. My consumer speaks French does this law applies to me?

If you consumer, client, interviewee or student is not disabled in any way then the ADA does not apply. However, the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 may apply to you. This law ensure that all institutions that recevie any type of U.S. government assistance does not discriminate agains person on the bases of race, color or national origin. According to the United States Supreme Court, language based discrimination is in accordance to "national origin". Therefore, if you decide not to provide services to accomodate an Limited English Proficiency person you may be in violation of this law. You can face lost of federal funds and subjected to a lawsuit for monetary damages.

Attorney Bruce L. Adelson, Esq had written an article on "Consequences of Non-Compilance" that shows variuos sceanarios of businesses not complying with Title VI. Click here  to view 5 unforutnate mishaps to the normal averagae person in our society.

The Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the Asian American Justic Center (AAJC) both developed and published a book called "Language Rights: An Intergration Agenda for Immigrant Communities". They touch base on services in various areas such as Voting, Healthcare, Workplace, Justice and Housing. The United States houses about 50 million people that have Limited English Proficiency (LEP) skills language access is of vital importance.

12. Why Do I Need Two Interpreter?

To protect our interpreters from repetitive motion injuries and to provide optimum service, one-hour assignments that are highly technical or high profile and/or assignments over 2 hours in length requires a team of interpreters. This is normal business practice in the field of interpreting. Upon your request we will discuss if two interpreters are needed.

13. Is American Sign Language Universal ?

American Sign language (ASL) is not a universal language -- each country has its own sign language, and regions have dialects, spoken languages all over the world. ASL is a language with its own unique rules of grammar and syntax.  Just like any other spoken language it also grows and changes over time.

ASL is used predominantly in the United States and in many parts of Canada. ASL is accepted by many high schools, colleges, and universities in fulfillment of modern and “foreign” language academic degree requirements across the United States.
Just for fun, click here http://www.ethnologue.com/show_family.asp?subid=90008 to view the various sign languges used in other parts of the world.  

Resources : www.imiaweb.org, www.barinas.com, www.justice.gov,www.ada.gov, www.rid.org, www.galludet.edu ,  www.najit.org