DSL INFO MEMO 2001-04
August 16, 2001
STATE OF WISCONSIN
Department of Health and Family Services
Division of Supportive Living
Area Administrators/Assistant Area Administrators
BDHH Regional Coordinators
Center for the DeafBlind Persons
County AODA Coordinators
County Departments of Community Programs Directors
County Departments of Developmental Disabilities Services Directors
County Departments of Human Services Directors
County Departments of Social Services Directors
County Long Term Support Coordinators
County Mental Health Coordinators
Department of Corrections Administration
Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Administration
Governorís Committee for People with Disabilities
Interpreter Service Agencies
Interpreter Training Programs
National Funeral Directors Associations
Self Help for Hard of Hearing
State Independent Living Centers
State Independent Living Council
Tribal Chairpersons/Human Services Facilitators
Wisconsin Association for the Deaf
Wisconsin Bar Association
Wisconsin Council for Development Disabilities
Wisconsin Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf
Wisconsin School for the Deaf
Wisconsin Technical College System
Wisconsin Funeral Homes
Sinikka McCabe, Administrator
Division of Supportive Living
Re: Wisconsin Interpreter Service Agencies
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) specifies that individuals who are
deaf, hard of hearing or deafblind have the right to effective communication.
Often this means an individual or organization will need to hire a qualified
interpreter. Interpreters can be hired through direct contact with a private
practice interpreter or by contacting an Interpreter Service Agency. The purpose
of this Info Memo is to provide you with basic guidelines for hiring and working
A list of freelance interpreters can be obtained by contacting the local
Bureau for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (BDHH) Regional Coordinator. The
freelance interpreters provide sign language interpreting for the consumers as
needed. A freelance interpreter will establish his or her own rate and hours. A
Regional Coordinator in each DSL region will provide information, referral and
training to people who are not familiar with the hearing loss issue. The name of
the appropriate Regional Coordinator is available on the attachment or can be
obtained by calling the BDHH Central Office at (608) 266-3118 V/TTY.
There are four Interpreter Service Agencies in Wisconsin. The attached list
provides information on how to contact the Service Agency, their hours of
operation and a brief description of the types of interpreting services
provided. Any of these agencies can be contacted to hire an interpreter.
When hiring and working with an interpreter, the following points should be
- The appropriate language accommodation for the deaf, hard of hearing or
deafblind individual. Speak to the individual about what kind of
interpreting accommodation is most appropriate. Some individuals use
American Sign Language (ASL) while others need Oral or Tactile
interpretation. The type of language need also differs if a person uses an
interpreter who interprets English to ASL versus an interpreter who
transliterates English to sign communication. Not all people who are deaf,
hard of hearing or deafblind use the same types of communication.
- The length of time for which the interpreter will be working. Most
interpreters can interpret for one or two hours by themselves. Longer
periods of time, or more complex assignments, may or may not require a team
of interpreters. Be sure to tell the freelance interpreter or the Service
Agency about the duration of the event to be interpreted.
- Allow at least two weeks lead time to hire an interpreter.
Interpreter schedules fill quickly due to the demand for their services.
- Interpreters are paid portal-to-portal. This means they are paid the same
hourly rate for travel and interpreting time. Per hour charges for
interpreters range from $20.00 to $60.00.
- Interpreters should be scheduled according to the consumerís request for
accommodation. When the interpreter arrives at the assignment, request to
see their certification or verification card. The Registry of Interpreters
for the Deaf (RID) and the National Association for the Deaf (NAD) are
national sign language interpreter certifying bodies. The Wisconsin
Interpreting Transliterating Assessment (WITA) is a state of Wisconsin
verification system. BDHH recommends that all interpreters hired for legal
and serious medical and mental health situations are either RID or NAD
certified. A description of the different types of national certification
and Wisconsin verification is attached.
Interpreters are bound by a strict Code of Ethics that prohibits the
disclosure of information from any interpreting assignment. Any breaches of
the Code of Ethics should be reported to the certifying or verifying body
- When using an interpreter, remember to speak directly to the deaf, hard of
hearing or deafblind person, not to the interpreter.
- Additional information can be obtained from the BDHH website at http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/sensory.
Please provide this information to consumers and appropriate agency and
organization staff. Thank you for sharing this information with agencies working
with people with disabilities.
CENTRAL OFFICE CONTACT:
For information about contacting the ODHH Regional Coordinator near you:
Office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
ODHH Staff Listings and
Wisconsin Interpreter Services Agencies Listings (outdated)
Registry of Interpreters for
the Deaf (RID) Certification Levels
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