1200 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005
Voice: (202) 638-5630
Fax: (202) 638-5632
Partners In Sign
the Most For Your Interpreting Dollar
Because interpreters are in high demand, we
recommend that you notify us at least two
weeks in advance when requesting interpreting
services. Begin by gathering as much information
as you can about the event to be interpreted.
The more details an interpreter knows about
the people involved, topic of discussion,
special vocabulary or jargon, and the purpose
of the presentation or meeting, the better
he or she will be able to perform.
When you contact PARTNERS IN SIGN (PINS),
please have the following facts:
- Your name and phone number
- Your company’s name and billing
- Name of the person authorizing the interpreting
- Date, time, duration and place of the
- Name and phone number of an on-site
- Name(s) of Deaf customer(s) and/or number
of Deaf individuals who will be attending
- Sign language mode preferred: American
Sign Language (ASL), contact sign (Signed
English/PSE) or other.
- Nature of the assignment:
Meeting: One-on-one or a group?
Platform Presentation: Will
there be lectures, a panel discussion,
interviews, poetry, singing, and/or
visual presentations? How many hearing
speakers? Deaf presenters?
Training: Lectures? Technical
language? Hands-on learning? Equipment?
- Credit card information
- Name of specifically requested interpreter
How Many Interpreters?
A rule of thumb when scheduling interpreters: Any
assignment more than one hour long requires two
interpreters. PINS reserves the right to determine
how many interpreters to send based on the length
of the assignment, the nature of the assignment,
and the skills that are needed. (Some short assignments,
such as those involving platform interpreting, may
require two interpreters, while some full day on-call
assignments may only require one interpreter.)
of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) was established
in 1964 to certify basic interpreting skill competency.
Certification is important because the general public
usually cannot determine whether an interpreter
is qualified or not. However, many uncertified interpreters
possess professional-level skills and are fully
aware of their ethical responsibilities as interpreters.
All PINS interpreters in the DC area have been screened
to ensure that they are qualified for the assignments
we send them to.
Upon his or her arrival, an interpreter will introduce
himself or herself to those involved in the event.
Then the interpreter will generally request information
about the communication session being interpreted,
and ask to meet the Deaf individual(s). Sometimes
a Deaf customer will lead the introductions and
explain to others the role of the interpreter. In
all cases, an interpreter should have the opportunity
to interact with the Deaf individuals prior to interpreting
in order to discuss their communication preferences,
special needs, and optimum seating and/or standing
arrangements. Of course, courtesies like providing
a place for an interpreter’s coat and bag
and directions to the nearest rest room and water
fountain are much appreciated. Before an event,
please express any preferences regarding the attire
of the interpreter, as interpreters are advised
to dress in a manner that reflects the presenters.
Please offer feedback — both positive and
negative — to the interpreter and to PINS.
If it is at all possible during a break, but certainly
after the event, discuss with the interpreter and
the Deaf customer(s) how things are going or how
they might be improved. Your input is invaluable
to both the interpreter and PINS.
Although making a last-minute or “short-notice”
request will cost more, it is always better to have
an interpreter and not need his or her services
than to need an interpreter and be without one.
Because it may take hours for PINS to locate an
interpreter with the appropriate skills to work
on short notice, there is a surcharge for such requests.
Unfortunately, the number of interpreters has not
kept pace with the rising demand for interpreting
services, so there will be times when PINS cannot
fulfill a last-minute or “short-notice”
It is difficult for an interpreter to deal with
issues that may interfere with the interpreting
process when the interpreter is actually working.
Those responsible for coordinating the interpreted
event should take responsibility for solving problems,
making certain that Deaf customers can see and/or
hearing customers can hear the interpreter at all
times. Following are a few suggestions:
On rare occasions, an interpreter may not meet the
expectations of the customer. Sometimes an interpreter
finds that an assignment differs substantially from
the request. If a problem arises, please share your
concerns directly with the interpreter — there
may be a misunderstanding, and simple solution found.
If the conflict cannot be resolved, contact PINS.
- Do not permit more than one person to talk
or sign at the same time.
- Do not permit people to crowd in front of
the interpreter or block the sight line needed
- Do not permit lights to be turned out for
PowerPoint presentations or videos, be mindful
that the interpreter needs to be visible.
- If necessary, change seating arrangements
and provide microphones or other equipment.
- Check with the interpreter and Deaf customers
during a break to ensure that things are going
A Final Note
These suggestions have been provided to help PINS’
customers accommodate the communication needs of
Deaf and hearing employees, patrons, clients, and
customers. While this guide is meant to be as complete
as possible, you may have questions or need clarification
on certain points. Please feel free to e-mail us
or call us at (202) 638-5630.
Contact us directly for rates for interpreting services.