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Interpreter Services


Considerations when working with sign language interpreters:


    • Interpreters remain neutral at all times. Interpreters cannot offer advice or personal opinions. All information that is interpreted is kept strictly confidential by the interpreter.


    • Speak at a natural pace and directly to the Deaf person(s). Use first person with the Deaf person(s) such as “you”, “we”, etc. It is not necessary to say “tell him” or “tell her”.


    • Allow the interpreter to sit/stand beside the speaker. The Deaf person needs to see both the speaker and the interpreter. The Deaf person will be able to advise of the seating or standing arrangement that works best for him or her.


    • Most often the interpreter will work simultaneously (the interpreter listens to spoken English or watches ASL and produces an interpretation as the person speaks or signs). In these situations the interpreter requires time to process the information (known as “lag time”) before the interpretation begins. When the English or ASL stops, the interpreter will need a few seconds to complete the interpretation.


    • In some situations the interpreter may determine that consecutive interpreting is more appropriate to produce the equivalent message in the target language (the interpreter begins the interpretation only after the person has stopped speaking or signing). When consecutive interpreting is used, the interpreter will need extra time to complete the interpretation.


    • Where possible any background information or preparation materials should be given to the interpreter prior to the assignment (past meeting minutes, agenda, powerpoint presentation, key points of the speech, etc.). Interpreters will greatly benefit by reviewing the materials and having an opportunity to ask questions for clarification before the assignment begins.


    • The interpreter is bound by a code of ethics which states that everything heard or signed must be interpreted. Please do not say “Do not interpret this…” to the interpreter as they will not be able to follow the instruction. Any private conversations should be held outside the room. Also, if inappropriate language is used the interpreter will continue to sign/voice the message into the target language.


    • Interpreters can only interpret one message at a time. It is best to ensure that only one person speaks/signs at a time and not talk/sign over each other.


    • If a difficult or sensitive subject is being discussed please avoid saying “I wonder how the interpreter will sign that” as this draws undue attention to the interpreter and makes it difficult for the interpreter to perform their job efficiently.


  • If there are any questions or concerns about the interpreter’s role or the best way to facilitate communication, etc feel free to ask the interpreter, remembering to ask them at a time when they are not actually interpreting.



Booking an Interpreter

To book an interpreter, please provide the following information in order to complete the request for service:

  • Date of the appointment
  • Time of the appointment
  • Your contact information (phone, fax, and/or email address)
  • Complete address/location of the appointment (including suite number/floor level)
  • Name of the person(s) at the appointment (doctor, employer, etc.)
  • Type of appointment (brief explanation)


To ensure that interpreter services can be provided, it is recommended to provide as much advance notice as possible. You can contact us by email or by phone (902)-564-0003.


* For emergency interpreting services (evenings/weekends) please contact:

  • (902)577-0941
  • (902)549-5185


Booking & Cancellation Policy

Generally, Interpreting Services are provided on a fee-for-service basis. Fees are typically not charged to the Deaf, Deafened, or Hard of Hearing individual.


Minimum Booking Time


The minimum booking time is two (2) hours with subsequent hours billed to the nearest half hour. Based on the nature of an assignment it can be necessary to book two interpreters to assignments of one (1) or more hours in duration. This can be discussed at the time of booking.

The SDHHNS Interpreter Services Coordinators understand the requirements of each request and the necessity for teaming (two or more Interpreters) is addressed on a case by case basis.


Cancellation Policy


There will be no charge for assignments that are cancelled with more than 24 hours notice. Assignments of two hours or less that are cancelled by a customer without providing 24 hours notice will be billed the two-hour minimum charge.

Assignments of more than two hours that are cancelled by a customer with less than 24 hours notice will be billed for two hours or fifty percent of the estimated time the services were booked, whichever is greater. Prepaid travel or accommodation costs will be charged if not reimbursed to SDHHNS. Cancellation of conferences and other assignments requiring several interpreters or interpreters for long periods of time will be invoiced according to the terms agreed to at the time of the request(s).