Frequently Asked Questions

Which is correct, "Hearing Impaired" or "Deaf and Hard of Hearing"?

People who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing prefer to be called "deaf" or "hard of hearing." The term "hearing impaired" is viewed as unfavorable. The term focuses on what people cannot do. It establishes the standard as "hearing" and anything different as "impaired," or substandard, hindered, or damaged. It implies that something is not as it should be and ought to be fixed if possible. This is probably not what people intended to convey by the term "hearing impaired."

Why would I need a sign language interpreter when a Deaf client can read lips and write well?

Reading lips is a highly challenging skill to master. Only 30% of speech is visible on the lips, leaving 70% of speech guessed. Many speech sounds have identical mouth movements. Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals may miss the whole meaning of the conversation. American Sign Language (ASL) is very different from English. ASL is not a spoken or audio language. It's a visual language using the hands. Depending on the situation, liability issues should be of great concern. Utilizing the skills of a professional interpreter is the best choice for accurate and effective communication with a deaf or hard-of-hearing individual.

What if I use a family member to interpret for the deaf client?
Using a family member is not highly recommended and inappropriate to affect a medical facility or place of business is the family member's knowledge of the medical terminology and emotions. It can be a risk for miscommunications, issues of safety, and medical errors. Family members do not have the sign language skills or vocabulary necessary to communicate in professional situations. Professional interpreters are highly skilled and nationally/state certified in sign language.

Can I use someone who knows some sign language to interpret the deaf client?
No. This person may communicate in sign language; however, this person may not have the proper training, knowledge, or skill set necessary to function as an interpreter. Interpreting is a complex task that requires more than just knowing some language. Translating a message from one language to another requires a high level of proficiency in both languages and an understanding of the principles of accurate interpretation. A coworker, or someone responsible for other duties in your workplace, should not be put in the position of interpreting for a deaf colleague or client in a professional setting.

Sign language interpreters are highly trained professionals who have passed written and performance exams through the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and hold credentials. They render the message accurately, remaining impartial and adhering to a Code of Professional Conduct, including confidentiality.

Why should I hire a sign language interpreter?
Sign language interpreters facilitate communication between hearing users and deaf or hard of hearing users, making communication clear and effective to prevent resulting legal liability.

Who certifies a sign language interpreter?
Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (
RID) is the leading organization in establishing a national quality standard for sign language interpreters. They do the testing and rating for sign language interpreters nationally. A Code of Ethics binds certified sign language interpreters for confidentiality, impartiality, and professionalism to ensure a true and accurate interpretation through RID.

What is a Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI), and why would I need one?
The sign language interpreters who are Deaf themselves have been trained to interpret for Deaf patients who may have little knowledge or none of American Sign Language (ASL). For instance, a deaf individual from another country moves to America and is not fluent and uses a mixture of gesture/body language/home signs or minimal language skills, preventing them from using ASL, a CDI would work with a certified sign language interpreter to facilitate communication between the Deaf individual and the hearing person.

What ethical standards are your service providers expected to abide by?
Sign language interpreters who are members of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) abide by the Professional Code of Conduct. Click by
NAD-RID Code of Professional Conduct.

If you have any concerns about an ethical situation, please do not hesitate to call us at 813-785-1214 or send us an email at

Who is responsible for paying the sign language interpreter?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA 1990) states, "A public accommodation may not impose a surcharge on a particular individual with a disability, or any group of individuals with disabilities." Therefore, the service provider is responsible for payment.

How do I request a sign language interpreter?
Call us or text us anytime at 813-785-1214; we are available anytime 24 | 7 | 365
Fax at 877-734-8099 or send us an email at
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