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Let us continue to assist in “bridging the communication gap!”  Providing interpreting services since 1994.

 

 

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Why Bridge Interpreting?

Bridge Interpreting believes in:

      • Scheduling interpreters based on state licensing requirements, the nature of the job and the interpreter’s availability.
      • The businesses and individuals who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing we work with having a choice of which interpreters they want to work with and we strive to meet their choice whenever possible.
      • Matching interpreters with assignments based on their skills, the needs of the assignments and the language of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing participants.
      • Being easily accessible 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
      • Collaborating with the communities we serve to better know and understand their needs.
      • Adhering to high professional standard as outlined in the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf Standard Practice Paper on Professional Sign Language Interpreting Agencies.

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Your ADA Obligation (For a printable version, click here.)
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that public entities, public accommodations, state and local governments and more provide equal access to individuals with disabilities, including those who are Deaf and/or Hard of Hearing.  Below you will find an explanation of the ADA and its sections, along with tips for how it applies to your business and providing interpreting services:

Title I – Employment
Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to private employers and state or local government as employers.  ADA Title I prohibits employers, employment agencies, labor unions and joint labor-management committees from discriminating against persons with disabilities.  Title I applies only to employers with 15 or more employees.  (http://nad.org/issues/civil-rights/ADA)

What this means for your business:  If you employ a person who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing, you are responsible for providing access to staff meetings, business sponsored events, etc.  This includes providing a sign language interpreter if your employee uses sign language to communicate.

Title II – State and Local Governments
Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires state and local governments to make their programs, services, and activities accessible to individuals with disabilities, including individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.  (http://nad.org/issues/civil-rights/ADA)

What this means for your business:  If you are an agency of a state or local government, you must provide equal access for any person who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing that seeks to use your services.  This means that you must provide reasonable accommodation, including providing a sign language interpreter if the person requests.

Title III – Public Accommodations (Businesses)  
Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires businesses open to the public to ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal access to all that the businesses have to offer.  ADA Title III covers a wide range of places of public accommodation, including retail stores and service 101_0131businesses such as hotels, theaters, restaurants, doctors’ and lawyers’ offices, optometrists, dentists, banks, insurance agencies, museums, parks, libraries, day care centers, recreational programs, social service agencies, and private schools.  It covers both for-profit and non-profit organizations. Unlike the employment section of the ADA, which only applies to employers with 15 or more employees, ADA Title III applies to all businesses, regardless of size.  (http://nad.org/issues/civil-rights/ADA)

What this means for your business:  If you provide a service to the public and require the individuals using your service to meet with you, you are required to provide accommodation to them.  This may mean that you are required to provide a sign language interpreter if that is the best method of communication.

Title IV – Telecommunications Relay Services  
Title IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandated a nationwide system of telecommunications relay services to make the telephone network accessible to people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing or who have speech impairments.  Title IV of the ADA added Section 225 to the Communications Act of 1934.  (http://nad.org/issues/civil-rights/ADA)

What this means for your business:  If you provide a service where access to the telephone is granted to the public, providing accommodation to those who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing is required by the ADA.
This may mean providing a Teletypewriter (TTY) or a public use Videophone (VP).

Title V – Miscellaneous Provisions  
Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) contains provisions that are not covered in other parts of the ADA.  These provisions include:

        • States cannot claim immunity from ADA-related legal action.  Individuals with disabilities may sue any state agency for violations of the ADA, but may not recover money damages.
        • Protects individuals with disabilities from retaliation for asserting their rights under the ADA.
        • Courts may award attorney’s fees to the prevailing (winning) party in an ADA lawsuit.
        • Congress is covered by the ADA.
        • Other federal and state laws can be stronger and provide greater protections and rights than the ADA.  (http://nad.org/issues/civil-rights/ADA)

What this means for your business:  For more information on this, contact professional legal advice or the local ADA office.

Is it also important to remember that businesses cannot impose a charge of any sort on an individual in need of accommodation (ADA § 36.301), nor can businesses require that a person with a disability bring another individual to interpret for him or her (§36.303 [c, 2]).  It is also important to remember that, under the ADA, it is required to provide a qualified interpreter.  This excludes any accompanying adult or minor with the person who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing (§ 36.303 [c, 3-4]).  The ADA also requires that businesses provide accommodation for any accompanying companion, meaning friend, family member, etc. (§ 36.303 [c, 1]).
(http://www.ada.gov/regs2010/titleIII_2010/titleIII_2010_regulations.pdf)

For more information regarding the ADA or the specific state requirements and regulations on interpreters in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa, see the resources below:

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Standard Billing Policies

Below are the standard billing policies  of Bridge Interpreting:

        • All assignments are billed at a two-hour minimum, and billed in fifteen (15) minute increments after the first two hours.
        • Requests made with less than 24 hours’ notice may be subject to an additional fee.
        • Cancellations made with less than 24 hours’ notice are subject to billing for the full amount of time requested.
        • Bridge Interpreting schedules interpreters based on state licensing requirements, the nature of the job, and the interpreter’s availability.
        • Due to the nature of some assignments, two interpreters may be required.  Bridge Interpreting will apprise the business of this necessity upon request.

For more information regarding billing policies and cost of service, please contact Bridge Interpreting at 816.244.0834 or interpreters@meril.org.

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Tips for Effective Communication  (For a printable version, click here.)

Interpreters work in a wide variety of settings and interact with different professions on a daily basis.  As such, they encounter numerous challenges in communication.  Some of these can be alleviated with some simple tips.  Below you will find such tips for working with an interpreter and communicating effectively with a person who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing:

        • Provide as much information possible to the agency from which you are requesting an interpreter. This may include the Deaf/Hard of Hearing individual’s name, the location of the appointment, the nature of the appointment and more.  The agency is also bound by confidentiality laws, such as HIPAA, and will keep all information secure.
        • Whenever possible, meet with the interpreter prior to the appointment to discuss specific vocabulary and other setting specific information.
        • Work with the interpreter to determine the best seating arrangement and participation of people involved.
        • Whenever possible, provide the interpreter with a written copy of any speeches, presentations, etc. that will occur during the Terp handsappointment.
        • Always speak directly to the Deaf/Hard of Hearing individual.  Avoid using remarks such as “Tell him…” or “Ask her…”
        • Speak naturally.  If clarification is needed, the interpreter or the Deaf/Hard of Hearing individual will ask.
        • When a group of people are present, speak one at a time and take turns.  The interpreter can only relay one message at a time.
        • Allow more time for interpreted appointments. Sign language is a conceptual language and the interpreter must wait to hear/see a complete thought and idea in order to accurately convey the message.
        • Interpreters adhere to a strict code of ethics.  This includes confidentiality and impartiality.  To help the interpreter follow their ethics, avoid asking them questions directly, especially questions related to the Deaf/Hard of Hearing individual involved or others.
        • The interpreter is ethically bound to interpret everything they hear and see.  This means anything spoken in front of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing individual will be signed and everything signed in front of hearing individuals will be spoken.
        • For privacy and liability reasons, the interpreter will leave the room any time that the professional involved does so.

If you have any other questions regarding working with an interpreter, please feel free to contact Bridge Interpreting at 816.244.0834 or interpreters@meril.org.

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