What is Interpreting?

Explore all you need to know about interpreting and how it helps your organization communicate effectively.

A teacher in a classroom signing to a student.

What is Interpreting?

In simple terms, it is taking information in one language and speaking it in another.

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What is Interpreting? Uses for Interpreting

Interpreting is needed in many organizations. Here are a few common practices for interpreting.

Graphic of when interpreters are used - including pictures of a building, gavel, school, brain, religion, hospital and a money sign.

Social Services

Organizations and businesses that provide public accommodations are required by law to provide an interpreter when necessary. 


Using interpretation in medical settings is crucial to effective communication between doctors, medical staff and the patient.


Businesses offering to interpret for clients can increase their customer base. 


In legal settings, ineffective communication can be the difference in someone's life. Interpreters can help provide clear communication from the police station to the courtroom.


1 in 5 people in America speaks a language other than English at home. Parents and teachers need to communicate about children, and deaf or hard of hearing students need sign language interpreters in the classroom


Frequently Asked Questions

The Americans With Disabilities Act, ADA, requires all places of public accommodation to provide Sign Language Interpreters to persons who are Deaf at no cost to them.

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act requires many places to supply meaningful access to limited English proficient, LEP, people.

There are several other laws and regulations that pertain to Interpreters and certification of them. Please call us for guidance at:  586-778-4188.

Learn more

60% of English is formed in the back of the mouth or in the throat. 40% of the English language is formed on the lips and 20% of that 40% looks exactly the same. (Say the word “olive” and the word “love”, when you said them did it “feel” the same?)

Lip reading is a guessing game that many people are just really good at.

Even in the case of a Deaf person, English may not be their first language. Sign Language, which is a visual language and has its own grammar rules and syntax and is very different from English, so using English to communicate with a Deaf person may not be effective.  

The ADA states that if a Deaf person requests an Interpreter, you must provide one. In many instances, an Interpreter will make an exchange happen quicker saving time and money allowing you to move on to other clients.

A family member may not have the special training or mandatory certification requirements necessary to be an Interpreter. They also may not be able to separate themselves emotionally from the situation to be an effective Interpreter and allow the person to make appropriate decisions for themselves or to have a “voice” in decisions about themselves.

It is never appropriate to use a child or a person under 18 as an Interpreter. Putting that amount of responsibility and pressure on a child, not to mention that they are not legally an adult, is inappropriate.‍

No. HIPAA has a provision for Interpreters to receive protected health information as a Business Associate. Sharing information with an Interpreter or an Agency that has signed such an agreement on behalf of their Interpreters and themselves is not a violation of HIPAA.

Additionally, Interpreters abide by a Code of Professional Conduct abiding by a strict confidentiality clause. Another reason friends and family would not make good Interpreters for your facility.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the places of public accommodation are responsible in all cases and in The Civil Rights Act Title VI, places of public accommodation are responsible to pay for the Interpreters in most cases.

If you question whether or not you must pay for services, please call us at: 586-778-4188.

Yes. Please consult your tax professional for details.


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