Interpreting Services

Community Sign Language Interpreting

Interpreting Services—Community InterpretingInterpreting Services provides onsite community interpreting in a wide variety of settings; wherever deaf, deaf-blind, hard of hearing and hearing people interact. At HSDC we are experts at matching our highly skilled interpreters with our deaf customer’s needs. Our  interpreters are qualified at the highest national level, enabling them to communicate with deaf people with a broad range of communication styles.  All interpreting staff hold certification from the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID),  the professional’s national certifying body.

Services available from Interpreting Services include:

  • American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation
  • Signed English (PSE) transliteration 
  • Signed Exact English
  • Tactile and close visual interpretation for deaf-blind consumers*
  • Oral Translation for deaf consumers who rely on speechreading*
  • Lip-reading Translation (LRT) for individuals who are unable to express vocally due to tracheotomy or other physical disability*

*See FAQs page for more information.

Emergency Sign Language Interpreting Program – ESLIP

Emergency Sign Language

Dealing with police, sheriff or courts can be stressful or even frightening for anyone. For deaf, deaf-blind or hard of hearing individuals the stress is compounded by language barriers. In emergency legal situations, clear communication is critical. King County and the City of Seattle recognized this when they first established the Emergency Sign Language Interpreting Program, known as ESLIP.

HSDC’s own Interpreting Program has coordinated this critical service for the County and Seattle Police since 2005. Legally trained RID certified interpreters are on call,24 hours a day, 365 days per year.  Interpreting Services responds to emergency situations at homes, police stations, jails, and courts for things as varied as making a report of a crime, arrests and bookings, mental health professional (MHP) assessment of whether someone is a danger to self/others, or filing for a protection order.

This program has provided communication for legal situations since 1998. However, it is available only through the Seattle Police Department or in UNINCORPORATED King County. That means incorporated cities such as Bellevue, Renton, or Federal Way, and counties such as Pierce or Snohomish are NOT currently covered by ESLIP. If you live in an area that is not covered, you should contact local authorities to find out how they provide emergency communication access.

SPD and other first responders should offer interpreting services automatically, but when contacting 911 make sure you let them know you are deaf, deaf-blind or hard of hearing and need interpreting services. Once contacted by the dispatcher, interpreters will generally arrive on the scene within 30 minutes if inside Seattle and 45 minutes outside of Seattle.

For more information regarding Interpreting Services’ Emergency Sign Language Interpreting Program (ESLIP) contact HSDC at 206.632.7100 (V) or 206.445.7434 (VP).

Conference Coordination

Whether you have a few deaf participants or hundreds of  them, Interpreting Services has the resources to make your event accessible. We are the largest full service sign language interpreter business in the Pacific Northwest and we can meet your needs, whether large-scale or small, in the United States and Canada.

Our conference planning experts provides everything you need for deaf and hard of hearing communication access:

  • Sign Language Interpreters
  • Real-time captioning
  • Assistive Listening Technology

Find communication access tips for your conference on the FAQS page.

A Note on Terminology

Sign Language Interpreters prefer to be called “interpreters” and not “translators”. Why? Simply put, sign language interpreting is an art. It’s a real-time engagement experience that connects two or more parties who speak different languages. The best interpreters take on the spirit of those they interpret for. Translating usually refers to a more strict, literal translation of one language to another, with more focus on semantic correctness.

Similarly, those with hearing loss who are not entirely deaf prefer to be called “hard of hearing” and not “hearing impaired”. The word “impaired” has a negative connotation that suggests those with hearing loss are less capable than those with full hearing, a misconception that HSDC actively works to disprove!