Q. Who is responsible for paying for the interpreter?
A. The enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1991 allowed for equal access to all persons with disabilities at no cost to them. Therefore, generally, the establishment requesting the service is responsible, unless undue financial burden could be proved. ADA also states that costs relating to equal access cannot be charged to the person with a disability or added to their bill.
Q. Where do I reach an interpreter?
A. You can contact the Community Center for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing at Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center.
Cuyahoga County (216) 231-0787
Lorain County (440) 277-4602
Q. What other services are offered?
A. CCDHH services include:
- American Sign Language interpreting services
- In-service programs
- Community info, education and referral
- Assistive listening device information
- American Sign Language classes
- Neuropsychological assessment, for individuals 4 to -21 years of age who are deaf or hard of hearing, to evaluate cognitive strengths and weaknesses
- Support services for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing and their families
- Advocacy and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) consultation
- Information and referral programs
- Summer youth programs
- SignStage educational programs
Q. What if I need an interpreter in the middle of the night or weekends or holidays?
A. Our agency provides interpreting services 24 hours/day, seven days/week. You can reach an interpreter by calling the emergency pager number, given when you contact our office. Call the emergency pager number and enter your phone number.
Q. If I can understand the Deaf person's voice, do I still need to get an interpreter?
A. Possibly not. Many Deaf people were not born deaf, thereby acquiring some language and vocalization skills early in life. However, this does not mean that the Deaf person has any hearing now, or that they are skilled lipreaders. There are many Deaf people with very clear, understandable voices. They may still require an interpreter.
Q. How do I know if I have to get an interpreter or not?
A. The best person to answer this question is the Deaf person. You can ask them if they would like an interpreter. Not all Deaf people want interpreters in every situation.
Q. For more information relating to ADA, you can call:
A. Community Center for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing at (216) 231-0787 (Cuyahoga County) or (440) 277-4602 (Lorain County). The Department of Justice at 1 (800) 514-0301 (ADA Hotline)
Q. Can we use a family member to interpret?
A. No. Family members are biased and cannot provide effective communication. For many years, the only interpreters were hearing family members. Interpreting has become a profession with its own educational standards and Code of Ethics.
Q. Can a Deaf person read lips?
A. Many Deaf people have the ability to read lips at varying degrees. However, even the best lipreaders do not get 100 percent of everything that is being said. Many factors affect the quality of lip reading, such as beards, mustaches, lighting of the room, etc. A Deaf person using American Sign Language (ASL) has a better chance at equal communication when an interpreter is provided.
Q. Can I just write notes with a Deaf person?
A. No. ASL is not a written language. ASL is truly another language; it has its own syntax and grammar and is very visual. Many Deaf people are not totally comfortable with English. This does not mean that they do not know how to read or that they are of low intelligence. It is like coming to America from another country. A certain percentage of Deaf people are very fluent in English, and others are not.
Q. Can I just take a sign language class or send one of my staff to a class to use them as an interpreter?
A. No. ASL is a complex language not to be mastered in one class or even a few classes. While learning the basics can help, it is important for the Deaf person to fully understand what is being conveyed. Another factor is that many hearing family members are NOT fluent in ASL or may not even know any signs at all.