sign language interpretation

Deaf Citizens Continue to be Oppressed by a Lack of Equal Access:

In Idaho, the house passed a legislation intended to give deaf Idahoans better access to qualified sign language interpreters and it’s now on its way to be presented to the Senate. Representative Kelley Packer said, “One of the most important and basic rights that we protect in our Constitution is freedom of speech, this is about the First Amendment right, this is not just about licensing. They have the right to have their communications especially in judicial system accurately portrayed and ethically cared for. And that’s what this bill does for them.” Packer states, “Idahoans with hearing impairments have suffered from substandard sign language interpretation. We have a lady that’s amputee in Caldwell because the wrong leg was amputated due to misinterpretation, we want to meet this standard, so that we know you can communicate well.” The bill passed the house with a 43-27 vote, however for it to actually become a law and be enforced, it needs to pass through the Senate and be signed by the governor. Providing professional sign language interpreters when needed is the law, and professional linguists can be accessed quickly and easily through a language service company.

Deaf Discrimination, And the Law:

Audism is the discrimination or prejudice against deaf individuals; basically, the notion that one is superior due to having the ability to hear. Many deaf individuals in this country are facing discrimination every day at public schools, universities, healthcare facilities, in courtrooms and in a variety of other establishments. The only difference between the deaf and the hearing is simply that, one can hear and one cannot. Frequently, deaf individuals are denied basic access to communication and in some instances, their lives are put in jeopardy due to the lack of accessibility to sign language interpreters. Simple considerations like providing sign language interpreters can help break through the language barrier to protect the rights of deaf individuals in America. Communication is key in deaf/hearing interaction and can be accomplished by providing deaf occupants of this country with the required sign language services that can make communicating in everyday life efficient for all parties involved.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination and guarantees, people with disabilities to have the same rights and opportunities to participate in and benefit from services offered within mainstream American society. Section 1557 is the civil rights provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), this law prohibits discrimination on any basis in certain health programs or activities which receive funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Covered entities are responsible for taking reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to all patients regardless of the circumstances. These anti-discrimination laws have been put into place to protect the rights of all citizens of this nation, and it’s easy to comply with the established laws by partnering with a language service company to ensure communication is facilitated.

Raising Awareness and Providing Sign Language Interpreters:

Diana Williams, a 58-year-old deaf woman was arrested by NYPD officers, she claims they wrongfully arrested her and denied her access to a sign language interpreter. She sued and has settled her lawsuit against the city for $750,000. Williams was detained for 24 hours, during which an interpreter was never provided, she was released without charge. Events such as this can be avoided by providing deaf individuals with sign language interpreters. Language services such as on-site interpretation or video remote interpretation (VRI) can ensure deaf individuals are granted the basic right of free speech. Having the ability to communicate with doctors, police officers, lawyers or educators is mandatory and should not be denied because of the need to bridge a language gap. Sign language interpreters are professionals linguists who interpret between spoken language and sign language. Spoken languages are not able to be interpreted into sign languages word for word, therefore this specific type of interpretation takes an extensive amount of skill to execute accurately. Denying access to a sign language interpreter allows room for detrimental or possibly life-threatening situations to occur. Abiding by the law and supporting anti-discrimination of deaf individuals means providing a sign language interpreter to form a link of communication and understanding between the deaf and the hearing.    

Niki’s Int’l Ltd. is a WBENC-Certified Women Business Enterprise with over 20 years of language service experience. A global network of highly skilled interpreters and translators are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for on-site, telephonic and video remote interpretation services. Our linguists are available in over 350 languages and dialects, and our network includes certified interpreters and translators. Our work is guaranteed with a $1 Million Errors & Omissions policy, so that you can be confident that your project will be completed with the highest level of quality and professionalism within the field. For more information contact us at 1-877-567-8449 or visit our website at

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