FAQ: How to coordinate a sign language interpreter

How and when do I secure a sign language interpreter?

Once you become aware that an interpreter is needed for your event, you may contact the Office of Accessibility for a list of interpreters who are current employees of The University of Akron. Most of the interpreters also are free-lance interpreters and accept assignments outside of The University of Akron. Their availability will vary. Also listed are two community agencies you may wish to contact:

Greater Akron Deaf Services (GADS)

Becky Brady, Coordinator

Greenleaf Family Center

Levi King, CSD Operations Manager

How much do interpreters charge for their services?

Generally, interpreter wages vary between $30-$35.50 an hour, based on certification and level of education. Community agencies will have an established hourly rate.

What does "two-hour minimum" mean?

A standard practice in the field is to guarantee the interpreter a "two-hour minimum." This means compensation is based on a two-hour minimum (for assignments of two hours or less). When the time of an assignment exceeds two hours, the time would be paid in 15-minute increments.

How should I pay an interpreter if the client does not show or cancels in advance?

If an interpreter reports to work, and a client is a no-show (no prior notification), we suggest that the interpreter be paid for the two-hour minimum. If an interpreter is notified in advance that a client has cancelled, payment often depends on the amount of time ahead of the event that the interpreter was notified. The policy used at the Office of Accessibility is to pay the interpreter if they have had less than 72 hours advance notice. Inform the interpreter of your no-show policy prior to their commitment to an assignment.

How many interpreters will I need for my event?

A good general rule is to use two interpreters if:

  • the event lasts more than two hours (over 1.25)
  • there are multiple speakers
  • there are several deaf students attending the event or
  • the terminology being used is complex

When you secure two interpreters, this is called "teaming," and the interpreters will take turns interpreting. It is recommended that the interpreters meet before the event starts to decide who will interpret first and how often they will trade places to interpret.

Are interpreters paid for mileage?

The policy of The University of Akron is to reimburse interpreters for their mileage if they travel a significant distance (50 miles one way). This potential expense should be discussed when an Interpreter accepts an assignment.

How are Interpreters paid following an event?

Interpreters who are already University employees are paid on a Hire/Rehire Personnel Action Form. Interpreters who are hired through an outside agency will have the agency send a direct bill to the department. The invoice would then be paid on a Peoplesoft Requisition.