As outside forces seek to control sign language interpreter rates of pay, professional standards, and hiring practices, Brandon Arthur drafts a Sign Language Interpreter’s Bill of Rights.
If you haven’t seen it, you soon will. Due to economic pressures, businesses and individuals hiring interpreters are challenging (and attempting to redefine) our rates, standard practices, and national credentials.
In my view, if we handle these challenges poorly we will be putting the foundation of our industry at risk.
So, what do we do? Why not an Interpreter Bill of Rights? I know it may seem a little crazy, but service providers in other industries have them, why not sign language interpreters?
What comes next certainly isn’t perfect, but it’s a start. Care to add?
Sign Language Interpreter Bill of Rights
Statement of Rights
An interpreter accepting an assignment to deliver sign language interpreting services has the right to:
- Be treated with respect and dignity, regardless of their race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability or sexual orientation.
- Receive, in advance, sufficient information about the D/deaf customer and the terms of the assignment in order to determine suitability.
- Know the name(s), if any, of any other interpreter(s) already engaged for the assignment, and to decline the assignment based on such information.
- Deliver services in a manner that honors customer preference, complies with industry standard practices, and allows for active support of team interpreter(s).
- Be told, in advance, of any changes to the terms of an assignment and to have the opportunity to confirm agreement to these changes.
- Decline an offer to provide services for any reason or no reason.
- Have personal, compensation, and credentialing information kept confidential, and to be advised of the disclosure of such information.
- Request the information and methodology used to determine rate of compensation.
- Request prompt payment for services rendered.
- Work in an environment free from physical and verbal abuse.
- Seek replacement on an assignment where:
- Customer or co-interpreter’s conduct alters the terms or conditions of an assignment, or creates an abusive or unsafe environment; or
- An emergency or a significant change in the interpreter’s health has resulted in an inability to provide effective services
- Voice concerns and/or grievances to the coordinating entity regarding the provision of service in connection with the assignment, or regarding a lack of courtesy or respect for the interpreter.
- Assert these rights personally, without retaliation.