Interpreter and Customer Schedule Confirmations Yesterday


Yesterday, due to some technical server updates, the automated schedule reminders of the next day’s schedules were not emailed to interpreters and select customers. We apologize. The issue has been resolved and you should see those emails start up again this afternoon at their regularly scheduled time.

Thanks!

A Shift in the San Diego Landscape


cliff_small_headshot

Thirty days ago NIS announced a restructuring plan to our staff interpreters in San Diego. Word of this quickly spread to the Deaf and interpreting community, leading to some rumors and speculation. Well, today is that day of transition, and I would like to speak about these changes.

First of all, this was NOT an easy decision for me or the company. I prize our staff interpreters and have enjoyed, and hopefully will continue to enjoy, a heartfelt friendship and association with all of them. I like them no less than my own family. Some of those caught up in this restructuring have been with us for OVER 20 years! To not be considered their employer anymore, is, for me, the end of a dream, a dream that I could be, practically speaking, someone’s “lifetime” employer. (It is a good thing I am typing this because I would have to leave the room if I was trying to say this in front of a live audience right now) (The people here in Starbucks must think I’ve had the worst coffee ever!)

I’d like to also say that I’m not the boss of everything. Like the weather, there are some things that are out of my control. Business landscapes go through changes in the weather. Some weather is manageable, some weather requires restructuring afterwards. Usually, after restructuring, the building is stronger and more prepared for the next storm that might arise. I expect that to be the case here too. We’re not folding our tent. We plan to be around for years to come.

When it was announced that NIS planned to release ALL of their staff interpreters into the freelance marketplace in San Diego, some with an interest in this didn’t know what to make of it. They asked..”what does this mean?”. Well, in real terms, if you’re curious, this involved 8 interpreters. Some assume, because of name recognition, that it must mean far more interpreters than that. This is because MOST of the interpreters we work with are freelance interpreters. These 8 will now be joining, if they choose, the much larger group of freelance interpreters in the area. It is very likely that if you are a customer/client accustomed to receiving service from them, that you WILL see them again.  We value the many relationships we have in San Diego with you, our customers, clients, and contractors. That has not changed and will never change. We will continue to do our very best to be flexible and professional when meeting your scheduling needs.

I just returned from San Diego. I had been there for a week. I apologize to those I didn’t get to see or those friends and professional colleagues who did not know I was in town! In the weeks and months to come I will be in San Diego more frequently and hope to see and catch up with all of you. Next time I will announce my arrival through Facebook and Twitter and should have more time to visit.

Cliff Hanks
President
Network Interpreting Service Inc.

Interpreters are “Expensive”


cliff_small_headshotOver the years I have witnessed people refer to American Sign Language Interpreters as “expensive.” I would like to suggest that this label is, at most, unjustified, or at least, not helpful.

It is of course quite rare for a Deaf individual to pay for interpreting services out of their own pocket. The cost of service is almost always paid for by the organizations with whom they are engaging. Perhaps it is a little ironic, or only coincidental, that it is often Deaf consumers who throw the word “expensive” into the discussion. Depending on their role or involvement, a Deaf consumer may or may not know how affordable the services are for the organization actually securing the service.

An unanticipated cost does not, by definition, equal “expensive”. For most organizations, ASL interpreting expenses are rare. Because of this, they are often forgotten during the budgeting process and end up surprising those in charge. An unanticipated expense may be painful but that does not necessarily mean the services being paid for are expensive. If, for example, a large convention, thinking ahead, added a few cents or dollars to the cost of general registration to prepare for the rare but possible cost of communication access requests, the expense would be easily managed and the label of “expensive” may not be tossed around so freely, stigmatizing communication access.

There is no right or wrong when it comes to the price of interpreters. They are, in my opinion, neither expensive nor cheap. Their price ranges fluctuate according to the cities where they live, work, play, raise families and make contributions. Each city or region has a certain cost of living, a certain number of qualified interpreters available in the pool, and a certain volume and style of demand. These dynamics, along with costs associated with securing and then maintaining professional certification, year round workshop attendance, professional liability insurance, vehicle maintenance and travel costs, ultimately determine the price. That being said, it has been my observation that interpreting services are still perfectly and completely affordable by practically every organization that is asked or required to secure them. Therefore there is no reason, in my opinion, to intentionally or unintentionally shame interpreters by throwing the word “expensive” into the mix. If we want to attract and keep a talented, highly qualified pool of interpreters who are available 24/7/365, along with related support systems, then we should hope and pray they are well and fairly compensated; perhaps even close to “expensive”.

Cliff Hanks
President,
Network Interpreting Service Inc.

(This originally appeared in the Idaho Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing August 2014 Newsletter)

Idaho ASL Interpreter Licensing Town Hall Meetings


—Passing Along–

Information from Idaho RID’s Facebook page:

Interested in learning more about the Idaho sign language interpreting licensure bill?

Join us for a town hall forum:
Thursday, May 8th at 7pm
Idaho State University – Meridian, Room 689
1311 E. Central Ave., Meridian, Idaho

We will discuss the highlights and rationale of the bill, and look forward to your questions and feedback on the bill.

After 7pm, you do not need a parking pass. Enter the campus and follow the signs to ISU. Come in the main entrance. The doors in the building lock at 7pm, so you will need to wait for someone to come get you if you arrive late. We will send someone to check at 7:10pm. The meeting will be held in room 689.

For those of you attending this meeting via distance learning in Idaho Falls, go to 1784 Science Center Dr., Idaho Falls, ID 83402, and go to the CHE building, which is on the left. You will need a parking pass, so RSVP to Holly Thomas-Mowery, and she will send you one via email.

For folks living in Northern Idaho:
Town Hall Meeting
Sponsored by:
The Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Idaho Association of the Deaf
Idaho Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf
Date: Thursday, May 15, 2014
Location: Shilo Inn Suites – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
702 West Appleway
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
CDA Room
Time: 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Please come and discuss the future of Interpreter Licensing in Idaho. We are interested in your thoughts, ideas and recommendations. This open forum will give you an opportunity to talk about your concerns and give you a chance to relay them.

Who Should Attend: Interpreters, Deaf/hard of hearing individuals, parents Legislators, teachers, those who enlist interpreter services or anyone with an interest in this issue.

Facilitators: Steven Snow, Executive Director of the Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Alan Wilding, President Idaho Association of the Deaf
Questions: Call (208) 334-0879
Interpreters will be provided.

To view or download the Sign Language Interpreter Licensure bill (draft), please check out the links on the front page of IdahoRID website:http://www.idahorid.org/home

Please let Steven Snow, Alan Wilding, or any member of the task force know if you have any questions!

Stefanie Saltern,
IAD Secretary 2013-2015