When someone needs sign language services or assistance, they may not know where to begin. One key consideration is how to select your ASL service. It is not a surprise that this is a critical decision since the quality of assistance could be detrimentally impacted if you select the wrong one. Wrong here does not mean bad, but it may not be the right ASL for your needs.
Here are some overall criteria to use when you begin this process.
Basic ASL Service Criteria
One immediate criteria for an ASL is do they have a wide range of services available. Sometimes when you are deciding what you need you may not even have information at the time to determine if the ASL has a complete offering of things you’re going to require. While there may be some variations between ASL companies, here are a few key areas they should all have:
For our purposes here we will take one area, ASL (American Sign Language) interpretation, and go into some of things you need to consider when selecting a service.
American Sign Language Interpretation (ASL)
Also referred to as ASL Interpretation, this is probably the most well known service to the public. We have all seen various interpreters at events, work, and other venues, highly focused on relaying their message to those requiring assistance. But there is more to administering ASL than this one aspect.
ASL Language Styles
There is more than just one style of sign language. There are at least three standard forms any ASL service should provide. These three essential styles are:
These three acronyms represent the three major styles of sign interpretation and communication. The first, ASL, stands for American Sign Language which is the most popular. With American Sign Language there are a number of things your servicer provider should offer.
Certification and Record Keeping
Even with something as well known as ASL, there are still professional standards to uphold. There are updates with styles, behavior, and other nuances that need to be adapted by the sign language practitioner. A good service will make sure all of their specialists are up to date with certifications, examinations, and the latest technologies.
This is very important since most people would not know what to ask, or what to check for if they were reviewing the credentials. A good ASL has strong record keeping and invests in their people to make sure that they have these certifications and that they are up to date. It is also time consuming. This is where your great ASL service comes in to take care of this so you can take care of your events.
Variety of Language Style Offerings
This same certification process holds true for the two less known styles, Signed Exact English (SEE) and Pidgin Signed English (PSE). Regardless, it is important that your ASL have signers trained in these languages when they are necessary.
One of Many Factors
It might seem daunting, but this is only one of a laundry list of criteria an ASL service should have. The need for experts who can sign in all three variations is just one of many critical areas that you should be aware of when choosing an interpreter.