Information for American Sign Language (ASL) service providers

The content on this page was developed in collaboration with Provincial Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services and members of the Deaf community.

The goal of any appointment is to have clear and effective communication. To achieve this, you should make every effort to make your services accessible.

If you know sign language, you can work directly with a Deaf or Hard of Hearing client. However, if you or the client struggle to understand each other, reschedule and book an interpreter. If the client asks for an interpreter, provide one.

Being fluent in sign language and having interpreting skills are two separate skill sets. Be cautious using a family member, friend or co-worker to help with communication. Unless the individual is a registered professional, this is not a reliable way of communicating information. Using a registered professional trained in interpreting will ensure the most unbiased interaction. There could be omissions or errors during the interpretation that may put you at risk of liability. Without a registered interpreter, you have no recourse.

Seating arrangements

Visual language interpreters need specific placement, background and lighting. It is not possible to read signs with a cluttered or glared the background. To prepare, close the blinds in your office and there's enough room beside or behind your chair. The interpreter typically sits or stands beside you, so the deaf individual can see you and the interpreter in a single visual scan. Everyone has difference preferences. It's important to double check with your client before you begin.

Using a language list

If your workplace has a language list, be sure that you are hiring a WAVLI member. Then you'll know the person will be a Registered Sign Language Interpreter (RSLI).

The content on this page was developed in collaboration with Provincial Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services and members of the Deaf community.