Sign language interpreting helps provide effective communication for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.  The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 established certain measures to prohibit instances of discrimination because of a person's disability. The ADA requires that the communication needs of people who are deaf or hard of hearing are met, and this frequently requires the use of an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter.

In your effort to provide effective communication, you may find yourself in need of additional guidance.  Whether you are an individual, a business, an interpreter referral agency, a doctor, a lawyer, or some other entity in need of a certified sign language interpreter, these resources are sure to point you in the right direction.

Situations and Recommended Interpreter Certification Levels

The following list of settings for use of certified BEI interpreters is not all-inclusive. When choosing a certified interpreter for an assignment, the person or entity should find a comparable or similar situation on the list and then locate the recommended category to determine the appropriate certification level. The person or entity should carefully evaluate the situation and consider communication needs and the expected complexity of the assignment. Special circumstances or unique communication needs may warrant the use of an interpreter with a specialized or higher level of certification than is recommended below.

Categories BEI

 A

Level I;
Signing Exact English (SEE);
Morphemic Sign System (MSS)

 B

 

Basic;
Oral Certificate: Basic (OC:B)

C

Level II

 D

Level III;
Level III-Intermediary;
Oral Certificate: Comprehensive (OC:C);
Oral Certificate: Visible (OC:V)

E

Advanced

F

Level IV;
Level IV-Intermediary

 G

Level V;
Level V-Intermediary

H

Master

I

Court Interpreter Certificate (CIC)

J

Trilingual Advanced

K

Trilingual Master

Texas law requires the use of an interpreter with BEI Court Interpreter Certification (CIC) or Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) Specialty Certificate: Legal (SC:L) in Criminal or Civil Court proceedings.
Information about the national Registry of Interpreters (RID) is available at http://rid.org/education/testing/index.cfm/AID/44.

Information about Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the legal requirements for interpreter certification in Texas public school settings is available at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=2147497727.

Law Enforcement Settings

Recommend: Category D, E, F, G, H, J, K

  • Civil Investigations
  • Arrests and Bookings
  • Meetings with Parole/Probation Officers
  • Restraining Order Application
  • Campus Police or other law enforcement investigations

Recommend: Category F, G, H, J, K

  • Polygraph Testing
  • Domestic/Family Violence Calls and Investigations
  • Abuse Calls and Investigations
  • Deposition
  • Parole Officer Conference

Criminal Court Settings

Recommend: Category I

  • Post Bond
  • Pre-trial release
  • Probation Officer Conference
  • Pre- and Post-Lawyer Conferences — Misdemeanor
  • Arraignment
  • Pre- and Post-Lawyer Conferences — Felony
  • Judicial Proceedings Courtroom, Grand Jury, Jury Duty, Deposition

Civil Court Settings

Recommend: Category D

  • Civil Weddings performed in or out of a courtroom

Recommend: Category I

  • Peace Bonds/Restraining Order, Copyrights/Patents
  • Minor Civil (Judicial) Proceedings, Civil Lawsuits, Non contested Divorce, Traffic Court
  • Routine Civil Procedures Wills and Trusts, Naturalization, Adoption
  • Major Civil Lawsuits
  • Jury Duty
  • Deposition
  • Contested Divorce
  • Child Custody or Child Welfare

Governmental Settings

Recommend: Category C, D, E, F, G, H, J, K

  • Governmental Procedures Federal, State, Municipal, or Private Agencies
  • Driver's License Testing
  • Application for Services
  • Inquiries Regarding Eligibility for Services

Recommend: Category D, E, F, G, H, J, K

  • Administrative/Governmental Proceedings (Primarily Voice-to-Sign)
  • City Council/Governmental Proceedings (Primarily Voice-to-Sign)
  • Legislative Proceedings (Primarily Voice-to-Sign)
  • Discrimination Proceedings — Prior to Court (Primarily Voice-to-Sign)
  • Tax Assessment/Appeal Proceedings (Primarily Voice-to-Sign)

Recommend: Category F, G, H, J, K

  • Administrative/Governmental Proceedings (Extensive Sign-to-Voice)
  • City Council/Governmental Proceedings (Extensive Sign-to-Voice)
  • Legislation (Extensive Sign-to-Voice)
  • Discrimination Proceedings — Prior to Court (Extensive Sign-to-Voice)
  • Tax Assessment/Appeal Proceedings (Extensive Sign-to-Voice)

Medical Settings

Recommend: Category B, C, D, E, F, G, H, J, K

  • Routine Eye Exam, Lab Work,
  • Physical Therapy, Audiological (Hearing Exam), Dental Care

Recommend: Category D, E, F, G, H, J, K

  • Routine — Physical, Hospital Admission, Neurological
  • Serious — Emergency Room, Minor Surgery, Abortion, Extensive Eye Exam
  • Counseling — Mental Health, Doctor, Diagnostic Interviews, Alcoholics Anonymous, Substance Abuse
  • Classes — Child Birth, Planned Parenthood
  • Therapy — Chemotherapy, Chiropractic, Ontological

Recommend: Category F, G, H, J, K

  • Major Surgery
  • Psychiatric Counseling, Evaluation

Platform Settings

Recommend: Category D, E, F, G, H, J, K

  • Speakers or Lectures (Primarily Voice-to-Sign)

Recommend: Category E, F, G, H, J, K

  • Speakers or Lectures (Primarily Sign-to-Voice)

Educational Settings (Preschool and K-12)

Recommend: Category A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, J, K

  • Registration, Classroom Extracurricular Activities (Primarily Voice-to-Sign)
  • Educational Lectures, Continuing Education, Driver's Education, TV Labs (Primarily Voice-to-Sign)
  • Support Services — Parent/Teacher Conference, Orientation, Tutoring, Life/ Work Skills
  • Educational Workshops (Primarily Voice-to-Sign)

Recommend: Category D, E, F, G, H, J, K

  • Classroom, Educational Lectures, Continuing Education, Driver's Education, TV Labs/Educational Workshops (Extensive Sign-to-Voice)
  • Support Services — Diagnostics, Evaluations, Academic Counseling, ARD/IEP Meetings

Education Settings (Institutions of Higher Education)

Recommend: Category D, E, F, G, H, J, K

  • Registration, Classroom, Extracurricular Activities (Primarily Sign-to-Voice)
  • Educational Lectures, Continuing Education, Defensive Driving, Labs (Primarily Voice-to-Sign)
  • Support Services — Orientation, Tutoring
  • Educational Workshops (Primarily Sign-to-Voice)

Recommend: Category C, D, E, F, G, H, J, K

  • Classroom, Educational Lectures, Continuing Education, Defensive Driving, Labs (Primarily Voice-to-Sign)
  • Support Services — Diagnostics, Evaluations, Academic Counseling
  • Education Workshops (Primarily Voice-to-Sign)

Vocational Training Settings

Recommend: Category A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, J, K

  • Basic Job Readiness Training (Semi-Skilled Technical or Unskilled Labor), Interview, Tutoring

 Recommend: Category C, D, E, F, G, H, J, K

  • Group Meetings, On-the-Job Training (Skilled Technical), Counseling, Diagnostic Evaluation, Sheltered Workshop

Economic Settings

Recommend: Category A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, J, K

  • Employment-Related Job Interview/Application
  • Personal Transactions Banking, Pre-wedding, Pre-funeral Arrangements
  • Economic Services Food Stamps, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, Welfare Card for Services, Public or Private Organizations, Benefit Program

Recommend: Category B, C, D, E, F, G, H, J, K

  • Employment-Related Employee/Employer Meeting, Union Meeting
  • Personal Transactions Mortgage and Loan, Insurance (Purchasing and Claims), Major Purchase (Car, Home)

Civil or Social Settings

Recommend: Category A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, J, K

  • Social Awareness Civic Club Meetings, Political Events
  • Independent Living Basic Living Skills, Half way House
  • Voter Registration

Community Settings

Recommend: Category A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, J, K

  • Bus Card, Recreation (Campus/Parks), Socialization

Recommend: Category C, D, E, F, G, H, J, K

  • TV News

Artistic Settings

Recommend: Category B, C, D, E, F, G, H, J, K

  • Performing Arts, TV (Artistic/Entertainment)