Attachment M Guidelines for Sign Language







These guidelines are derived from Hawaii Administrative Rules, Chapter 11-218.







the right hand with the index finger & thumb making a circle pointed up and the other three fingers up and the left hand similar position pointing down & the two touching at the thumb & index finger This symbol indicates that a sign language interpreter is available. Sign language/English interpreting is a process by which communication is conveyed by an interpreter and two individuals, one of whom is hearing and one of whom is deaf.



What credentials should an interpreter have?


A credentialed interpreter holds a valid certificate awarded by the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, or a valid state classification awarded by the Disability and Communication Access Board.


What is NOT considered a valid credential of interpreting skills?


Completion of sign language classes indicates only that the person may know some signs. A signer is not always an interpreter. He or she should not represent him or herself as an interpreter without valid credentials.


Who do I hire as an interpreter?


The person who is deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind may state a preferred interpreter who should be hired when possible. If no preference is stated, then the interpreter with the highest level of credentials should be hired first, followed by lesser levels of credentials in descending order.


How do I hire an interpreter?


Contact the interpreter referral service listed at the end of this Attachment and provide them with the following information:



  • name of the person who is asking for the interpreter;

  • the purpose of the meeting;

  • location of the meeting;

  • the start and stop times of the meeting;

  • interpreter preference, if any, of the person who is deaf, hard of hearing or deaf-blind;

  • the name and phone number of an on-site contact person;

  • the agency or individual to be billed for interpreter services.


The referral service will then contact the appropriate interpreter and call you with the name of the interpreter accepting the assignment.


March 2008                 Attachment M, Page 1
Disability and Communication Access Board


How much does an interpreter cost?


The Disability and Communication Access Board sets guidelines for sign language interpreter fees based upon the interpreter’s level of certification. These guidelines are established for State Executive Branch agencies. Discuss fees with the interpreter before the meeting is scheduled. Fees should be agreed upon by the interpreter and the purchaser of services before the service is rendered.


When might I need to hire an interpreter who is deaf?


If a consumer who is deaf is highly visual or deaf-blind or uses a different sign language dialect, then hiring an interpreter who is deaf is necessary to ensure effective communication. This would require hiring two interpreters — one hearing and one deaf. The interpreter who is deaf acts as an intermediary and relays information between the consumer who is deaf and the hearing interpreter.


What if I need to cancel my request for interpreter services?


When interpreter services are canceled, fees are based on when you cancel and the length of the assignment, as indicated below. “Full charges” means the interpreter will charge for the full time of the scheduled interpreting assignment.











































Assignment Duration

Cancellation Time

Fees Charged


Less than 2 hours



At least 1 working day






Less than 2 hours



Less than 1 working day



Full charges



2 to 4 hours



At least 2 working days






2 to 4 hours



Less than 2 working days



Full charges



4 hours or more



At least 3 working days






4 hours or more



2 to 3 working days



Minimum of 2 hours plus half of remaining scheduled time



4 hours or more



Less than 3 working days



Full charges




March 2008                 Attachment M, Page 2
Disability and Communication Access Board


What if the consumer or the interpreter doesn’t show up?


According to the Hawaii Administrative Rules, Title 11 Chapter 218, “Communication Access Services for Persons who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind,” failure to appear by an essential person who is deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind or an essential person who is hearing is considered a cancellation and fees are payable to the provider as shown.  Failure to appear by a communication access provider is not a cancellation and no fees are payable to the provider who fails to appear.  For assignments where two providers are scheduled and one fails to appear, the solo provider shall be paid the full fee plus 30 percent of the hourly rate.


The following two pages provide tips on working with an interpreter:



(see graphics on page 4 and tips on page 5 of this ATTACHMENT)





March 2008                 Attachment M, Page 3
        Disability and Communication Access Board


cartoon providing four visual tips on how to work with an interpreter



March 2008                 Attachment M, Page 4
        Disability and Communication Access Board




  • Know when two interpreters should be hired.



For a meeting of more than one and one-half hours, and with constant interpreting, two interpreters should be hired. The interpreters will take turns every twenty to thirty minutes. If two interpreters cannot be hired, one interpreter should be given the option of accepting the assignment with frequent breaks. There are times when a team may consist of interpreters who are both deaf and hearing.




  • Provide good lighting for the interpreter.



If an interpreting situation requires darkening the room to view slides, videotapes, or films, auxiliary lighting such as a small lamp or spotlight is necessary so that the person who is deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind can see the interpreter clearly. If auxiliary lighting is not available, check to see if room lights can be dimmed and still provide sufficient lighting to see the interpreter. If it cannot be arranged on site, inform the interpreter and suggest the interpreter bring a flashlight.



  • Schedule breaks during the meeting.



The interpreter and the consumers who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind will need occasional breaks. These breaks allow time for the consumer to relieve eye strain caused by focusing on one position for a long period of time and for the interpreter to rest his or her hands and mind. Physical strain is also experienced by both the consumer who is deaf-blind and the tactile interpreter during prolonged interpreting situations, so frequent breaks should be scheduled for both.




  • Remember that the interpreter may be a few words behind the speaker.



Don’t speak too slowly or too quickly. If necessary, the interpreter or consumer may ask the speaker or signer to slow down or repeat a word or sentence for clarification. Given the nature of the interpreting process, the best interpreters use time lag to absorb an entire thought from the first language before producing it in the other language. All consumers should allow enough time for the message to be received and transmitted, so that either party can ask questions or join the discussion.




  • Recognize that the interpreter is a professional.



If there is sufficient time, a meeting agenda and/or a vocabulary list (for technical situations) may be mailed to the interpreter or provided when he or she arrives at the site. If the consumer who is deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or


March 2008                Attachment M, Page 5
      Disability and Communication Access Board


hearing is new to the interpreter, it is recommended that they meet a few minutes before the assignment to introduce themselves. This enables the interpreter and the consumer to become accustomed to each other’s sign dialect and preferences. The interpreters and consumers will agree on the best placement for the interpreter, (i.e., in sufficient light, not in front of a bright light source, etc.).


Who can I call to obtain an interpreter?


        Hawaii Interpreting Services
        (808) 394-7706




Who can I contact for credentialing of interpreters in Hawaii?






Local Interpreter Quality Assurance Screening
      Disability and Communication Access Board
      (808) 586-8130 TTY; (808) 586-8131V/TTY; (808) 586-8129 FAX



Who develops rules for state government agencies regarding sign language interpreter services?


The Disability and Communication Access Board (DCAB) develops administrative rules for providers of communication access services, such as sign language/English interpreters. The rules establish guidelines for State Executive Branch agencies hiring providers, including credentials and recommended fees. Contact the Disability and Communication Access Board for a copy of the rules or more information on hiring interpreters.


If you need to hire an interpreter on a fee-for-service basis, the next two pages, ATTACHMENT M-1 , provide a sample purchase order for interpreter services, as well as a sample invoice from a free-lance interpreter billing for services. (Please note that the hourly rate indicated on the invoice is for illustrative purposes only and not intended to reflect a recommended billing rate.)


March 2008                Attachment M, Page 6
Disability and Communication Access Board





Example of a State purchase order to pay for interpreter services


March 2008                 Attachment M, Page 7
Disability and Communication Access Board


ATTACHMENT M-1 (continued)


      500 Kauai Avenue
      Honolulu, HI 96800    




December 15, xxxx



Department of Protocol
        Accounts Receivable
        1234 Kona Street
        Honolulu, HI 96813


For services rendered during the month of December xxxx for interpreter services to provide communication access for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to access Department of Protocol programs.










December 1, xxxx 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 4 hours $100.00
  TOTAL   $100.00



Please send the payment to the address listed above.
























March 2008                Attachment M, Page 8
Disability and Communication Access Board