The VDDHH Interpreter Services Program (ISP) includes the following activities:
About Sign Language Interpreters
About CART Services
Directory of Qualified Interpreters
For Consumers who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
For Virginia State & Local Government Agencies
For Virginia Courts
For Qualified Sign Language Interpreters
A qualified interpreter for the deaf or hard of hearing is a professional who facilitates communication between deaf and hearing individuals. A qualified interpreter has demonstrated proficient ethical and interpreting skills and has gained the knowledge and expertise required to function in a professional capacity.
Perhaps the biggest misconception concerning interpreting for people who are deaf or hard of hearing is the generally-held assumption that a beginning course in sign language or fingerspelling is a sufficient qualification to work as an interpreter. A person who knows conversational sign language does not necessarily possess the expertise required to perform well in the role of an interpreter. Professional interpreting requires intense training and experience before proficient levels of skill are attained.
The role of an interpreter is to accurately convey all messages between the individuals involved in the communication setting. Interviews, conversations and presentations can proceed at a normal pace, transitioning fluently from one communication modality to another, with the aid of a qualified interpreter.
The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc. Website:
As explained by the National Court Reporters Association :
VDDHH does not maintain a “directory” of CART providers in the same way we have a “Directory of Qualified Interpreters. The agency does have a list of CART providers that this agency uses to provide onsite services in Virginia state agencies and courts. There are also many “remote CART providers” who can provide services over the internet.
For more information about CART services, visit:
The VDDHH Directory of Qualified Interpreters (The Directory) provides credentials and contact information for freelance sign language interpreters in the Commonwealth who have granted VDDHH permission to include their information.
The Directory is divided into two sections:
There are many qualified interpreters in Virginia who are not listed in the Directory of Qualified Interpreters. You may want to go to the RID “Find an RID Member” search tool to find an interpreter. Be sure to select “Certified” in the section for “Category” so that you know the interpreter names that come up in your search are people who have current, valid certification.
General Information About VDDHH Interpreter Services for Consumers Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
Are you an employee or authorized representative of a state or local government agency in Virginia?
Do you have an appointment or event coming up that will require the services of a qualified sign language interpreter?
If you answered YES to both questions above, please continue reading to find out how to secure the services of a qualified sign language interpreter to meet your needs.
VDDHH has recently established an Interpreter Services Agreement and Manual for State Agencies and Sign Language Interpreters. This Agreement provides state and local government agencies in the Commonwealth with access to pre-qualified Sign Language Interpreters who have agreed to set rates and terms. Agencies may contact these interpreters directly or submit a General Sign Language Interpreter Request form to VDDHH for assistance in coordinating the assignment of an interpreter.
You can call us at 804-662-9502 and ask for the Interpreter Services office if you need more information.
The Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH) is charged with assisting state agencies and their local counterparts in the process of securing qualified sign language interpreters.
VDDHH maintains a contract for interpreter services in which other state agencies have the option of participating. Participating agencies are assured of consistent hourly rates and terms for interpreters. If you do not know whether or not your agency participates in the contract, please contact us.
VDDHH can coordinate interpreter services for state agencies whether or not those agencies participate in the VDDHH Interpreter Services Contract. There are two basic methods for doing this:
Use the “General Sign Language Interpreter/CART Request Form” which you can find in the Forms section above.
And a few reminders and tips:
If you must cancel a request, please be sure to make that clear in the subject line: “CANCEL Request: [AGENCY NAME], Richmond, 8/1/2011 ##### [VDDHH JOB #, if established]. DO NOT send a reply to the “Confirmation of Sign Language Interpreter” message to cancel an interpreter unless you change the SUBJECT LINE to include: CANCEL. Please remember that, if you cancel with less than 2 full business days’ notice, the interpreter(s) will still be able to bill for the full scheduled time.
CART is Computer Assisted Real Time Transcription. It is most often used by non-signing Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals. VDDHH does not maintain a contract for CART services. In cases where CART is required, the agency sends the request out to known providers in the area (limited) and requests information on their rates and terms for the assignment. Rates for CART are significantly higher than rates for interpreters; however, for jobs over two hours, you only need a single CART provider
VDDHH and the Supreme Court of Virginia have worked together, in accordance with the Code of Virginia (Criminal Code §19.2-164.1 and Civil Code §8.01-384.1), to ensure that persons who are deaf or hard of hearing who have business with any state court in the Commonwealth have access to effective communication through Sign Language Interpreters or CART services. The full text of the current Memorandum of Understanding can be found here.
Please use the COURT Sign Language Interpreter/CART Request Form to request sign language interpreters through the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH). You must submit a new request every time a case is on the docket, even if the interpreter agrees to or is ordered to return. You can also submit interpreter requests for pre-disposition, court-related assignments, such as court-ordered driver improvement clinics, meetings between court-appointed attorneys and their clients, etc.
Please submit interpreter requests as early as possible before the court date. The earlier you submit a request, the more likely we will be to successfully locate an interpreter. When filling out the form, please provide as much detailed information as possible. The information is provided only to the interpreter(s) assigned to that particular assignment.
Be sure to include the names of all key parties/witnesses, etc. and notation of which of these parties is deaf. Also, if possible, include an anticipated end time for the proceeding. If no end time is provided, the interpreter will be scheduled for the 2 hour minimum and may schedule additional assignments after that 2 hour time frame. The time frame is also important so that we know whether 2 interpreters are needed. If the actual working time for the interpreter will exceed two hours, or if more than one party to the case is deaf, 2 interpreters may be needed.
Please keep in mind that not all deaf people use American Sign Language. If a deaf or hard of hearing individual needs or requests an oral interpreter, a foreign sign language interpreter (i.e. Spanish sign language, Vietnamese sign language, etc.), or CART services (a captioning process for deaf people who do not use sign language), please indicate this on the request form.
You may email the completed request form to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax it to 804-662-9718 As soon as an interpreter is assigned, VDDHH will e-mail confirmation to the contact person indicated on the form. If we are unable to locate an interpreter for the case, we will notify you as soon as possible.
If a case is canceled or continued before the scheduled date, please contact us immediately. If a cancellation is made with less than 24 hours notice, the interpreter will still bill for his/her scheduled time. Even if you have a short notice cancellation, please contact us so we can notify the interpreter and you can avoid being charged for his/her travel time.