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How To Learn Sign Language

Hiring a Sign Language Interpreter — Funeral


Hi, I’m Rae and I’m the owner of Rose
Sign Language Interpreting Company here in Colorado.  What we’re discussing today is funeral interpreting.  This is a request that we get pretty regularly
throughout the year and just about every time the same questions and misunderstandings come
up.  So, hopefully this video can resolve some
of those.  So, first of all I’m not a lawyer.  I work in the field of interpretation so I
have a really good idea of how the ADA (the Americans with Disabilities Act), how that
applies to a variety of situations and settings.  If you have specific legal questions, I strongly
recommend that you get in touch with your company’s legal counsel.  OK?  Alright.  So, first of all funeral interpreting tends
to be a last-minute or short-notice request, however you want to phrase that.  This is fine!  We do this all the time.  We do short-notice requests for a variety
of industries, all the time.  In this case, we REALLY get it!  Uh, planning a funeral must be one of the
hardest things a person can do and getting all those pieces together is difficult.  We’ll work with you.  We’ll make it work!  We’ll work together, we’ll make this happen.  Hi, I’m Rae and I’m the owner of Rose
Sign Language Interpreting Company here in Colorado.  What we’re discussing today
is funeral interpreting.  This is a request that we get pretty regularly throughout the
year and just about every time the same questions and misunderstandings come up.  So, hopefully
this video can resolve some of those.  So, first of all I’m not a lawyer.  I work
in the field of interpretation so I have a really good idea of how the ADA (the Americans
with Disabilities Act), how that applies to a variety of situations and settings.  If
you have specific legal questions, I strongly recommend that you get in touch with your
company’s legal counsel.  OK?  Alright.  So, first of all funeral interpreting tends
to be a last-minute or short-notice request, however you want to phrase that.  This is
fine!  We do this all the time.  We do short-notice requests for a variety of industries, all
the time.  In this case, we REALLY get it!  Uh, planning a funeral must be one of the
hardest things a person can do and getting all those pieces together is difficult. 
We’ll work with you.  We’ll make it work!  We’ll work together, we’ll make this happen. 
So, please don’t worry about it being a short-notice request, OK?  Secondly, uh,
as I mentioned the ADA in my intro, you have a legal responsibility under this federal
law, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, to provide access.  Um, this is not
the family’s responsibility to provide an interpreter.  It’s yours.  You are providing
a service to the general public, so that means that it has to be accessible to the general
public.  And accessible, again, does not mean that you’ll provide a service, like
interpreting, and then bill them for it.  That’s illegal!  This is just the cost
of doing business.  OK?  Um, I do recommend that you look up www.ADA.gov so you can see
the actual language of the law and educate yourself a little bit.  Um, again, you’re
paying, the family is not.  Don’t ask the family to bring a family member who can sign. 
First of all, interpreting for a loved-one who has passed away or interpreting for a
grieving loved-one… Personally I would say it’s impossible, to do well.  Uh, we are
neutral professionals.  Uh, when working with an agency, that’s what you get.  When
you’re asking a family member or a friend to provide interpreting services at an event
like a funeral, you’re not getting great services.  And it’s not appropriate, it’s
not legal to put that responsibility on them.  It’s just a bad idea in many, many, many
ways.  So, don’t do it!  Um, so what do you get when you work with an interpreter? 
What happens?  Well, uh, first of all, we’re gonna ask for some prep material (preparation
material).  We’ll need to know things like what music is going to be used, any readings. 
Um, the religious affiliation.  Um, the family or the deceased, um, because we need to be
able to interpret in the most respectful way we possibly can.  As far as music and readings
go… the thing that we all love about music is the metaphor and the poetry.  These things
are not a cut and dry interpreting process, they’re actually incredibly difficult. 
So, we need as much time to prepare an interpretation for those pieces.  Uh, we understand that,
again, this is a last-minute situation often and those things might not be available, or
even chosen, yet.  We’ll work with you, but whatever IS known, please let US know. 
Let us know that you’re going to be reading from Mark or from Ecclesiastes.   Or um,
whether you are performing an Orthodox or Reform Jewish service.  Um, we do need to
know these things so we can be as respectful as possible of the family and the friends
and the deceased.  Um, we are going to show up a little early: 15-20 minutes early to
make sure that we’re going to be set up in a place that’s visually comfortable,
but not, um (air parenthesis) “stealing the show”.  Uh, we’ll probably be up
in front and off to the side.  Uh, when the Deaf or Hard of Hearing person or persons
arrive, that can change depending on their preference, but typically we’re in the front,
off to the side.   Uh, we will interpret.  We will interpret all of the readings, music,
prayers, uh, eulogies.  We interpret everything.  We interpret whatever is said and whatever
is signed.  Uh, when the service is over, or when our contracted time with you is over,
we just leave.  Um, perhaps the family would like to continue, um, their process at home
with a gathering or a sitting at home.  Um, that’s when your responsibility to pay ends
and theirs begins.  Once it moves to THEIR house, that’s when they begin to pay, not
you.  So, um, once our time with you at your site is over, we leave.  Uh, afterwards,
our agency will bill you and then you pay us.  Again, don’t tack these fees onto
the family’s fee, that they owe you for the funeral director, for the space, for uh,
the cremation, the burial: none of it.  Interpreting services is not their responsibility, it is
yours.  OK?  Um, really, that’s all there is to it.  The moral of the story is that
you are responsible to pay and we need as much preparation material as you can get us. 
Um, thank you SO much by the way, for all that you do.  Um, funerals are, you’re
an important part of our lives.  It’s a… it’s a right of passage for a lot of us
and um the job that you do is not easy and we really appreciate you guys.  So, thanks! 
Have a great afternoon and if you have ANY questions, feel free to get in touch with
us at www.rosesignlanguage.com or you can call us at: (720)232-8370.  Thanks! (ASL
sign/gesture of fond farewell)

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