Southern Maryland Interpreting Service is committed to providing  quality  interpreting services in an ethical, respectful, professional, and conscientious manner which meets or exceeds the expectations of our consumers.

We are a privately-owned, certified small business with the State of Maryland and have been serving the unique and individual needs of Southern Maryland and the suburban communities of Washington D.C. since 1991.
We gladly provide services to federal, state, city and county entities, private corporations, educational institutions, and health care providers.

Interpreting is an intricate process of receiving a message in one language, grasping it’s meaning and intent, and delivering it into another language. This is a simple definition of a complex process which requires a high degree of linguistic, cognitive, and technical skills.

The interpreter seeks to bring conceptual equivalence from the source language to the target language. Often there is not parity in word and sign choice. Linguistically, English and ASL are as different from each other as any other two languages. Additionally, the modality difference between the two languages presents some unique challenges.

Rather than merely translating words or signs, a professional interpreter seeks to achieve equivalence by conveying the spirit and intent of the message.

The role of the interpreter is not that of consultant, advocate, sign-language instructor, or expert on Deaf culture. SMIS interpreters make a formal commitment to abide by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf Code of Ethics, to keep assignment-related information confidential, and to refrain from interjecting personal opinions or influence.

The responsibility of the interpreter is to interpret everything that is said into sign language and to interpret everything that is signed into spoken English. The interpreter conveys the emotions and messages of the people involved and does not add or delete information. The interpreter is required to remain neutral and does not share opinions or give advice.

Government

Government Settings

City County State Federal

  • Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act outlines the steps that all state and local governments are required to take to ensure that their communications with people with disabilities are as effective as communications with others.
  • Federal employee rights are covered under Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits employers, employment agencies, labor unions and joint labor-management committees from discriminating against persons with disabilities. ADA obligations are placed on employers of fifteen or more people.
  • Reasonable accommodations, for deaf employees who rely on sign language, include the provision of qualified sign language interpreter services. For some individuals and for some jobs, it may be necessary to have interpreter services available on a regular basis. For other employees or for job applicants, occasional interpreting on an as-needed basis may be sufficient. The ADA requires employers to make sure that deaf employees or job applicants can communicate effectively when necessary. This includes special occasions and meetings, training, job evaluations, and communication concerning work, discipline or job benefits. It also includes regular work-related communication and employee-sponsored benefits and programs.
  • SMIS adheres to and is in compliance with all state, county and federal contract mandates. SMIS is committed to working with the employer/employee in assigning an interpreter that is the best match in terms of technical expertise, attitude, subject matter, and dedication to the consumer’s needs. All assigned interpreters must adhere to the NAD-RID Code of Professional Conduct.
Education

Interpreting in Educational Settings


  • (K-12)

Following the passage of a number of laws concerning the education of deaf children, educational interpreting has become more common in elementary and secondary schools. This is a growing profession and can be one way of making school programs and services more accessible to children who are deaf. As a member of the educational team, the interpreter should be an educated and qualified professional.

The role of the educational interpreter

Educational interpreters facilitate communication between deaf students and others, including teachers, service providers, and peers within the educational environment. The educational interpreter is a member of the educational team and should be afforded every opportunity to attend meetings where educational guidelines are discussed concerning students who are provided services by that interpreter.

The interpreter may perform in a variety of settings, in and outside of the classroom including instructional activities, field trips, club meetings, assemblies, counseling sessions and athletic competitions. In some schools, interpreters may also interpret for deaf parents, deaf teachers, and other deaf employees.


  • (Post Secondary)

Educational interpreters facilitate communication between deaf students and teachers, academic service providers and peers within the educational environment. In the classroom, the instructional content varies significantly, and the skills and knowledge necessary to qualify an interpreter vary accordingly. In the primary grades, the interpreter needs a broad basic knowledge of the subject areas such as mathematics, social studies, and language arts. At the secondary level, the interpreter needs sufficient knowledge and understanding of the content areas to be able to interpret technical concepts and terminology accurately and meaningfully.

As a recipient of federal financial assistance, a post-secondary institution has an obligation under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to be accessible to students and other individuals with disabilities. The U.S. Department of Education has determined that these institutions must provide necessary auxiliary aids, including interpreters for deaf or hard of hearing persons. This obligation applies to all of the activities of the college, including extracurricular activities, off-site internships, and activities open to the public, or to part-time, non-credit or non-matriculated students, and to employees.


Healthcare

Health Care Settings

  • Effective communication between consumers who are deaf or hard of hearing and health care providers is essential to provide safe and effective medical treatment.
  • Title III of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to all private health care providers, regardless of the size of the office or the number of employees. It applies to providers of both physical and mental health care. Hospitals, nursing homes, psychiatric and psychological services, offices of private physicians, dentists, health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and health clinics are included among the health care providers covered by the ADA.
  • Using a qualified sign language interpreter not only helps to ensure that the health care provider is compliant with the ADA, but it allows the deaf or hard of hearing patient to fully participate and make decisions in health care treatment. A qualified interpreter is an interpreter who is able to interpret effectively, accurately, and impartially, both receptively and expressively, using any necessary specialized vocabulary.
  • Sign language interpreters are necessary in any situation in which the information to be exchanged requires clear and effective communication. This includes:

 Taking a patient’s medical history

Giving diagnoses

Performing medical procedures

Explaining treatment planning

Explaining medicine prescription and regimen

Providing patient education or counseling

Describing discharge and follow up plans

Admitting to emergency departments/urgent care

  • Without interpreting services, medical staff run the risk of not understanding the patient’s symptoms, misdiagnosing the patient’s medical problem, and prescribing inadequate or even harmful treatment. Similarly, patients may not understand medical instructions and warnings or prescription guidelines.
  • A health care facility may be asked to provide a qualified sign language interpreter when the consumer is a deaf or hard of hearing patient, a relative or a partner involved in the patient’s health care. When critical medical information is communicated during routine wellness care, urgent care, preventative care, surgical procedure, or in obtaining an informed consent for treatment, using a sign language interpreter can facilitate communication and keep it smooth, accurate and efficient. Classes, support groups and other activities that are open to the public must also be accessible for deaf participants. The use of an interpreter enables all of the parties involved to ask questions, express concerns, receive accurate and important information, and avoid the frustration that may arise with miscommunication.

MENTAL HEALTH

  • Title III of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to all private health care providers, regardless of the size of the office or the number of employees. It applies to providers of both physical and mental health care.
  • The mental healthcare field is broad and includes psychiatric assessment and treatment, group and individual psychotherapy, counseling, psychological testing, substance abuse treatment and more. Settings include inpatient and outpatient settings, peer-led settings (such as AA or “self-help groups”), outreach settings, day programs, private clinician’s offices, clinic settings, emergency rooms, forensic and court venues, and long-term residential care settings.
  • To perform effectively in these settings, interpreters require knowledge about the diversity of mental healthcare environments, including the goals and norms of specific settings and interventions. Interpreters need to be familiar with the types of mental health professionals who are present in various settings, their roles, their communication goals and their treatment methodologies. Working in the mental healthcare field also entails specific legal and regulatory obligations which apply to interpreters as well as clinicians.

** Health Providers arrange and pay for interpreting services. These expenses are typically tax deductible. Please consult your tax advisor regarding specific requirements and appropriate forms**

Business

Employment / Business Settings

  • In the private sector, employee rights are covered under Title I of the ADA that mandates that employers and other covered entities are required to make reasonable accommodation to the employee.
  • Reasonable accommodations, for deaf employees who rely on sign language, include the provision of qualified sign language interpreter services. For some individuals and for some jobs, it may be necessary to have interpreter services available on a regular basis. For other employees or for job applicants, occasional interpreting on an as-needed basis may be sufficient. The ADA requires employers to make sure that deaf employees or job applicants can communicate effectively when necessary. This includes special occasions and meetings, training, job evaluations, and communication concerning work, discipline or job benefits. It also includes regular work-related communication and employee-sponsored benefits and programs.
  • The full potential, energy, creativity, and dedication of any employee may be accessed when the employee is allowed to feel completely included through the provision of a qualified sign language interpreter. Although an interpreter’s professionalism, credentials, education, fluency, and experience are extremely important, interpreters who work in employment related settings should also possess fundamental experience and familiarity with the targeted profession and subject matter.
  • SMIS is committed to working with the employer/employee in assigning an interpreter that is the best match in terms of technical expertise, attitude, subject matter, and dedication to the consumer’s needs. All assigned interpreters must adhere to the NAD-RID Code of Professional Conduct.
Legal

Legal

  • Deaf people have a legal right to a qualified interpreter. In legal settings, a qualified legal interpreter will have a specific skill set to ensure that the deaf person’s right to be present and participate is not compromised. Legal interpreting requires highly skilled and trained specialists because of the significant consequences to the people involved in the event of a failed communication.
  • Legal interpreting includes courtroom interpreting in addition to attorney/ client conferences, investigations by law enforcement, depositions, witness interviews, real estate settlements, court-ordered treatment, educational programs and administrative / legislative hearings.
  • We provide skilled interpreters for courtrooms and legal proceedings. Our interpreters are trained to accurately relay the communication, including legal terminology, to and from the Deaf or Hard of Hearing individual.

For the Courts:

Criminal Cases

Civil Cases

Mediations

Magistrates

Penitentiaries

For General Legal:

Attorney Client Meetings

Mediations

Depositions

Table interpreting of Privileged Information in Court Room Settings

On Location Services (ie. at jail for attorney client meetings)

Specialized Needs in any Legal Setting:

24/7 Remote Interpretation with an approved device

Police Interrogations

Police and Legal Interviews/Investigations

Booking and Release

Trilingual Interpretation of Spanish/English/Sign language

Deaf Interpreters Available for Clients with Added Special Needs

Tactile Interpretation for Deaf/Blind

Qualified Legal Interpreter

  • Legal interpreters are governed by the NAD-RID Code of Professional Conduct which requires that interpreters “possess the professional skills and knowledge required for the specific interpreting situation.”
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) requires the use of “qualified interpreters.” The implementing regulations define a qualified interpreter as one “who is able to interpret effectively, accurately and impartially both receptively and expressively, using any necessary specialized vocabulary.”
Religious

Religious Settings

  • Religious interpreting typically occurs in settings which are spiritual in nature. These settings can include worship services, religious education, workshops, conferences, retreats, confession, scripture study, youth activities, counseling, tours and pilgrimages, weddings, funerals and other special ceremonies. Interpreting in a religious setting, to be effective, often requires an intensive understanding of liturgical terminology.
  • Interpreters will want to be made aware of the consumer’s cultural expectations and preferences. Preparation for a religious setting becomes increasingly necessary in proportion to the projected psychological/historical content of the text and of the event. Access to all the materials, along with the order of each event/ceremony, with sufficient time to prepare appropriately, is central to the interpreting function. Preparation would also include information and detailed attention as to what is or is not acceptable, permissible to (or not to) interpret and appropriate attire.
  • We will no longer be able to accept assignments that are contradictory to the personal beliefs of our interpreters. Interpreters will only be able to accept assignments in a religious setting where they can faithfully and impartially interpret the message. As such, we will be unable to offer religious interpreting services for services that contradict the Christian faith. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause, and thank you for your understanding.
  • In addition, interpreters who are members of RID must adhere to the NAD-RID Code of Professional Conduct regarding confidentiality and should keep all interpreted information confidential, such as confessions, counseling and private meetings.
  • SMIS has a select number of interpreters who interpret for weddings, funerals, memorial services, and/or religious services/retreats on a case by case basis.
Social

The ADA requires private businesses and organizations to provide services to ensure effective communication with Deaf or hard of hearing attendees so they may enjoy an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from those events.

SMIS has the expertise to assist in arranging interpreting services so that programs are accessible for communication and so that deaf and hard of hearing participants may benefit to the fullest extent.

Social Events

    Recreation activities
    Cultural events
    Community meetings

Family and Personal Events

    Weddings
    Family meetings
    Funerals
    Holiday gatherings, Parties

Public Events

    Parades
    Political
    Social Rallies

Performing arts – Theatre, Concerts

Live interpreting of the performing arts into American Sign Language (ASL) enables Deaf people to participate in cultural activities from which they would otherwise be excluded.  Our goal is to provide the most appropriate interpreter from a selection of interpreters who have a wide range of experience and skill.  Our interpreters do not simply translate words into sign.  They have the expertise to share with a Deaf audience the subtleties of a variety of works from Shakespeare to contemporary and from musical to comedy.

Public Access Settings

Trade shows, exhibitions, and marketing events are designed to attract customers and patrons with a common interest in areas such as automobiles, RV’s, gardening, crafts, cultures, or careers. At these events, consumers, businesses, and organizations communicate about themselves, their products and services. Informational workshops or demonstrations may be conducted and announcements may be broadcast using a public address system.