When Does Sign Language Interpretation Become a Legal Obligation?

Four People Sat Around A Table with At Least Two Communicating in ASL

American Sign Language (ASL) is a system that was created to ease language communication for the deaf and hard of hearing community. Its use is legally mandated in several settings to make life easier for a minority that’s already cut off from the exchanges going around them on a daily basis.

Here’s when ASL becomes law.


Since the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was passed, it’s become important for many sectors not to discriminate on the basis of one’s disability. Sign translation services have made ensured the law is followed when it comes to those who can’t hear or speak for themselves, starting with education.


Several bills have been passed to ensure students are given equal access to the curriculum on all levels. These include the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and more. The laws are placed there to make sure students get adequate support in the form of educational interpreters, specialized curriculums, and so on.


If a patient or their guardian has a disability where they can’t hear well or at all, they’re provided with an ASL translator.


The law has allowed no loopholes where healthcare sectors are concerned. Be it the emergency room or radiology or even just admissions, every department is required to have a medical interpreter present to keep their charge in the loop about everything.
Woman In A Courtroom Conveying Information to Someone in ASL


From the human resources to the executives, the corporate sector needs to have an interpreter present when interviewing or conversing with a candidate with diminished hearing.


No matter how far they go in making their signs or building accessible for the disabled, absolutely every business has to abide by the rule of providing a line of communication for their employees.


Courtrooms are a bit different. It goes without saying that they provide all the equipment and resources necessary for a hard of hearing or deaf person involved in a trial, but they also place a lot of onus upon the interpreter to do it the right way.

For example, a legal translator of ASL must remain neutral, they should not add or exclude—until strictly necessary—any points made by either the court staff or the person they’re translating for.


Among other things, interpreters have to speak in the moment, maintain their client’s privacy outside, and refrain from commenting upon it.

Professional American Sign Language Communication Services in Chicago

If you’re looking for a trustworthy translation service agency, give Jeni Translations & Interpretationsa shot. Their Chicago interpreters have been in the translating business for several years, particularly in the courtroom but outside it as well. In addition to Spanish translations, they also do transcriptions, live interpretations, and ASL interpretations.


Get in touch to benefit from their legal translations.

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