Some things to consider when arranging for sign language interpretation

Choosing a sign language interpreter by lowest price is not appropriate, nor is it necessarily true that more expensive means better. It needs to be “fit for purpose”. There are many factors that affect the prime imperative of ensuring effective communication.

The following questions and considerations may influence the decision of which interpreter(s) may be best-suited to a given scenario. It is always important to discuss the specifics with both the Deaf client(s) and the potential interpreter(s).

  • How many people will be speaking? (presenter or meeting)
  • How many Deaf people will be relying on the interpreter (if known)
  • What kind of ambient noise will there be (tradeshow floor, passing trains, …)
  • How specialized is the terminology?
    • How well known is it to the Deaf client(s)
    • How well known is it to the interpreter(s)
  • How sensitive is the subject matter?
    • Personal information
    • Commercially confidential
  • Is there written information that can be provided ahead of time to the Deaf client(s) and the interpreter(s)?
    • Is it written as clearly and concisely as possible?
  • Is the interpreter (from
    • Certified by AVLIC (Certificate of Interpretation, COI)
    • Accreditation (provincial and/or employer screenings)
    • Years of experience
    • Areas of experience/expertise
    • Comfort and familiarity with the nature and format of the appointment
    • Willingness to travel
    • Availability of a resume

When everyone arrives

  • Make sure everyone is introduced.

AVLIC promotes respect for the consumer’s communication rights by encouraging the use of qualified interpreters of their choice for barrier free communication. Asking the consumer for a list of interpreters with whom they have a good, professional working relationship with is vital to a successful, equitable interaction. For more information on consumer preference, feel free to contact us at

When contacting interpreters it is important to provide the date, time, duration and location of the appointment. However, it is important to keep the names of participants confidential until the interpreter has confirmed that they are available to work at which point particulars can be discussed before confirming services.