Who is responsible for requesting the Interpreter or Captioner?
The individuals, businesses and organizations, who are covered by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other state and federal laws requiring the provision of auxiliary aids and services as necessary to ensure effective communication with Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or Deaf Blind persons. Interpreting and captioning services are fee based, and NorCal will only accept requests from the individual, business or organization that will be paying for the services.
Who is responsible to pay?
The individual, business or organization covered by ADA are responsible to provide effective communication, and the costs of providing auxiliary aids and services necessary are considered part of the cost of doing business and the Deaf or Hard of Hearing consumer are not required to pay for such services provided to comply with ADA. Check with the IRS for tax credits that may apply to reasonable and necessary business expenditures made in compliance with ADA standards, such as providing Interpreters or any other auxiliary aids to the Deaf or Hard of Hearing consumer.
What does NorCal accept for payment of services?
NorCal accepts checks, money orders and credit cards (MasterCard and VISA)
Do I pay the Interpreter or Captioner after services have been rendered?
No, for businesses and organizations with an open account, an invoice will be sent after the services are rendered. For Individuals, businesses and organizations paying with a credit card, the charge will be applied after the services are rendered.
How do I know I have a Qualified Interpreter?
To ensure that you are working with a professional and qualified Interpreter is to work with an Interpreter that is certified. People who know how to sign may be able to converse casually with Deaf people, but may not have the training and expertise to accurately interpret or understand the role of the Interpreter. Often signers do not understand the issue of confidentiality and other issues that can rise in an interpreting situation relating to cultural and language differences. For certification, most Interpreters have completed professional Interpreter training and have extensive professional interpreting experience. Certifications are maintained by attending workshops, seminars and various trainings. All certified Interpreters adhere to a strict Code of Ethics that stresses confidentiality, impartiality and integrity.
How much notice is required to schedule and Interpreter or Captioner?
We will accept same day requests, but due to the high demand for interpreting and captioning services, we recommend 5 business days, or as much notice as possible. It is best, once it has been determined that services are needed to immediately call Dispatch, FAX, or e-mail your request for services. If possible, have the consumer present when scheduling an appointment. If the consumer is not present, try to have a few dates and times that will work for your agency and the consumer. When there is no Interpreter availability for the first requested time, often there is availability earlier or later in the same day, or another day in the same week.
Do you provide emergency services?
Yes, NorCal provides emergency interpreting services 24/7 for hospitals (ER room, Labor & Delivery), urgent care, mental health and law enforcement. These requests have top priority. Emergencies are life threatening or life changing events requiring an immediate response. A last minute request for a medical appointment will not be treated as an emergency request, but will be accepted based on the availability of Interpreters.
How do I make a request for services?
Requests for services can be made by phone with a Dispatcher, by FAX or by e-mail.
- Dispatch hours: 8am – 12pm (12pm-1pm closed) 1pm-4:30pm, Monday thru Friday, closed on holidays and weekends.
- PHONE (916) 349-7525 ● (209) 474-8996
- FAX (209) 349-7578 – Dispatcher will confirm availability within 1 business day. If you have not received confirmation within 1 business day, please follow up with a phone call.
- E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org – Dispatcher will confirm availability within 1 business day. If you have not received confirmation within 1 business day, please follow up with a phone call.
The office is closed and I need an Interpreter!
NorCal has Interpreters On-Call for after-hours emergencies only. Emergency request for services will only be accepted from hospitals, urgent care, mental health and law enforcement. If you have an emergency after hours call (916) 962-6055 or (209) 474-1535 .
How is the emergency request processed?
The after hours phone numbers go directly to our answering service. The Service will determine if the request is an emergency as per NorCal’s set protocol. Once it has been determined that the request is an emergency the service will contact the On-Call Interpreter. Before the Interpreter responds, they will call the requesting agency to confirm the request for services and to get additional information if needed.
What information do I need to give when requesting services?
- The Date and the Start and End time (This does not apply to emergency requests)
- Agency name requesting the services
- Location Name
- Requester’s name and phone number
- Address, City and zip code where the Interpreter needs to go
- The closest cross street
- The name of the site contact person and phone number
- The name of the Deaf consumer
- Billing identification numbers (Medical record, Date of birth, Release or Purchase Order)
- Nature of assignment (medical emergency, staff meeting, counseling, etc)
- If paying by credit card, need the name on the card, the number, and the card expiration date.
Why do I need two (2) Interpreters?
Interpreting demands constant mental and physical stamina, therefore some assignments particularly those that are lengthy or complex will require a team of two (2) Interpreters rotating at 20 – 30 minutes intervals. NorCal reserves the right to determine if an assignment, based on its length or complexity requires two (2) Interpreters. Generally, assignments exceeding 1.5 hours will require a team of two (2) Interpreters.
Can a Deaf or Hard of Hearing individual make a request for interpreting services?
YES, NorCal will accept a request for services from a Deaf or Hard of Hearing consumer if they are paying for the services.
I am not paying for interpreting services can I call and schedule an interpreter?
NO, NorCal accepts requests from individuals and agencies that will be paying for the services.
I have a problem and I need to have an interpreter!
If you are in a serious situation which an interpreter is needed, contact a Client Advocate at NorCal. The Advocate can help you get an interpreter.
I need to make a telephone call do I have to pay for an interpreter?
No, NorCal allows consumers to use Video Relay Services at the Sacramento office. If you do not wish to use the Video Relay Services, you can call and make an appointment to have your call interpreted by a NorCal staff interpreter at no charge.
ADA says I have a right to have a qualified Interpreter!
ADA does not say you have a right to have a qualified Interpreter. It says you have the right to have effective communication, and the majority of Deaf and Hard of Hearing prefer sign language because it is their native language and the most effective way to communicate. The ADA does say if an Interpreter is provided they have to be qualified. The qualified Interpreter must be able to interpret effectively, accurately and impartially both receptively, and expressively, using any necessary specialized vocabulary. When you make a request for an Interpreter, be sure to tell them that sign language is the most effective way to communicate with you. Not every business or organization must comply with ADA standards. You can always talk to a Client Advocate at NorCal to find out if a business or organization comes under ADA and are required provide effective communication for you.
I arrived to my appointment and I did not have an interpreter!
As a Deaf or Hard of Hearing consumer, you must ask for an Interpreter when you make your appointment. Do not assume the agency knows that you need an Interpreter. If you did ask for an Interpreter and you did not have an Interpreter at your appointment, ask the agency why you did not have an Interpreter. There can be many reasons why you did not have an Interpreter. Some of the reasons are, the agency made the request for interpreting services and no Interpreters were available, or the Interpreter scheduled is out sick or stuck in traffic, and sometimes a mistake is made when scheduling the Interpreter. The Deaf or Hard of Hearing person can always call NorCal Dispatch to confirm if an Interpreter has been scheduled for their appointment.
I am in the emergency room. Can I call for an Interpreter?
NO, you must ask the hospital to provide you with an Interpreter to ensure effective communication. The hospital is responsible to get you an Interpreter.
My Doctor will not provide me an Interpreter!
If you have asked for an Interpreter and the medical office does not provide you with an Interpreter, then contact a Client Advocate at NorCal to help you explain to the medical office what their responsibilities are to be in compliance with the ADA. Under the ADA you have the right to have effective communication! For some Deaf and Hard of Hearing people, writing notes is effective communication because they have a good understanding of the English language. The majority of Deaf and Hard of Hearing prefer sign language because it is their native language and the most effective way to communicate.
I was told I am responsible to get an Interpreter!
No, you are not responsible to get an Interpreter, but you can help by telling them which interpreting agency or Interpreter you want, and give them a phone number for them to call. Under ADA it is their responsibility to make sure you have effective communication, and if that requires an Interpreter, then they are responsible to make the arrangements for a qualified Interpreter.
I was told they will get an Interpreter, but I will have to pay for it!
You do not have to pay to get effective communication with any business or organization that comes under the ADA, not all businesses and organizations come under the ADA standards, then you may have to pay for your own Interpreter. If you are not sure, contact a Client Advocate at NorCal.
I was told to bring my daughter in to interpret for me at my Doctor’s appointment!
You have a right to have effective communication, and if you feel your daughter does not have the skill to interpret you can say no, and request they provide you with a qualified Interpreter. You have the right to privacy and to keep your medical appointment confidential, which means you have the right not to use a member of your family to interpret for you.