New interpreter regulations seen as positive for deaf and hearing-impaired community

Summarized by Jennifer Reed, staff writer

On July 7 Michigan established some new long awaited rules to eliminate unqualified interpreters and to provide the right for the deaf and hard of hearing to refuse the use of video remote interpreting (VRI) when it does not meet their needs. The new regulations establish standards that interpreters must meet in regards to education and certification in order to provide sign language services in medical, legal, educational, and other settings. Consultant and interpreter, Janet Jurus-Hughes says, “The rules clarify what types of jobs (interpreters) can do and what they can’t do.” She also states that the rules should reduce ineffective communication resulting in higher quality health care, fewer discrimination suits, and enhanced patient safety.

The rules definitely improve the interpreting services, although some issues remain regarding out-of-state agencies that have lower qualification requirements, particularly when VRI is used. These out-of-state agencies also take interpreting jobs out of Michigan. For Michigan to recruit more interpreters, they would have to adjust their education program from two years to four years.

Read the full story here.

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