Remote interpreting services for members of the ASL community are critical, especially in these unprecedented and uncertain times. Nevertheless, many people do not understand the importance of remote interpreting to the community. In fact recently, numerous people online have made memes making fun of the ASL interpreters to the side of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during her coronavirus press briefings, provoking a response from the Sign Language Interpreters Association of New Zealand. On the other hand, certain state governments have incorporated their ASL interpreters to great effect. Chicago Governor J.B. Pritzker’s sign language interpreter Michael Albert has received praise for his remote interpreting from multiple new outlets including the Chicago Tribune.
After the creation of a national coronavirus task force, clarity of information is non-negotiable. However, closed captioning is often inaccurate, making the content of the press conferences more confusing than informative. Easy access to remote interpreting services is a must during this time. An English idea might be conveyed in two words, but in sign language, it could be formed from the combination of any number of signs. This makes holding remote interpreting services to the highest standards crucial, as a certified interpreter will know how to look over the material in a way that benefits their interpretation. In order to shine a light on the role these interpreters play for the ASL community, here are two key reasons why remote simultaneous interpretation for the deaf is absolutely essential.