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Unread 03-18-2009, 07:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
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ASL Interpreter Agencies

How can I go about knowing what agencies are good to freelance/contract through? Some are dedicated to asl interpreting, others are full staffing agencies. Some of the staffing agencies have heavy requirements when it comes to hospitals, like the time consuming health record updating, etc.

Thoughts?
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Unread 03-18-2009, 09:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You can contact them and find out more about what they have to offer and what they require. Then you can decide which ones fit your desires and abilities, and apply to those.

I'm curious about what you mean by, "Some of the staffing agencies have heavy requirements when it comes to hospitals, like the time consuming health record updating, etc." Can you elaborate on that please?
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Unread 03-18-2009, 11:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I see you're in the DC area. I would HIGHLY recommend working with one of the MANY well-known and very reputable agencies in the area. I have personally worked for BIS and PIE, and I know many people who have worked for VLI and SLA. I currently work for GIS. All of those are excellent. In fact, sign up with all of them if you like! As a freelancer, you have the right to do that.

I'm not sure what you mean about the staffing agencies either. The DC area is probably the biggest interpreter market in the country, I would go with an ASL interpreting focused agency rather than some organization that happens to include ASL among its offerings.
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Unread 03-19-2009, 11:27 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Well what I means is that to work on hospital assignments some agencies need terps to have immunization and drug/background tests up to date b/c some hospitals require it. All kinds of forms signed, etc. Hard to find time for it.

Does anyone do hospital work freelance through an agency? Do some require more than others?

I guess DC is lucky to have high rates from what I've seen other people post.
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Unread 03-19-2009, 11:36 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by terp1984 View Post
Well what I means is that to work on hospital assignments some agencies need terps to have immunization and drug/background tests up to date b/c some hospitals require it. All kinds of forms signed, etc. Hard to find time for it.

Does anyone do hospital work freelance through an agency? Do some require more than others?

I guess DC is lucky to have high rates from what I've seen other people post.
What agency is telling you this? What hospitals require it? I've interpreted in four different hospitals in Baltimore and DC, and I've never heard of anything like this. I've interpreted in the ER, cardiac wards, cancer wards, psych wards, pediatric wards, and I have never had to give ANY personal information like that. Where did you hear about this?

All of my hospital work was freelance, I've never done hospital work as staff.

And yes, DC does have some of the highest rates in the country. This is the best place to work in my opinion!
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Unread 03-19-2009, 11:39 AM   #6 (permalink)
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it's some of them. medstar ones. something recent medstar demanded for requirements for badge entry. photo, drug/background, recent shots. all that jazz

you are a quick responder, thanks!
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Unread 03-19-2009, 11:58 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by terp1984 View Post
it's some of them. medstar ones. something recent medstar demanded for requirements for badge entry. photo, drug/background, recent shots. all that jazz

you are a quick responder, thanks!
Ah, I have never interpreted at any MedStar facilities. If you're worried about the time involved, just decline those assignments if they come your way. Trust me, there is PLENTY of work - including medical, if that's your passion - in the DC area that doesn't involve such paperwork!

As I've mentioned, the DC area is full of reputable agencies; I'd pick one of the ones I mentioned above. Stay away from the "national" ones though unless their HQ is in DC. There's SO much work here, you can work 40+ hrs a week as a freelancer if you want!

And what can I say, I'm glued to my computer and pager all day long, LOL.
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Unread 03-19-2009, 12:03 PM   #8 (permalink)
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On the other hand, what the OP is saying about Medstar just might be a very good thing, yanno?
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Unread 03-19-2009, 01:34 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I've done many hospital assignments as a freelancer and as agency terp. I've never been required to do those things. The only "medical" requirement was signing HIPAA confidentiality forms (takes less than a minute).

If the terp agency or hospital picks up the tab for these "requirements" it might be worth the time. How much of your time does it take up anyway, especially if you aren"t yet employed?
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Unread 03-19-2009, 04:51 PM   #10 (permalink)
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The terp that works with me in the hospital is required to have a PPD (TB test) annually, show immunization records, and is encouraged to get a flu shot every year. Same with the terps working at the University Hospital.

Personally I think it makes good sense, both to protect the terp and to protect the client from transmission of disease.
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Unread 03-19-2009, 04:54 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I suppose it's a good idea for anyone who works in a hospital. My experience has been that I'm treated as any other visitor, though...whatever rules and precautions there are for people visiting family members, etc, that's what I've always done. I've had to wear isolation garb when there has been suspicion of TB but that's it.

So much for my attempt to steer the conversation back to the OP's question about agencies.
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Unread 03-23-2009, 02:00 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I recently called SLA a few times and no one ever answers. It is just me?? lol
I have an interview this week at one agency who is also a staffing agency (Graham) and have yet to talk to more places.

When will is get warm again??
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Unread 03-23-2009, 11:18 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by terp1984 View Post
I recently called SLA a few times and no one ever answers. It is just me?? lol
I have an interview this week at one agency who is also a staffing agency (Graham) and have yet to talk to more places.

When will is get warm again??
Personally I would avoid those staffing agency places. Deaf people care about where their interpreters are from, and names like GIS, SLA, VLI, BIS, PIE, etc mean something to them but Graham does not. Can I ask why are you applying to them? I would question what they do in terms of evaluating your qualifications...do they have deaf people AND certified interpreters on staff to interview you? I notice on their website that they seem to have only one contract with a single government agency - that may mean the jobs they have are limited, too.

I don't know why SLA hasn't called you back, have you tried their website?
Jobs for Interpreters: Sign Language Associates, Inc.-Job Opportunities Washington DC

There's plenty of very good, reputable interpreting agencies here, I would really recommend investing your time with them rather than a generic staffing agency. It's good to have as many opportunities as possible, but it's best to do that by signing up with multiple interpreting agencies!

As for the warm weather...it's coming soon! LOL. Where are you from originally?
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Unread 03-25-2009, 02:19 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I was looking on Graham's website and saw they had testimonials from a few different agencies. Which link were you looking at? I'd be interested to see it!

I'm applying to them because they seemed to have a lot of opportunities and they answered the phone..haha. I'm very interested in whether they have much exposure in the deaf community though because that is very important to me. Does anyone know??


Yes, I tried the website and called...weird! The warm weather needs to return - although, I am used to this weather since I grew up in Maryland...
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Unread 03-25-2009, 02:37 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terp1984 View Post
I was looking on Graham's website and saw they had testimonials from a few different agencies. Which link were you looking at? I'd be interested to see it!

I'm applying to them because they seemed to have a lot of opportunities and they answered the phone..haha. I'm very interested in whether they have much exposure in the deaf community though because that is very important to me. Does anyone know??


Yes, I tried the website and called...weird! The warm weather needs to return - although, I am used to this weather since I grew up in Maryland...
That's what I've been trying to tell you. Graham has zero exposure in the deaf community. That's why I keep recommending the other agencies around here, which are all well-known. If you tell people you are from Graham, they won't know what you are talking about.
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Unread 03-25-2009, 10:07 PM   #16 (permalink)
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there are many, many interpreting agencies go to RID - to find one. I prefers terps who are good, dressed well, and are professional. A few are not like that (their norms, morals, craps, etc).
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Unread 03-25-2009, 10:13 PM   #17 (permalink)
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there are many, many interpreting agencies go to RID - to find one. I prefers terps who are good, dressed well, and are professional. A few are not like that (their norms, morals, craps, etc).
Interesting, I see Graham is on that list. I have been an interpreter in the DC area for 7 years and I never heard of them before this thread. I am pretty sure no deaf people will have either.

Search MD and VA on the site as well, since that is where many local agencies are actually headquartered. I'm quite surprised that SLA and GIS aren't on that list, they are the two biggest agencies in the area.
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Unread 03-27-2009, 02:35 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Apparently if i call SLA or any another bigger named one, it's all Purple and i get the same person to call, kevin, and he never answers. I did like Birnbaum though, i spoke with someone! Anywho, I look forward to doing some on-call interpreting in addition to general assignments. Graham said they get a lot of that so I am on their general and on-call list once I sign my policies/paperwork they gave me!

ALSO...I hope I can stay organized well as a freelancer - tax management, invoicing etc. Any tips??

Are there any other forums for interpreters? This is addicting! )
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Unread 03-27-2009, 09:41 PM   #19 (permalink)
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in the past, Senex was bad. SignHands oor something was bad too. the cheaper the agency, the more contract they win since all levels of ogvernment want cheaper services fo the cheap taxsavings. I actually preferred some non-RID terps. A few RID-certified terps are real snobs.
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