Skip to main content

Why and when book an interpreter

Irish Sign Language (ISL)

Irish Sign Language (ISL) is the native language of the Deaf community in Ireland and the primary means of communication.  The Irish Sign Language Act 2017 recognises ISL as an official language of the Irish State and places a “duty on all public bodies to provide Irish Sign Language users with free interpretation when availing of or seeking to access statutory entitlements and services”.

Deaf people have the right to request a registered ISL/English interpreter to ensure equal access and opportunity.

Role of a Sign Language Interpreter

A sign language interpreter is a professional working between signed and spoken languages, who facilitates communication across cultures.

The interpreter will relay the conversation as it happens between Deaf person(s) and hearing person(s) to provide complete and accurate information to both parties. The role of the interpreter is to facilitate communication and ensure equal access to information and participation.

A sign language interpreter is bound to the RISLI Code of Conduct to ensure neutrality, confidentiality and impartiality.

When to book an interpreter?

When a Deaf person is attending an appointment, meeting or event, the person organising the event is responsible for contracting a sign language interpreter.

When booking an interpreter, the organiser should ask the Deaf person if they wish to work with a preferred interpreter (Deaf people have the right to choose the interpreter) and if they wish to engage the same interpreter for ongoing appointments.  Details on how to book an interpreter will assist service providers in understanding the options available.

Deaf people should have access to a sign language interpreter when needed to support full and equal access to information (i.e. GP, education, legal, job interviews and many other settings).