ASL Interpreted Videos

As the premier agency in the entertainment industry, we are often asked to interpret videos in American Sign Language for general access. Since the wild success of the CODA film taking home multiple Oscar awards, access has being a hot topic.

For larger conferences or events ASL interpreting is needed on a different level. We are often needed to provide picture in a picture ASL or PIP American Sign Language. In these situations we can provide a live feed for services or we can translate videos and process them separately to be punched in to a larger presentation at a later time.

Not only do we provide American Sign Language translated videos but we can edit them in any color a client chooses. Many of our clients have asked, can you provide Chroma Key as a background color and the simple answer is yes! We absolutely can provide a studio quality video of ASL interpreting to be used at any time with quick turn arounds.

For remote video ASL translation, we can turn videos around within a day, sometimes within a few hours depending on the content and length.

ASL Translated Videos

When providing these videos we can follow our clients specs to the letter. With professional studios in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington DC and Boston, we are able to source a team who can provide the exact specifications you need. We can also format and edit our videos to include any of the access requirements carried by your event.

Captioning ASL Videos

We can also provide captioning to our videos or return a .srt file to be used by your production team to overlay. We do this by providing timestamped translated videos for your team to them sync up within their run of show. We can even work around graphic cut ins you are building as apart of the visuals. In order to keep seamless transitions, we can review your script and ensure that no matter where you cut the PIP video in ASL you’ll see a clean interpretation on time with the speaker.

PIP ASL Translation

We can provide videos ahead of your event to punch in to a presentation or even a live feed giving the illusion of live services. We do this in studio then send the mastered file over for you to review. We also stand by for quality assurance (QA) to ensure that if for some reason it doesn’t work with your current plans we can make immediate adjustments. Picture in a picture ASL interpreting can happen live as well with the right technology. In connecting with your team we can give them access to our live feeds allowing you to pull in interpreters from anywhere in the world.

Green Screen ASL

Our studios are equipped with Chroma Key backdrops and 5 point lighting to ensure that we can blend into any branding you’ve built into the graphics. Our goal is to align with your set up as seamlessly as possible. If this means we need to remove backdrops all together and be placed over current schemes and graphics, we can easily do that as well. Our current lead time for Chroma Key is 1 business day.

Asynchronous Translation

We can turn videos around within days. However, if you have a larger ongoing project you would like our help with we can bring the team for a longer booking. In these cases, we can work with you to ensure the videos are being turned around in time with your teams workflow and established expectations. We’ve done hundreds of videos over time on client schedules that follow various time zones and workflows. Because we’re global, we can make just about anything work.

If you’re considering working with interpreters for ASL interpreted videos or ASL translation, we can provide it. We want to provide you the best possible product. When requesting services at http://www.flamingointerpreting.com/request-form please send as many details as possible including a sample piece if possible. We will return a quote and service agreement to you within 48 hours so we can all get back to work!

Common Questions

Can we write back and forth?

Sign Languages have their own complexities like spoken languages. They have grammar, syntax and structure like other languages. Often these aren’t shared with the spoken language of the region. Here is the United States, English is very different from American Sign Language. In fact, many Deaf people do not use English at a level that would support writing back and forth as a means of effective communication. We often say that this is the last resort as a way to communicate important information as it simply doesn’t support what most people think it will. 

Being a second language to many in the Deaf community, using English as a mode of communication in written form can be daunting, intimidating and restrictive of comfortable expression. You want your conversations to make sense to everyone and we want to ensure your point is made, just the way you need it to be. 

Can we rely on lip reading?

Research tells us that even the best lip readers are on average only catching 30% of what is being said. That means that 70% of the words exchanged are up for guesswork. If your doctor only knew 30% of the problem but needed to treat 100% of it, you’d probably be quite concerned and rightfully so.

While every Deaf person is different, the idea of using lipreading as an effective way to be heard remains a fallacy. It simply doesn’t work and for safety reasons, it can be quite dangerous. When working in any capacity, communication should always be a priority to ensure that mistakes aren’t made. This is especially important in arenas like medical and legal communication. A simple misunderstanding can cost immense amounts of money in liability, it can costs people their jobs and worse, lives. 

Important terminology is best provided through an interpreter. Lipreading leading to many misunderstandings, it is easy to imagine guessing incorrectly at phrases like ‘a chronic case of’ or ‘taken twice a week to treat the myopathy’. Even with residual hearing, the sounds in the phrases ‘pay me’ and ‘baby’ can be identical when relying on lipreading. The idea of using a one-size-fits-all approach would never work for you. 

Lipreading is never a great solution to communicate with anyone. Misunderstandings can lead to missed appointments, mixed messages and in the worst case scenario, war. When you need your message to be clear, don’t plan on a puzzle. 

Can we use a family member to interpret?

We are strong supporters of autonomy and want to see every one of our clients able to approach their appointments and business the way they would like to. That often means without the interference of friends, family members or colleagues. Using someone with intimate knowledge of a client as their interpreter is often a dangerous double edged sword. We strive for long term relationships and deep connections at every turn but never at the cost of our client. Not only does using a friend, family member or office associate with some experience put the interaction at risk, it opens you up to liability you don’t want. We’ve heard horror stories of sisters trying to manage a medical appointment only to be too emotionally overwhelmed and children trying their best to manage business with no knowledge on the topic. For these reasons, it is always best to rely on a professional and when the matter is urgent, calling one over remote video conferencing. 

Why Have Your Documents Notarized?

There are plenty of reasons to have translations and localized documents notarized, namely for government and immigration purposes. While many of our clients will reach out about specific translations of personal documents like writing, books, poems and blog posts, many of our clients need their documents translated in order to process passport, green card or other immigration steps.

As a company we offer notarization of all of our documents but you may be surprised to find out which clients specifically need notarization and which don’t. Most of our creative project clients do not want or need notarization. This is because the only source of approval they’re looking for is the reader. There is no other authority who will decide if the project is good enough.

Passport Translation Notarization

For clients needing urgent passports, notarization is often done over Zoom or in many cases by passed entirely. This is because they need to leave or enter the country immediately and some concessions must be made. However, for people requesting rush passport translation notarization is often very easy to accomplish ahead of time, increasing the speed of request.

Death Certificate Notarization

Translating a death certificate is usually not the result of a hobby but instead the requirement of a government. If a government body is requesting the rush translation of a death certificate, it usually requires the document is notarized. For these situations, we offer 24 hour notary service in New York City to ensure your translation is rushed to the department requesting. When the situation is life or death, we can often rush your passport, translation and notarization within a few hours.

What is Notarization?

Notarizations are self authenticating which is why many government bodies require that you hire an outside translator to certify the document and notarize it. If you already have the translation but simply need it notarized without having it processed again, we can have an editor do the notarization. That editor is a professional translator of government documents who can review the original translation, sign off, certify and in turn notarize that the contents of the document are an accurate translation of the original.

Traveling Interpreters to the Booking

Some clients need to fly in the preferred interpreter for the booking. In these cases, the costs of travel can become a concern. We manage those concerns a little different than an average interpreting agency. We build those costs around our business versus your bottom line.

With the amount of interpreters we fly around the world, we’ve been able to take advantage of corporate rates, discounts and rewards programs to cut down on the final costs needed to be passed on to the payer. When we combine all of these, we’re left with a clear set of numbers that won’t greatly impact the cost of the total bill.

First, we only work with interpreters who are ready and able to travel. Hiring interpreters who must then complete multiple processes in order to get where they’re going can be a hassle but worse, it can slow you down. We ensure everyone who joins our team has a valid passport, travel insurance and the ability to move when necessary. We’ve also worked with some incredible travel partners to ensure we’re readying new interpreters for taking work outside of their home market.

We also ensure interpreters are fully prepared for an early arrival. Whether it’s for a conference or a wedding, we always build in a buffer to their itinerary that will allow them to arrive refreshed and focused when you need them.

In addition to the precautions we have in place, our office maintains total and open communication with our clients regarding interpreter whereabouts, itinerary changes or schedule adjustments. A lot can happen while you’re in the air but we’re here to tell you – We fly your way.

5 Things You Can Request While Booking an Interpreter

Coordinating events, appointments, and just regular life is hard enough already, right? Finding out that you’ll be needing to find the perfect interpreter(s) for your event to be fully accessible to everyone involved can add a layer of stress. Well, let’s take some of that pressure right back off by discussing 5 requests you can make when booking an interpreter to find the perfect one(s) to fit everyone’s needs! These 5 requests are:

  • Gender Expression
  • Experience in Specific Topics
  • Familial Background
  • Cultural Competency
  • Region

Gender Expression

The first request we’ll cover is gender expression. Are you coordinating an event about women’s health or hosting a panel to discuss a new form of contraception? Or maybe you just have a patient with an appointment for an OBGYN checkup. Do you feel like a female identifying individual would best be suited to match the knowledge needed for these types of occurrences, or even add to the comfort levels of the client the interpreter is there to service? You can request that!

Experience in Specific Topics

Next up is experience in specific topics. Let’s say for example you’re in charge of a seminar where astrophysicists from around the world will be giving lectures about Pulsars. What the heck is a Pulsar?! You don’t need to know, but it might help if your interpreter has an idea. Let the agency find you one that has interpreted for NASA for 20 years. The person that has a collection of space books next to their framed degree with that random minor in astronomy they chose after going to space camp their whole lives. You can request that! 

Familial Background

Our magic number 3 is familial background. You may have a family of clients  immigrating to the US from Bangladesh and be looking for a Bengali Interpreter. There may be 5 or 6 options from the agency to fit this need, but only one or two of these are persons that are Bangladeshis themselves, or hail from families of Bangladeshi immigrants. This can change the dynamic between the clients with the interpreter in many ways. Wanting someone who truly understands what it’s like for this family on a personal level may better “fit the bill”. You can request that!

Cultural Competency

The following request we have is cultural competency. Our example for this will be needing an American Sign Language Interpreter for a Deaf client who will be attending an Asian wedding, complete with a special time-honored tea ceremony. These customs are something learned and experienced in life for full understanding of the rules and procedures. It would be ideal to find an ASL Interpreter with cultural understanding of these important traditions or that has personal experience with this type of ceremony growing up in their own Asian family. You can request that!

Region

Last, we’ll discover the world of being able to request interpreters based on region. One fun thing about language is that it grows and evolves the most wherever it’s located. But we also know that many languages are spread out across the world in places that aren’t always near one another. Let’s say you have a French client(s) straight out of Paris. Just asking for any French interpreter may mean you are assigned someone from a French speaking area of Canada. The language is fundamentally the same, but things like regional slang and accent can affect the message from being the smoothest. While many agencies will automatically take this into account when sourcing their interpreting partners, these details can sometimes be missed in back and forth communication. Guess what?! You can request that!

When you’re ready to book your next interpreter, head over to make that request with us here.

Flamingo Interpreting is traveling to Spain… again!

We’re bringing ASL interpreters who have provided:
Entertainment interpreting services
Legal interpreting services
Business interpreting services
Event interpreting services
Remote interpreting services

…back to Europe! We’re coming to Naples, Barcelona, Madrid and London!

If you’re looking for American Sign Language interpreting services this summer in Europe, we’ll be around. We can make sure to schedule around your needs with a few days lead time!

Booking a Sign Language Interpreter on LinkedIn

Often our clients will come to us with an American Sign Language interpreter already confirmed for part of the job. While that’s never an issue, what we most often see is that the interpreter they have booked isn’t qualified. That decision ends up costing more money. When booking an unqualified interpreter, jobs can take longer and meetings can be rescheduled in an effort to achieve proper communication.

With all of this in mind, here are some tips on hiring an interpreter through LinkedIn.

  1. Look for a past history of qualified work. If the interpreter has only ever worked in one job and it seems to be a basic one, they may not be ready for the caliber of job you’re searching for. If that one job they’ve maintained is in the same vein as the job you’re booking them for, it could be a great fit.
  2. Look for referrals. The more reviews and recommendations on a person’s profile, the better the chances are that you’re finding quality.
  3. Look for agency experience. If you find an interpreter with multiple agencies under their belt, it means that they’ve worked for multiple contracts and will have a more varied experience in their career.
  4. Check for credentials. While simply having a certification means nothing, it certainly can help firm up the chances of a good choice.

When hiring, be sure to discuss rate and terms ahead of time.

Many interpreters will have competing terms like 2 hour minimums or a base rate per hour that is competitive. Ensuring those are discussed ahead for no hidden surprises is always the best strategy. The last thing anyone wants is to get an unexpected bill. The total should always match the quote you received ahead of time.

Don’t go with the cheapest option.

The cheapest interpreter might not be the worst option but often they’re the least qualified. High stakes jobs are often disguised as the most casual booking. Be sure to work with the interpreter ahead of time to firm up expectations and ensure that not only are they comfortable but also prepared.

Get a service agreement ahead of time.

Never hire an interpreter without a service agreement. Qualified, professional and experienced interpreters have their own contracts and understand the responsibilities of having them. Hiring an American Sign Language interpreter who doesn’t invest in those things, is a sure recipe for disaster.

ASL Interpreting for Video Assets

In considering how to provide the best access for video products in your next conference, you might be wondering how to hire an interpreter. Plenty of agencies will sell you the idea that they’re experts in the space but when you transition from shooting the content to editing, the bill suddenly goes up.

Most agencies don’t know anything about production, timelines, expectations on set or anything about the editing process. It’s rare to receive a well rounded quote from the larger players because they only work on an hourly basis which can be incredibly costly when last minute changes happen. The costs can pile up from the cancellation charges, urgent requests and tight turn arounds. It’s important to work with an entertainment interpreting agency with an expertise in interpreting on set and in production.

Daily rate production interpreting

Interpreting in a production setting requires intimate knowledge of what it takes to produce and distribute accessible content. Experts in this arena will tell you that charging an hourly rate will increase the costs to clients exponentially. This is due to ignorant interpreting agencies attempting to practice outside of their scope.

A daily rate for interpreting services will retain services and allow flexibility for when things change on set last minute and require updates to the schedule. Daily rates are also incredibly helpful for working in editing as often post production interpreting services are needed sporadically and not on an hourly basis. Billing for hourly production interpreting limits the client to a specific schedule with an increase in fee should the interpreter need to be called back.

Video editing interpreting

Often interpreters are needed to interpret or translate videos for other projects. Charging these on a per project basis is ideal as the client is given a range and can better forecast all expectations before making a final decision in hiring services. Interpreters with a background in video editing and with knowledge of products like Premiere Pro, VideoLeap and .io applications reduces the amount of time wasted to account for a learning curve. Sending any available interpreter to a project in order to land a contract is often a far heavier burden on the production budget than it is to find an expert and send them the first time.

ASL captioning and subtitling

Creating SRT files for content in ASL can often be a challenge and it’s not always evident where to find services. Many agencies will provide an interpreter who has never done this things and will bill preparation time then used for that ASL provider to learn the process. Working with Deaf captioner and Deaf transcribers can often speed up the process and reduce the amount of the final invoice. It is incredibly important to find people who are experts in ASL transcription and captioning ASL content in order to create the best final product possible.

Music Concert Interpreting

Often when clients are looking for a music interpreter, they’re not sure where to begin. While a quick web search will pull up thousands of results, most of what you’re seeing in those lists are agencies who have a wide web presence.

Here’s a few things about the viral Deaf interpreter you saw on TikTok last week and the other hearing interpreters that you’re mistaking for talented.

ASL Interpreting for Music

Many agencies talk about their ability to staff for large events like concerts and music festivals but still don’t know the first thing about interpreting on stage. When they source ASL interpreters for a music festival, they rely on the person they think might vibe with the music the most. They rarely do their homework to find the interpreter who can do the best interpreting in the music industry. Those people are often Deaf performers and Deaf interpreters.

The process bu which interpreting happens is usually through a system involving interpreting mic pacs or FM systems, preparation with lyrics and multiple meetings of the interpreting team for the music performer to ensure that all needs are met. It is only by doing our due diligence that we can provide an accurate interpretation of any artistry happening on stage. The idea that an artistic sign language interpreter from a hearing background can somehow handle a show on their own, is simply misleading.

The Myth of the Viral ASL Music Interpreter

When you see the videos with thousands if not millions of views of interpreters, it’s easy to be amused by their presence online and their animation. What many folks looking for an ASL interpreter don’t realize is that the wide majority of them are hearing and do not represent Deaf talent within the community.

As a company that centers our clients in every sense, we work incredibly hard to enable entrance to the stage for the wider Deaf community. We bring Deaf performers and Certified Deaf Interpreters to every music gig we accept. Within those bookings, we supply a feeding or supporting interpreter to ensure access while keeping the community we service in the spotlight.

We always want to ensure that the voice of the Deaf community is seen loud and clear in these spaces. Together, we can increase representation while keeping the interpreting process available and accessible to all.

Making Virtual Interpreting Successful

Here at Flamingo Interpreting, we do a ton of entertainment interpreting in New York and Los Angeles. We’re considered leaders and experts in the entertainment industry and have loved working in press circuits, junkets and on set for years to support projects in the Deaf community. When people see our work interpreting on the red carpet, they often don’t imagine that we spend the majority of our time interpreting on Zoom. Yet, we do.

Interpreting in the Pandemic

We were all forced onto Zoom when Covid really hit but for many American sign language interpreters, we already had years of experience interpreting on the platform. Many translators have used the service in order to connect and prepare translated documents with their colleagues. In group settings like this, many of us figured out the strengths and weaknesses, along with our clients pain points.

With that, we’ve compiled some common questions our clients have approached us with over the years. While interpreting consulting has always been a strong arm of our services, even we were surprised to find how many of our colleagues spent the majority of their time educating clients on the platform. To save you some time in your next meeting, check out our answers to common questions here!

What does it take to make an interpreted Zoom meeting successful?

Being comfortable with an interpreter in the room is often the first step. It’s important to know that you’re being joined by a team member who is there to provide a service in a unique role. Our work is to make communication smooth, not derail your agenda. While we don’t want to make ourselves the focus, it’s good to know that we’re there and will be participating on some level.

Do I need to announce the presence of an interpreter on Zoom?

This answer largely depends on the demands of the environment and the relationships of the participants. While some larger events are assumed to have access, if your intention is to alert the Deaf attendees that access is being provided you can trust the professional you’ve hired to find them. Considering they would be interpreting your announcement either way, you can leave the responsibility of connecting with the participants utilizing their services to them.

Should we name the interpreters something special?

Simply, no. Some interpreters prefer their full name, some just a first name. Many interpreters will add [ASL interpreter] ahead of their name. It largely varies on how you’ve hired them. Some agencies require their interpreters to follow a specific format. We don’t. As a collaborative, we trust the interpreters and translators working remotely to use their professional judgement.

Do I need to spotlight them?

Again, this widely varies. For webinars, it’s always helpful for the interpreters to have spotlight privileges in order to team and support one another as they turn their video on and off. Allowing interpreters all of the access a host would will reduce the chances of unnecessary interruptions and delays. There’s nothing worse than hearing the host of a meeting announce a pause and something to the effect of “let’s just get this interpreter spotlit, I guess they switched”. Do yourself a favor and just let the experts in the room handle the controls that will impact their ability to perform.

Do I need captions?

No. In many cases you don’t need them but considering there is no additional fee for automatic captions, why not keep it turned on. This will eliminate the need for participants to reach out and request it, bogging down your inbox or chat feature. If you leave it on from the beginning, you’re just providing an additional option for greater accessibility. When you don’t have it turned on but need to change that, you’ll need to quit the meeting and restart it to activate the feature.

Should I hire a captioner?

Absolutely. While captions on Zoom are free, nothing beats a live captioner for accuracy. If you believe what you are sharing is important, respect that and yourself but ensuring it’s landing with your audience. Captioners can provide more clarity to communication that might otherwise leave audiences confused with automatic captioned features.

Can I send them a transcript of the meeting?

You absolutely can, but it’s better to send them a recording. Also, if you have a note take who has some notes from the meeting, you can round out the final take aways. Often our clients want to take notes in there meetings but find themselves needing to focus on the interpreter to ensure they’re not missing any information. That means that writing down a few bullet points might not be the best use of their time. However, if you can share any notes or minutes in addition to the recording, you can be sure they’ll have a better picture of anything they might have missed.

What else should I know?

You should ask the service user. Folks in the disabled community know more about their needs than any consultant or interpreter could ever guess. Often, the best way to find what would work well for them is just to ask them. Allowing them to lead the charge in accessibility is a sure way to be confident you’ve not overlooked any potential accommodations or options.

With these tips you should be able to execute and reflect on a successful virtual meeting with an interpreter. As always, if you need interpreting services virtually or interpreting in the metaverse, reach out to us by phone or email!

Best of luck in Zoomland!