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!


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!

Nyle DiMarco New York Times Best Selling Author

Nyle DiMarco’s new book “Deaf Utopia” has now reached the New York Times Best Seller list, landing at number thirteen on the non-fiction list.

Nyle DiMarco spent five years compiling stories for his new book Deaf Utopia. In it, he describes how his childhood as a fourth generation Deaf man in an entirely Deaf family supported his success throughout life. He describes his mother as his biggest hero and recounts the struggles and triumphs his family has experienced over the last four generations.

His family originates in Sicily where his great-grandfather made the decision to immigrate to the United States. From there, his family settled in New York before his mother’s search for the best education available would lead them to explore Texas and Maryland where his mother now lives.

Throughout his teens, his mother exhausted every effort to provide her three boys with an incredible education but the stories of the obstacles she was met with along the way were simply too compelling to leave out of the book.

His book outlines his sexuality and his journey to finding himself along with a few salacious stories of what that brought along in his career in tinseltown. Deaf Utopia hit shelves last week and within it’s first week has already landed it on the NYT best sellers list.

Nyle DiMarco Oscar Nomination

Nyle DiMarco was recently nominated as a producer on the short documentary “Audible” housed on Netflix.

While the film didn’t take home a trophy, it won over the hearts of America, comparing it with the fiction of “CODA” which took home the award for best picture. Hollywood execs are now welcoming a new challenge from Nyle DiMarco to push representations forward not only on screen but behind the camera as well. “I am challenging Hollywood to not only focus on representation on screen but understand that authenticity can only happen when Deaf people are invited behind the camera lens. We need to see them in Director’s chairs and writers rooms.” he told his ASL Interpreter Greyson Van Pelt.

Greyson Van Pelt and Nyle DiMarco have worked together for almost five years exclusively.

American Sign Language Interpreters in Buffalo New York

Years ago Greyson Van Pelt interpreted American sign language at the University of Buffalo for then President and Nyle DiMarco.

Nyle DiMarco visited the University of Buffalo to deliver a speech titled “Living Out Loud” explaining how his work in advocacy for the Deaf community is building bridges. He is filling in the gaps in the entertainment industry along with supporting new awareness of language deprivation globally.

Nyle brought along an interpreter from Flamingo Interpreting to interpret his speech including a fifteen minute question and answer with the audience.

There were other incredible interpreters at the University of Buffalo who interpret American sign language and English in the twin tier region as well as the larger city of Buffalo. One of the American Sign Language Interpreters was from Rochester, New York and studied at the National Technical Institute of the Deaf (NTID).

Nyle DiMarco New Book ‘Deaf Utopia’ is Out Now!

Nyle DiMarco announced the release of his new book which can be found wherever books are sold or online through http://www.harpercollins.com

Today he made an appearance on Cheddar TV’s “Between Bells” with Baker Machado. Check out this excerpt where he breaks down his challenge to the industry. Not only does he believe representation in front of the camera matters but is also pushing to see more inclusion and access in writers rooms and directors chairs.

Nyle is an Advocate for the community but also a Academy Award Nominated producer, creating two docu-series on Netflix. He is currently in the process of creating more film and television content.

Check out the full interview here…


American Sign Language Interpreting at the Academy Awards!

Who’s That Interpreter at the Oscars??

It might have been us!

While we know a thing or two about award shows, there’s simply no amount of practice that can ready an interpreter for the Oscars. The last time we saw an interpreter take the stage was 35 years ago when Marlee Matlin first won her Oscar for her performance in Children of a Lesser God. This year, we dove in to provide accessibility at the Oscars and were thrilled to see talent on the red carpet was well taken care of.

This year was historic and incredible partly due to the incredible interpreting teams that supported projects like CODA & Audible. One of our very own interpreters, Elena Lee was an on-set interpreter for CODA while filming in Glaucester, Mass. Grey Van Pelt, Connor Murray & Richard Loya all contributed to the editing and revisions of Audible with countless other interpreters playing important roles surrounding these projects.

Interpreting on the red carpet!

We had the chance to support some of the interpreting at the Oscars Luncheon, Ted Sarandos’ Oscar toast event and of course the Academy Award ceremony followed by Netflix’s after party at the Bungalows in Beverly Hills followed by Vanity Fair’s afterparty. We truly were everywhere.

HOLLYWOOD, CA – March 27, 2022. Nyle DiMarco and Matt Ogens arrives at the 94th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood on Sunday, March 27, 2022. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

From the red carpet to the stage, it was hard to look anywhere and not see an working sign language interpreter.

Mak McClindon interpreting for Amaree – star of Audible on Netflix & Serena Williams

Our very own Mak McClindon was there every step of the way with the cast of Audible, nominated for Best Short Documentary. Audible is now available streaming on Netflix!

American Sign Language at the Oscars

The interpreters from the 2022 Academy Awards ceremony were truly there to witness history as we saw Sign Language represented in five categories of nominations but also… Troy Katsur winning best supporting actor, making him the second Deaf person to ever win an Oscar and the first Deaf male to ever win an Academy Award.

We saw CODA’s director win best adapted screenplay, based on the French original. A thrilling win for Siân Héder!

We also saw CODA take home the award for best picture, an incredible milestone for the Deaf community.

As Nyle DiMarco has mentioned in numerous interviews – this is a watershed moment. We’re so thrilled to see the landscape of Hollywood begin to shift as more and more Deaf stories are not just being told but being lauded as the incredible content they are.

We’re also thrilled to see an increase in interpreted accessible content in Hollywood. We hope to see more qualified interpreters with an interest in this work, begin to enter the specialty. We also hope more people will learn American sign language from the exciting projects like CODA & Audible.