The Fashionably Fluent: Interpreting Services at New York Fashion Week

New York Fashion Week (NYFW) is renowned for its glitz, glamour, and global influence, drawing fashion enthusiasts, designers, and industry professionals from around the world. Behind the scenes of this extravagant event, a group of unsung heroes plays a pivotal role in ensuring seamless communication and inclusivity – the interpreters. These language experts work diligently to bridge linguistic barriers, provide cultural sensitivity, and embrace innovative technology to make NYFW a truly accessible and dynamic affair.

Interpreting Services Behind the Scenes

Interpreters at NYFW operate as the invisible force that keeps the fashion machinery running smoothly. From pre-show meetings with designers and backstage interactions to post-event discussions, their presence is indispensable. Their language prowess allows designers, models, and international attendees to communicate effortlessly, enabling the exchange of creative visions, ideas, and inspirations that shape the face of modern fashion.

Bridging Language Barriers on the Catwalk

As models sashay down the runway, the world watches in awe, but what often goes unnoticed are the skilled interpreters positioned strategically at the show. These language maestros break down linguistic barriers during the runway shows, ensuring that everyone present, regardless of their native language, can appreciate the artistry and vision of the designers. Backstage, interpreters foster an inclusive environment, ensuring that models, stylists, and crew members from diverse backgrounds can collaborate effectively and confidently.

Cultural Sensitivity and Fashion

Fashion is more than just fabric and design; it’s a reflection of culture, history, and identity. Interpreters at NYFW understand the significance of cultural competence when providing their services. They cater to diverse audiences, designers, and industry insiders, ensuring that the essence and impact of fashion are preserved and celebrated globally. Their understanding of cultural nuances allows for respectful and meaningful communication between individuals from different backgrounds, fostering a truly inclusive fashion experience.

The Dynamic Duo of Fashion Interpreting

During the fast-paced and high-energy events of NYFW, interpreters often work in pairs – the dynamic duo. These co-interpreters complement each other’s skills, providing real-time translation that keeps up with the swift pace of the fashion world. They work in perfect harmony, ensuring that no crucial detail is missed, and that the essence of the message remains intact across languages.

Last year, interpreters took to the runways of shows by MADE and Runway of Dreams to provide services to a wider audience, furthering the discourse about inclusion in the industry.

Embracing Multilingual Innovation

As technology continues to revolutionize the fashion industry, it also plays a vital role in NYFW’s accessibility. Virtual interpreting services have opened doors for a global audience to witness the fashion extravaganza in real-time, transcending geographical boundaries. Flamingo Interpreting, a leading interpreting services provider, is at the forefront of this multilingual innovation, offering their expertise at runways, fashion pop-ups, activations, and panels. They recognize the importance of ASL interpreting services, as they play a crucial role in making events like NYFW accessible to the disabled community, allowing them to participate fully in this grand celebration of fashion.

In conclusion, the fashionably fluent interpreters at New York Fashion Week are the unsung heroes who ensure that language barriers do not hinder the magic of this iconic event. Through their expert skills, cultural sensitivity, and embracing of innovative technology, they elevate the inclusivity, global reach, and impact of NYFW, making it a true celebration of diversity and creativity in the world of fashion.

Ensuring Success: Preparing Your Event for a Smooth Interpreting Experience

Every event is different and when providing American Sign Language Interpreting services, many questions can arise. If it’s your first time procuring services for an event, navigating the intricacies of access can often be daunting. Working with experts in the field, you’ll find that much like many other vendors you’ll work with; interpreting services can be quite straight forward. We’ve compiled a few pointers for you below in creating a seamless and accessible event for your Deaf/Hard of Hearing attendees.

Understanding Interpreting Needs

First, you’ll need to identify the necessity of interpreters at your event. Often this is a direct access from an attendee who will be utilizing the services during your event. However, many events prefer what we refer to in the industry as “open access”. This means providing interpreting services across stages, workshops, one on one sessions and more. With this model, your attendees do not need to self disclose nor do they need to request services ahead of time as they’re already built into the event from the beginning.

Early Planning and Coordination

It’s crucial to plan ahead when providing services as often interpreters are booked for weeks in advance. Many agencies rely on a two week scheduling block system. This means that interpreters are often booked out and unable to accommodate new requests with less than 14 days notice. While this isn’t the case with Flamingo, we do often tell our clients to plan ahead for specific requests or niche expertise asks as our interpreters are in high demand in the industry.

Planning ahead can look different for every event. We personally prefer to work with our clients as soon as they know the event will be happening as we are often able to hold interpreters schedule preventing you from losing a specific team you might need. A simple heads up is quite easy for us to work with and requires no down payment with enough lead time.

Clear Communication With Interpreters is Key.

We work with our interpreters in establishing effective communication channels, including briefing them about the event agenda, speakers, and specialized terminology. The sooner we can get access to any materials you might have that we can use to prepare, the better. Our interpreters love to read and review materials as far ahead of time as possible but even last minute can be incredibly beneficial. It’s all about ensuring access whenever possible.

Our team will work with you in exchanging contact information in addition to setting up directions for interpreters to find their credentials, meet with their on-site contact and find their set up without issue. We love to see seamless events happen and while we may have quite a few questions, each ask is in service of supporting you. Feel free to send over any materials including draft schedules as they become available!

Venue & Seating Considerations

We will work with you in strategically arranging interpreters’ locations for optimal visibility and audibility, considering sightlines and the audience’s perspective. Our team will provide you with guides and checklists alleviating the additional leg work on your end. With our simple recipe, you’ll find that creating accessible seating arrangements and ensuring proper visibility is a breeze.

Technical Equipment

Verifying all equipment the interpreting team may need is in proper working order is often a step that is overlooked during tech checks. It’s important that interpreters have the time to ensure the tools they will be utilizing during the interpreting process are in great shape. We want to be sure that there won’t be any audio issues during the event that could have been avoided ahead of time had a tech check been done.

Often interpreters will make time the day before or prior to the event to arrive for a tech check. During this time they can often consult on visibility and seating arrangements to reduce the chance of any surprises when attendees arrive.

Breaking & Downtime

While interpreters certainly are incredible, they’re not machines and like any other human require breaks. In teams of two we can expect that interpreters are able to provide services for longer without as many breaks however they will still need some downtime. We typically recommend teams of 3 for sessions lasting between 2 hours and a full day.

Interpreting as a craft requires incredible focus and to maintain a solid performance, the brain needs adequate rest. While it may not be in the forefront of considerations, from the perspective of your language team breaks are critical for the superior product your attendees deserve.

Feedback and Post Event Evaluation

It’s important to gather feedback from interpreters and event participants to identify areas of improvement and enhance future interpreting experiences. Many event planning professionals will share their experience in missing pain points due to the inability to glean better solutions from their attendees. Interpreters are at the front line of your event working directly with your attendees and are truly experts in what makes an event accessible. To provide the best possible experience for future events, don’t discount their expertise and consider reaching our directly or with a form to gain their insight.

Making Accessibility a Priority for the Success of Your Next Event.

When event planners consider accessibility it is usually seen as an accessory to the main event. With so much built into the hosting of an event virtually between schedules, speakers and communication with attendees it is easy to forget how critical accessibility can be to the foundation of an event. For many larger companies, access is about optics and ensuring they are reaching the right people. While this may seem sensible, it ignores the facts that millions of people worldwide live with invisible disabilities and a lack of generally visible access can signal a quiet complicity in removing them from the conversation. It is never the goal of any successful event to reduce participation from attendees. For these reasons, making access a key focus in your event planning will guarantee a stronger and healthier event for years to come. 

First, it’s important to treat accessibility with the respect it deserves.

Access in general should be a key component and those working to provide it in and around the event should be involved in larger discussions of logistics to ensure a smooth delivery come showtime. In the same way disability is woven into every aspect of our world, creating access for those disabilities must be done in the same way. Things as simple as a registration form can easily become inaccessible and remove the ability for many to attend much less participate in the programming. 

Create roles for disability consultancy.

Inviting disabled creators, event planners and attendees to the table in discussions serving to create the event will guarantee that establishing structures that allow everyone equal footing at your event. To that end, it will reduce the chance of needing to fix things in the moment. Essentially, build the boat before you take it to water. Bringing in voices from the community in the earliest stages will ensure that your event is given the careful planning many solutions require. 

Flamingo Interpreting works hand in hand with members of the community in providing consulting services for events both remote and virtually to ensure they are creating the ideal atmosphere for all people. When we work with members of the community, we work to empower them in decision making and offering their influence to create events that become the standard practice for other companies to emulate. That can only be done by working directly with members of the community and supporting their feedback.

Timing is everything.

An event planner with no experience using ASL interpreters for an event in NYC may expect to call an agency a few days prior to opening doors. A Deaf person will tell you that you should plan for at least two weeks, with more time allowing the agency to source the perfect fit. By collaborating with members of the community you can dial into the pulse of services. You will learn how things are scheduled, according to what timelines and key factors to consider before booking. 

Not all services are created equal.

Experts and service users of solutions built for access can better guide you to the most cost effective and impactful options. While there are tons of options virtually there is also a ton of cost cutting, cheap alternatives and all around hack jobs offering solutions that cause more harm than good. You wouldn’t cut corners on the attendee experience in any other arena, don’t allow a cheap price tag fool you into purchasing a service that leaves your attendees wondering what went wrong? Local community members will be best versed in the available options and can guide you to the best services for your budget. 

Lived experience is important.

When working with members of a community you can count on a critical eye that is trained by years of experience. What may seem accessible to an able-bodied person may miss the mark for someone who sees an improved option that would serve someone like them in any given situation. It is solutions like these that brought texting to the wider world – once an idea created within the Deaf community. When we trust members of the larger disability community to create solutions, we create a universal design that supports all attendees. It is always important to sideline bias and assumption to make way for ingenuity coming from experience that may not be our own.

Disability as a community makes up the worlds largest minority. With incredible buying power valued at over 1.8 trillion dollars annually, it would make sense to prioritize a community that often must fight for visibility. In creating access at your event, it’s important to consider that often bringing a seat to the table is not enough. True accessibility only happens authentically, with collaboration, creativity and supporting a community by providing them equal voting power at the table. With these simple practices in play, you are guaranteed an incredible event that will have your attendees excited to register again and again. 

Can I Translate a Document Myself?

There are a myriad of reasons you might need a document translated fast. If you find yourself in this position and are able to translate into both languages, you may be wondering if you can translate the document on your own. In some cases, you can but for many government reasons, you may not be able to.

At Flamingo Interpreting, we provide interpreters, translators, proofreaders and editors to eliminate errors and speed up the process but what if it’s still quicker for you to translate at home?

What if I’m writing a book?

If you’re writing a book and you want to translate it yourself, you can absolutely do that. Every publisher will have their own translating services or contractors it relies on for these services but in the event you want to do it yourself, you can pitch the idea. In this case, it’s perfectly acceptable to translate yourself. What is most important is that you feel it reflects the story of the original material. If you run into issues or just want to check for general clarity, you can always work with one of our experienced translation editors to proofread and edit the document for you.

What about translating for my wedding?

What if you have specific inside jokes only your friends and family know about you that you’d like to include in your wedding but you’re not super strong in the language? You can submit all of the materials with translations you’ve made yourself to one of our editors who can assist you in getting it just right while still getting your message across

We also provide interpreters for weddings in multiple languages. We’ve worked with members of various religions to ensure we’re following the best practices for ceremonies like these.

What about passport processing?

For passports and many other legal documents, the government will insist on your use of an outside translator. This is for many reasons but we can often work with you to reduce the overall costs. It’s also much quicker to hav them done by an outside entity in case you experience delays.

By using an outside translation service like Flamingo with onsite certifiers and notaries, we can provide you assurance that your documents will be accepted and processed in a timely manner. This is especially important to hire a translator for a death certificate for a passport.

Our translators are familiar with the process and can translate around other cases they’ve seen in the past to reduce your chances of receiving a detail. in addition to this, we. can certify the translations to ensure they’re accepted; something that every government agency will require during the process.

Emergency Translations

Let us know if you need a rush for an emergency, we can work with you to ensure your project is done on time, even if that means within 12 hours. We’ve turned passport documents around in as little as one hour.

To have your next document translated, send in your request here.

For emergencies or rush projects, email

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.

Become a Certified American Sign Language Interpreter

In order to become a certified American Sign Language interpreter in New York, you’ll need to study the language, the art of interpreting, learn the culture and sit for the certification test. You can do that in 5 steps.

Get an Education

While many folks will insist that a two year program is enough, you’ll need a bachelors if you want to get certified under RID’s current requirements. Four year programs are available through schools like Rochester’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) and Gaulladet University in Washington D.C. You can find more on the pricing of these programs here.

Study the Art of Interpreting

You’ll find that a solid program will teach you skills like processing, transliteration, deconstruction and more. With a few years of dedication and hard work, you’ll be able to break down even the most mumbled of messages to produce a clear and effective interpretation.

Learn the Culture

You’ll need to spend time in the Deaf community. You can find Deaf events online and make friends through your program. Within the process, you’ll find a beautiful culture rich with language, artwork and mores unknown to the wider hearing world. While Deaf culture can be incredibly layered and vast, it can also been complex to understand. It’s for this reason we always recommend spending as much time giving back to the community as possible. As we are guests, we always want to maintain a warm and inviting reputation within and without.

Sit for the Test

The newest NIC exam is available through CASLI. You’ll need to pay the fees for the exam which you can read about here, before scheduling the first portion which is the knowledge. Part one of the test is most often referred to within the American Sign Language interpreting industry at the written, followed by the performance exam six months later. While these two exams can be expensive, you’ll see that certified interpreters are able to earn a higher wage along with more respect in the community by many of their colleagues.

A Good Sign Language Interpreting Agency & all the rest.

The difference between a good sign language interpreting agency and all the other ones aren’t always clear.

The search for American Sign Language interpreting or spoken language interpreting services shouldn’t be a difficult one. Yet, plenty of companies currently in business market their translating services as quality enough to hold up in a court room. The reality is, those services are cheap, they’re often well reviewed by their own staff and simply don’t have the quality customer service clients require.

Of course if you’re not a member of the interpreting industry you’re probably not familiar with much of the nuance involved in sourcing high quality and professional services. At Flamingo Interpreting, we like to support our clients in finding services even if they choose another more cost effective provider. While we’ve seen many clients return over the years, we’re never thrilled to hear they’ve had a sub-par experience elsewhere. If you’re looking for the right agency and just not sure what to look for, check out our five top categories to pay attention to. 


Are they proactive in meeting your needs? While it’s common to submit a request with information, it’s more common they follow up with asks for more information including the names of the service users. You don’t have to provide any of this information of course but a good agency will keep an open line of communication with you to ensure that when something does come up, it doesn’t fall through the cracks. 

As an example, we typically get a full idea of what the request specifically will retire before touching base the client when the interpreters is confirmed to exchange contact information. This way, if something comes up specific to the interpretation – you can ensure the party that will be involved is answering the questions. We provide the referral and let you communicate how you see fit. Once confirmed we check in again the day before services are scheduled to double check any changes. 

Prep work

You should expect a great agency to ask you for materials the interpreter can use to prepare their interpretation. If you’re booking a board meeting, they should ask for the agenda. A PTA meeting may call for questions surrounding the topics and relevant notes. A job interview would be best served with the interpreter meeting the interviewer or candidate ahead of time. Most agencies will ask you to always book a couple books out for best results but truly, prep work is king. 

While interpreters are incredible at what they do, they do best in supported environments where all the tools they may need are a their disposal. Often, the best tool in their arsenal is the ability to prepare and embody an interpretation that is clear and effective. 

How do they talk about their interpreters? 

Do they have a personal relationship? 

As an interpreter run company, we only work with colleagues. We’re certainly not the norm. More often than not, the people operating the business are not interpreters. Many coordinators are former interpreters without an active tie to the community. In our world, we focus on fit and comfortability. We work with top quality interpreters, so really we could send anybody but we don’t. We’re not in business to send interpreters to jobs that don’t make sense.

We’re in business to change the industry and help our clients see that when you have the right fit and not just a warm body with an interpreting degree, real magic happens. You can tell this by the way we talk about our people. We’ll ask you questions and give you context for who you’ll be working with in such an intimate capacity. They’re not just another contractor, they’re a colleague with a specific skill set and we’ll help you see how beneficial it can be in your board room. 

What do they specialize in?

Agencies love to service requests for any niche possible. That’s impossible without a massive pool. While generalists do exist, I don’t want a generalist in a speciality they’re not tenured in. To illustrate, imagine having a family physician performing your neurosurgery. You’d absolutely ask for a specialist who has studied the specific arena. Even a neurosurgeon would tell you that within their surgical spectrum there are multiple specialties. We do the same thing with interpreting. While a small insignificant meeting for you may feel like anyone could do it, we care that your best impression is always made with us.

A great agency will be honest and tell you “we don’t do that” and hopefully offer a referral. We work with a handful of partnering agencies we trust and often will refer clients to them for areas we simply don’t work in. We’ve found those clients to be far more successful and retuning to us at a later time because we’ve built a reputation of sending interpreters they can trust. 

Who are they? 

Agencies are made up of people, but their websites are often just icons of the world or a corporate building’s shimmering facade. Find an agency that has people you can talk to and get to know. Those people should be in your corner with every new request and support you long term, a website can’t really do that. When you don’t see any human presence behind the website or social media you’re seeing, it’s a major red flag that they don’t connect with their people, their contracting interpreters or their clients.