Interpreters facilitate communication between parties who do not share the same language or mode of communication. Professional visual language interpreters are specifically trained in providing this service when Deaf, deafened or hard-of-hearing individuals are present.
The interpretation process is based on both cultural and linguistic knowledge. In Ontario, Sign Language Interpreters provide interpretation between English and American Sign Language (ASL) or, in several communities, between French and Langue des Signes Québécoise (LSQ). Sign Language Interpreters are professionals who subscribe to a rigorous ethical code that stresses confidentiality, impartiality and integrity. The interpreter does not counsel, advise or interject opinions while working.
Certain situations require more specialized services than Sign Language Interpreters are equipped to provide. Some individuals, such as Deaf people from countries where ASL is not used, young children, and those who have mental health conditions that affect language use, will have unique communication needs. In these and other circumstances a Deaf Interpreter (DI) will prove invaluable in ensuring that communication is successful.
A DI is a Deaf native user of ASL and/or LSQ who has been trained and is qualified to work as an interpreter. Deaf Interpreters usually work in conjunction with Sign Language Interpreters.