Vermont Interpreter Referral Service

VIRS Policies for Interpreters

This is intended to provide interpreters in private practice an introduction to working as independent contractors through the Vermont Interpreter Referral Service.

Business Hours

The Vermont Interpreter Referral Service VIRS is open from 8:30a.m.—4:30p.m. Monday through Friday. If we are out of the office during business hours, please leave a message and we will return your call as soon as possible.

The toll-free number is 1-800-639-1519. The number in the Brattleboro calling area is 802-254-3920. The email address is VIRS@sover.net.

Requesting an Interpreter

When a request is made, the following information is requested:

  • name of the person calling, phone number and agency
  • date, time and address of the assignment
  • on-going, one-time or emergency assignment
  • type of situation
  • name(s) of preferred interpreter(s)
  • name of Deaf consumers involved and preferred mode of communication, if known
  • number of participants (Deaf and hearing)
  • name, address, and phone number of the person responsible for payment (VIRS needs this information in order to bill for the "fee for service").
  • name of speaker/presenter and a phone number

The following information will be communicated directly between the interpreter and the hiring individuals:

  • fees and policies of the interpreter;
  • any special equipment to be used (e.g. microphones, audio/visual equipment, assistive listening devices);
  • copies of speeches, presentations, etc.

If no interpreter is available for a request, the VIRS staff will call the requester as soon as possible before the date of the assignment.

Court/Legal Requests

Court requests will be referred first to legally certified interpreters in private-practice on a case by case basis and according to client preference, certification, continuity, availability and proximity.

When referring interpreters to legal settings, the VIRS policy is for the interpreter to agree to take on the case and provide on-going services throughout the life of the case. VIRS will facilitate this by assisting the interpreter in securing substitute interpreters as needed for regular assignments. VIRS will also encourage the court to make a commitment to work with the same interpreter and to be flexible in determining dates and times.

Assignment of Jobs

  • Assignment of jobs is made on an equitable basis among interpreters. Consideration is given to the following factors:
  • certification level and any special training or experience
  • consumer preference (must be on the VT Interpreter List)
  • first preference will be given, when possible with all other factors considered, to interpreters in private practice who are primarily self-employed as professional interpreters rather than to persons who are employed by state agencies and work only occasionally.
  • proximity of interpreters
  • availability of interpreters
  • continuity (on-going assignments)

Eligibility for Job Referrals

The Interpreter Referral List consists of Nationally Certified Interpreters. Nationally Certified Interpreters must submit a copy of their most current RID certificate. VIRS will contact the Deaf consumer directly to determine if they will work with a specific certified interpreter who is either new to the area or has not yet interpreted for the Deaf person.

Pre-certified Interpreters who meet the following criteria will be placed on the Referral List and will be referred to when: 1) the assignment does not require a Nationally Certified Interpreter; and 2) there is no Nationally Certified Interpreter available for the assignment; and 3) the Deaf person agrees to work with this specific interpreter.

  • must have graduated from an interpreter training program and have at least two years of experience. (Please submit a resume and school transcript.)

OR

  • must have passed a state screening and have at least two years of experience (Please submit a copy of your state screening letter.)

AND

  • Pre-certified interpreters must also submit three letters of recommendation, two from Deaf individuals and one from a certified interpreter.
  • Pre-certified interpreters must also pass the national written interpreting test under RID within one year of being placed on the referral list or at least must show evidence of having taken the test within the year and every six months thereafter until passed. The interpreter must pass the performance test within five years of passing the written test. These interpreters must also complete four continuing education credits (40 hours of pre-approved workshops/trainings) within the two years in order to continue on the referral list. A letter or statement from the workshop organizers must be signed and submitted to the VIRS office documenting the hours.
  • Pre-certified interpreters must come to the VIRS office for an interview and orientation.

All interpreters must sign a liability release form.

Priority of Assignments

Although one of the goals of VIRS is to successfully fill all interpreting requests, there are factors which make it necessary for priority to be given in the filling of assignments. Generally interpreting requests will be filled based on first come, first served priority with the following order followed (this relates to those requests which arrive at the same time to the Service):

  • emergency requests (life or quality of life in danger)
  • problematic assignments such as assignments previously canceled due to lack of interpreter availability
  • on-going requests
  • all other requests

The VIRS staff will encourage requesters to reschedule an assignment whenever possible when no Nationally Certified Interpreter is available.

Communication with the VIRS Staff.

Interpreters are responsible for keeping personal information such as current phone number, address, availability, as well as professional credentials up-to-date with the VIRS staff.

Interpreters are encouraged to maintain regular contact with the VIRS staff via phone calls, E-mail and answering machines in order to facilitate the assignment of jobs.

For the purposes of documentation of need, emergency requests that take place outside of normal business hours should be reported to the VIRS staff.

Fee Schedule and Policies

Interpreters who receive job assignments from VIRS will be paid by the hiring organizations, businesses, agencies, etc. and will negotiate and be responsible for all such transactions.

Interpreters who receive assignments which will be paid by the Yolande Henry Community Fund will bill according to their regular interpreting rates, but for Certified interpreters, not to exceed $35 dollars per hour and for pre-certified, not to exceed $25 dollars per hour. Please notify VIRS in advance when your fees increase.

Interpreters who receive assignments which will be paid by the Community Fund must write Community Fund Account on their bills. This will assist the business office in accurately recording the payment.

Interpreters paid directly by consumers other than VIRS are encouraged to negotiate reasonable fees, travel reimbursement and cancellation policies with the paying consumer prior to the assignment.

Interpreters are strongly encouraged to confirm the billing information and secure authorization for payment prior to accepting an assignment.

If a consumer fails to reimburse an interpreter for an assignment referred by VIRS, and the interpreter has attempted to resolve this matter, VIRS will provide advocacy to the interpreter to assist in the reimbursement for services.

Professional Standards and Responsibilities of Interpreters

The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf Code of Ethics exists to protect and guide the interpreter and consumers. There is an Agreement/Release form which all interpreters must sign, stating that they will abide by the Code of Ethics as established by RID, Inc.

All interpreters receiving interpreter assignments through VIRS are encouraged to be actively involved with professional interpreter organizations.

Job Cancellations/Changes in the Assignment

By Consumer: Consumers will negotiate cancellation policy compensation with interpreters at the time the assignment is accepted by the interpreter. The consumer should cancel directly with the interpreter as well as inform the interpreter of any changes in the assignment.

When a job that is being paid via the Community Fund is canceled, the VIRS staff will notify the interpreter immediately. The interpreter and the VIRS staff will negotiate the cancellation policy at the time the assignment is accepted.

If an interpreter must cancel acceptance of an assignment s/he is responsible for finding a replacement. In the event of illness or emergency, the interpreter may contact VIRS which will also try to find a replacement.

If an interpreter does not show up for an assignment after being confirmed, the interpreter is responsible to pay the finder’s fee. (The interpreter must check with VIRS to determine if the fee has already been paid and therefore they must reimburse the requester, or if the payment would go to VIRS directly.)

VIRS's Responsibility to Interpreters and Consumers

Obtain and relay complete and accurate information for all interpreting assignments.

Strive to use the appropriate interpreter in every situation:

  • A reasonable effort will be made to contact the requested interpreter first. If the requested interpreter is unavailable or cannot be contacted, the VIRS staff will notify the consumer in order to determine if s/he would prefer to reschedule rather than accept another interpreter. With the consumer's consent, another interpreter will be contacted according to certification, skill, and availability.

Refer interpreters in an equitable fashion, based on consumer preference, certification, proximity and availability.

VIRS will compensate for the income lost, if an error on the part of the VIRS results in the following:

  • inaccurate information provided to the interpreter
  • changes in assignment not reported to the interpreter
  • too many interpreters are referred to one job, and the error results in the interpreter not being reimbursed for services.

Provide education and guidelines for the appropriate use of interpreters and the Interpreter Service.

Advocate for the rights of Deaf/Hard of Hearing persons regarding the provision of interpreters by legally mandated agencies.

VIRS seeks input from professional organizations of interpreters for the Deaf, from Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Deaf-blind organizations to improve the interpreter service, upgrade interpreting skills and promote the interpreter profession.

Grievance Procedure

Consumers of interpreter services are encouraged to provide direct feedback to the interpreters involved, to the VIRS staff and/or Board or to the RID, Inc. Grievance Board as appropriate.