Interpreter Services for the Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing

The NCDHHS Division of Social Services recognizes that local Departments of Social Services have a need for sign language interpreting and transliterating services when serving Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deaf-Blind individuals and their families.

As mandated in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and as amended by the ADA Amendment Act of 2008 (42 U.S.C. 12131-12189) providing sign language interpreting services ensures those families experience effective communication and equal access to DSS and other services. Ultimately, effective communication is information that is equally clear and understandable to all parties, just as it would if the individual were not Deaf, Hard of Hearing or Deaf-Blind.

To ensure quality interpreting and transliterating services for all Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deaf-Blind people in North Carolina, a North Carolina Interpreter and Transliterator Licensure Act (N.C.G.A. 90D) was created. Per this statute, individuals being compensated in any way for providing sign language interpreting or transliterating services in North Carolina must be licensed. For example, a social worker who interprets while on duty as a DSS employee but is not licensed would be violating this statute. Exemptions would be individuals interpreting in religious or educational settings or in medical/mental health emergencies until a licensed interpreter becomes available.

In North Carolina, licensure is a minimum requirement. Interpreters still need to be qualified, as defined in the ADA, for specific assignments.

NCDHHS’ Division of Services for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing (DSDHH) has guidelines for procuring interpreting and transliterating services to assist in selecting a licensed interpreter who is qualified and appropriate for a specific job.

DSDHH has Interpreting Services Specialists available at its seven regional centers, which serve all 100 counties, to provide training, consultation and technical assistance to DSS staff regarding sign language interpreting and transliterating resources. There is no charge for DSDHH services. Find a regional center that serves your county.

DSDHH also maintains an up-to-date list of licensed interpreters to aid in locating a licensed interpreter.

For further information contact:
Carlotta Dixon, DSS Interpreter Services Coordinator