SHB 2221: Improving access to interpreters
  1. United States
  2. Wash.
  3. Letter

SHB 2221: Improving access to interpreters

To: Gov. Inslee, Rep. Chopp, Rep. Macri, Sen. Pedersen

From: A constituent in Seattle, WA

February 6

Seattle has a large Deaf population, and the largest Deaf Blind community in the United States. These people rely on interpreters to have equal access to information. Many of my Deaf and Deaf Blind friends hesitate to participate in events, make appointments, or even go to the hospital, because access to interpreters is both overly cumbersome and not guaranteed. Interpreters, especially in hospital settings, are increasingly being relegated to online video call services. Video call interpreters do not work for everyone, especially Deaf Blind or language deprived individuals. Often there are very limited alternative options. Language deprived Deaf often require a Deaf interpreter as well as a hearing interpreter to effectively communicate and access information. I believe proper Seattle currently only has one Deaf interpreter to meet this need, and he is currently switching into a new profession due to the poor pay and high stress of interpreting. We are failing our Deaf and Deaf Blind community. We aren’t doing enough to attract new interpreters nor enough to retain the interpreters we currently have. People are left without access to communication during medical visits, in school, and a myriad of other situations critical to a good life. I don’t think SHB2221 does nearly enough to address this problem, but it’s a step in the right direction.

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