The Importance of Qualified Interpreters

A video has gone viral about an “interpreter” that was seen in a Manatee County emergency broadcast in Florida:

As you can see from the captions, this isn’t exactly easy to understand- right? This is probably a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Conveniently, Manatee County offers a PDF available on their webpage here where they explain this law: 

“Effective Communication: Manatee County Government will generally, upon request, provide appropriate aids and services to facilitate an effective means of communication for qualified persons with disabilities so they may meaningfully participate in County programs, services, and activities. Such aids and services may include, but are not limited to, qualified sign language interpreters, converting documents to alternative formats, and other ways of making information and communications accessible to people who have speech, hearing or vision impairments.” -Manatee County Website

Did you notice the words ‘generally’ and ‘appropriate’? An emergency broadcast “generally qualifies as one of those situations that you need interpreters no matter what. Why? Because if this information is not given out to these people in a language they understand then they will not understand it. Florida gives all of their emergency procedures in Spanish as well as English, yet making sure the ‘terp’ they put on TV knows an “appropriate” amount of ASL is on their back-burner. 

Luckily other counties found a way to follow the law! Check out a comparison below: 

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