Answers to Common Questions

Communication Access FAQs

Here are some questions and answers that you may find helpful. If you have additional questions or need some information about our services that you do not find on our website, please contact us, we would be happy to help!

How do we contact the Referral Department?

For general inquiries, the Interpreter/CART Referral Department is open from 8:00am-5:00pm, Monday through Friday. The Interpreter/CART Referral Department can be reached at 603-224-1850 ext. 250. We can also be reached by email at or by videophone at 603-968-5891.

If you have an emergency need for a sign language interpreter after normal business hours or on a weekend or holiday and your hospital has contracted with NDHHS for the Emergency Medical Interpreter Services (EMIS) program, please follow your hospital’s policies for after-hours emergencies.

If you have an emergency need for a sign language interpreter after normal business hours or on a weekend or holiday, and you are part of law enforcement or the medical or mental health community, you can make an after-hours request to the New Hampshire E911 Supervisor at 1-800-552-3202. This phone number is only for legal, medical, or mental health emergencies.

How do I make a Request?

The Interpreter/CART Referral Department accepts requests through our online request form, via email or by phone (603-224-1850 x250). Requests received via fax are not accepted. The requester (you, your business or your organization) is asked to provide the following information when making an interpreter or CART request:

  • Business/Organization name, phone number, and address
  • Date, time, and length of assignment
  • Location and nature of the assignment and/or agenda
  • Name(s) of Deaf/Hard of Hearing people involved
  • Preferred mode of communication, if known (i.e., American Sign Language, Signed English, etc.)
  • Names of preferred interpreters or CART providers (Deaf/Hard of Hearing individuals may have a preference for specific interpreters or CART providers.)
  • Name and phone number of the contact person for the day of the assignment
  • Any other pertinent information
If you submit a request and do not receive acknowledgement of your request within one business day, please contact referral staff to be sure your request was successfully transmitted.


What if I need to cancel or make a change in the time of the request after securing the interpreter through NDHHS?


  • If you have a uSked account, you can simply log in and mark the request as Cancelled. This will automatically notify both the interpreter(s) and NDHHS Referral staff.
  • If you do NOT have a uSked account, and it’s during NDHHS office hours (M-F, 8a-5p), please call to notify NDHHS Referral staff. If it’s NOT during NDHHS office hours, AND getting close 48-hours before the assignment (after which interpreters can charge for a short-notice cancellation), please contact the interpreter directly. Each interpreter’s contact info (email and phone number) will be in the Confirmation Email that was provided to the requester.

If times need to be changed, please contact NDHHS Referral staff for assistance.

Who pays for services?

Interpreting services and CART services are considered communication access, and are part of making 

programs and services accessible to persons with disabilities. Most public and many private entities are
obligated by provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act and/or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation
Act of 1973 to provide accessibility for persons with disabilities, including:
  • places of employment
  • medical service providers
  • federal, state, and municipal government entities
  • public and private agencies and service providers
  • public and private educational institutions
  • performances and events open to the public (whether publicly or privately funded)
More detailed information about each of these laws and their provisions can be found in the Appendix of the NH Interpreter Directory.
What is a referral fee?

Your organization/business will be billed a referral fee for using the interpreter/CART referral service. The referral fee is separate from the fees for service you will receive from the interpreter/CART reporter(s). The referral fee applies once the request has been filled and you have given the authorization for the confirmation of the interpreter/CART reporter. See the Referral Fee Schedule for costs. Please note there is a 4% processing charge when paying via credit card. This fee can be avoided by paying via check or money order.

To access NDHHS’s current referral fees, please click here.
How much do interpreters cost?
Freelance interpreters referred by NDHHS are self-employed, independent contractors. They set and negotiate their own fees, with the exception of jobs for the State of New Hampshire where New Hampshire state rates are honored. A copy of New Hampshire state rate fee schedule can be found here .

You will receive an invoice directly from the interpreter after completion of service. Bills will include a two hour minimum or total time onsite (if more than 2 hours), travel time (portal to portal) billed at the interpreter’s hourly rate, mileage, billed at the federal reimbursement mileage rate, and all tolls incurred. The interpreter is paid for the entire time for which he or she has originally been scheduled (including expected travel time). This includes any time when the interpreter is not actually interpreting but is on location and available to interpret, including any waiting time, breaks, and meal times.
The standard practice cancellation policy in New Hampshire is 48 hours, regardless of inclement weather. If an appointment gets cancelled with less than 48 hours advance notice, interpreters will bill the business for the scheduled time of the appointment as well as for travel time. Please note that since interpreters/CART reporters are self-employed they may have a different cancellation policy.
Please note that these are standards throughout New Hampshire. Each interpreter/CART reporter is a self-employed, independent contractor and therefore may set his or her own policies. Please contact the interpreter/CART reporter directly to discuss any negotiations of rates or policies.
What is American Sign Language?

American Sign Language (ASL) is the primary language used by many people in the Deaf community and is a visual gestural language with its own grammar, syntax and structure. ASL is very different from English and can vary from region to region within the United States, similar to the way accents vary in different parts of the United States.  

What is interpreting?
Interpreting is a skill separate from knowing how to sign and it requires special training and many years of practice to become proficient. Interpreters pay close attention to what is being communicated so that they can extract the meaning and convert it into the second language. To do this, it is important that interpreters have solid foundations in both languages, awareness of the cultural ideas and attitudes for both language groups, and be able to articulate themselves clearly.  
What does an interpreter do?

An interpreter allows people who use different languages to communicate. An interpreter’s responsibility is to accurately convey information from one person to another, in this case between a Deaf or Hard of Hearing person to a person who can hear. Interpreters are bound by a code of professional conduct which requires them to be impartial and that any information learned in the course of an interpreting assignment be kept strictly confidential.

There are different kinds of interpreters: Certified Deaf Interpreters (CDIs), oral interpreters, Signed English interpreters, and Deaf-Blind interpreters. It is best to ask the Deaf or Hard of Hearing person what kind of interpreter will best match their needs.  
What is CART and who uses it?

CART stands for Communication Access Realtime Translation. A CART reporter provides a display of the spoken conversation on either a large screen or a laptop computer. The CART reporter is similar to a court stenographer. The reporter types the spoken conversation verbatim into a stenotype machine that is connected to either a laptop or an LCD projector. Translation software translates the message into written English. The Deaf or Hard of Hearing person reads and follows the conversation via the laptop or the screen.

Some Deaf and Hard of Hearing people use CART to gain full access to the conversation. CART may be especially helpful to Deaf and Hard of Hearing people who do not know sign language. 
What is a Certified Deaf interpreter (CDI)?

A Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI) is an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing and has been certified by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. A Certified Deaf Interpreter may be needed when the communication mode of a deaf consumer is so unique that it cannot be adequately assessed or accessed by interpreters who are hearing. Some such situations may involve individuals whom:

  • use idiosyncratic non-standard signs or gestures such as those commonly referred to as “home signs” which are unique to a family
  • use a foreign sign language
  • are deaf-blind or deaf with limited vision
  • use signs particular to a given region, ethnic or age group
  • have minimal or limited language skills
  • have characteristics reflective of Deaf Culture and not familiar to hearing interpreters
  • Legal or mental health situations may also require a Deaf interpreter whose first language fluency allows for more accurate interpretation
How do I work with an interpreter or CART reporter?
  1. Try to meet with the Interpreter or CART Reporter 10-15 minutes before the assignment to arrange placement, lighting, and backdrops so that the interpreter or CART Reporter and Deaf or Hard of Hearing participants can see one another well.
  2. Look at and talk directly to the Deaf or Hard of Hearing person.
  3. Speak at a normal rate.
  4. Be aware that, due to the interpreting process, there will be a slight time delay when communicating with a Deaf or Hard of Hearing consumer.
  5. Allow extra time for Deaf or Hard of Hearing participants to look at visual aids (notes on the board, overheads, etc.) before speaking again.
  6. In group settings it is important that people speak one at a time to allow the interpreter or CART reporter time to convey all the information accurately.
What are the different interpreting certifications and what do they mean?

National Certifications Recognized by the State of New Hampshire:

The certificates described below are an indication that the interpreter was assessed by a group of peers according to a nationally recognized standard of minimum competence. The individual’s performance was deemed to meet or exceed this national standard.

CI (Certificate of Interpretation)
Holders of this certificate are recognized as fully certified in Interpretation and have demonstrated the ability to interpret between American Sign Language (ASL) and spoken English in both sign-to-voice and voice-to-sign.

CT (Certificate of Transliteration)
Holders of this certificate are recognized as fully certified in Transliteration and have demonstrated the ability to transliterate between English-based sign language and spoken English in both sign-to-voice and voice-to-sign.

NIC (National Interpreter Certification)
Individuals achieving certification at the NIC, NIC Advanced or NIC Master level are all professionally certified interpreters. In all three domains, certificate holders must demonstrate professional knowledge and skills that meet or exceed the minimum professional standards necessary to perform in a broad range of interpretation and transliteration assignments.

SC:L (Specialist Certificate: Legal)
Holders of this specialist certificate have demonstrated specialized knowledge of legal settings and greater familiarity with language used in the legal system. Generalist certification and documented training and experience are required prior to sitting for this exam.

CDI (Certified Deaf Interpreter)
Holders of this certificate are Deaf or hard of hearing themselves and work in tandem with a hearing interpreter. Most CDIs have ASL as their native language and have had specific training in ASL/English interpretation. A CDI may be needed when the communication mode of the deaf consumer is idiosyncratic or limited.


State Screenings Recognized by the State of New Hampshire:

MCDHH (Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing)
MCDHH approved interpreters are considered entry-level interpreters and are referred to interpret in settings appropriate to their skill level. Interpreters must pass an interview and a performance examination to become MCDHH-approved. Interpreters are encouraged to continue to upgrade their skills in order to become certified by the RID.

NHICS (New Hampshire Interpreter Classification System)
The NHICS screening is designed for approving persons not yet nationally certified by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf to interpret in New Hampshire in basic and limited interpreting environments. An interpreter must pass an interview and performance evaluation before becoming state screened. The screening allows interpreters to work in the interpreting field while developing and improving their skills.


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