Interpreters are people who are qualified to interpret between two people who have a different language; for Deaf people (Irish Sign Language) and for hearing people (English, an ISL/English interpreter is required. This is to make sure that both parties understand each other fully.

A lot of people may think that Deaf people do not need an interpreter because Deaf people can read English and understand English lip-reading (which is very unreliable), however, research tells us that the average literacy age of a Deaf adult is between 7-9 year old, so while they may understand you, they may not understand what is meant. Having an interpreter means that the information between two people is being shared in the Deaf person’s natural language which is Irish Sign Language but it is very important to mention that not all Deaf people can sign and understand ISL.

In Ireland, to become an interpreter you must have completed and graduated from the Centre for Deaf Studies, Trinity College Dublin. It is essential that you use qualified interpreters in all settings, as they are trained with regards to processing, confidentiality and ethics.


Who needs interpreters?

Deaf people often say the phrase; ” I need an interpreter” which shows that it is only Deaf people who need it, however, this is not true. The Deaf person has the ability to know two languages in the conversation, i.e. ISL and English whereas the hearing person only knows the one language; English. So it is not Deaf people who just need interpreters, it is both the hearing person and the Deaf person so they can both communicate and understand each other without any barriers.

When are interpreters required?

Interpreters can be used for various settings; work, education, training, social and pleasure. The main area where interpreters are required are usually in the following but be aware that they may be used for other purposes depending on the indivdual.

  • Education: lectures, workshops, meetings, training or one-to-one tutorials, parent-teacher meetings, ceremonies etc…
  • Medical: visiting your GP, hospital appointments, surgery, results from tests etc…
  • Law: going to court, dealing with police, serving on jury
  • Service Providers: Social Welfare Office, Health Board office, FÁS office, Citizens Information etc…
  • Work: job interviews, meetings, dealing with public
  • Social & Pleasure: learning how to swim, joining an evening class etc…

What does the Law say?

The Equal Status Act 2000, Section 4 – (1) states;

For the purposes of this Act discrimination includes a refusal or failure by the provider of a service to do all that is reasonable to accommodate the needs of a person with a disability by providing special treatment or facilities, if without such special treatment or facilities it would be impossible or unduly difficult for the person to avail himself or herself of the service.

This means that Deaf people have to a right to interpreters by law.

Who pays for interpreters?

There is always confusion as to who pays for interpreters. If it is government funded, e.g. hospitals, courts, police, college etc.. they must pay for the interpreters. If it’s in a Work setting, it is usually negotiated with the company. If it is for your own social and pleasure, normally the cost is to the person booking the interpreter. Finally, in general a Deaf person should never be asked to pay for equal access to communication through ISL.

Interpreting Agencies

There are three main interpreting agencies in Ireland where you can book an ISL/English Interpreter.

Deaf Village Ireland
Ratoath Road
Dublin 7

T: 01-4139670
F: 01-4139677
M: 0879806996

Unit 18
Tuam Road Retail Centre
Tuam Road
GalwayT: 091-762470
F: 091-762558
M: 0873284623
Bridge InterpretingT: 087 9046594
F: 01 7079768
M: 087 9046594




Irish Sign Language >> Interpreters