Interpreting Services

Elizabeth Setley

Elizabeth Setley, is our Director of Interpreting & CART Services. She schedules our nationally certified  interpreters to facilitate the best communication possible between our medical, educational, government and business partners for their Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing consumers.

Elizabeth is Nationally Certified, Ed: K-12 Certified,  registered with Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH) and AOPC certified. she organizes ongoing interpreting workshops for our interpreters team to maintain their national certification, while supporting an ongoing advocacy program to ensure the rights  for our Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing consumers.

Business Summary
Berks Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services is a non-profit group first established in 1968 to provide services to the deaf and hard of hearing community in Berks County, PA. The BDHHS vision is to be the premier organization serving deaf and hard of hearing individuals in Berks and surrounding counties, as well as providing services in New Jersey, Baltimore and Delaware.

Sign Language Interpreters are Nationally Certified through RID (Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf) and registered with the (ODHH) Office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.  Our interpreters attend extensive workshops to improve their skills, keep up to date with current policies, and obtain  additional specialized certifications such as SC:L (Specialized Certificate: Legal), NIC (Nationally Certified Interpreter), Ed:K-12 (Educational Certified), and CDI (Certified Deaf Interpreter)

CART providers are local and across the country, certifications range from CBC (Certified Broadcast Captioner),CRR (Certified Real-time Reporter), CSR (Certified Shorthand Reporter) and RPR (Registered    Professional Reporter). Languages include English and Spanish.

Sign Language Interpreters are Nationally Certified through Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID). Sign Language Interpreters make the communication connection between the deaf/hard of hearing and hearing world.

  • Medical Settings
  • Employment, interviews, meetings and trainings
  • Social; personal and family events
  • Government and State Agencies
  • K-12 Education and Colleges/Universities         

Sign Language Past Performances

  • Berks County Court of Common Pleas, Chester County Courthouse, Montgomery County Courts
  • Hamburg Area School District, Hazleton School District, PA
  • Colleg of Art and Design, Delaware Valley College, RACC
  • East Penn Mfg., Teleflex Mfg.
  • UGI Utilities Inc.

CART Service Past Performances

  • Berks County Intermediate Unit
  • Chester County Intermediate Unit
  • County of Berks Court of Common Pleas
  • Kutztown University


Interpreting Services Policies

Cancellation Policy

It is the responsibility of the Customer to notify BDHHS/LCDHH if either you or your client cancels an appointment. 

  • One day assignment – There is a minimum of two hours on all assignments.  If BDHHS/LCDHH is not notified of cancellation within 48 hours, the customer will be billed for the full length of the assignment scheduled plus travel time and mileage. If the interpreter is cancelled within 48 hours of the assignment, allowing BDHHS/LCDHH time to cancel the interpreter, the customer will be billed for the length of the assignment minus the travel time and mileage.   
  • Multi-day assignments – If BDHHS/LCDHH is not notified of cancellation within 72 hours, then the customer will be billed for the days of service.

No Show Policy

For assignments lasting up to two hours, the interpreter(s) is required to wait a minimum of 20 minutes if your client is not present at the confirmed stated time of the assignment. The customer can discharge the interpreter immediately or request that the interpreter wait until the end of the assignment for the your client to arrive.
For assignments more than two hours, the interpreter will check with the customer to find out how long to wait. Customers who would like the interpreter(s) to work whether the client is present or not, should make this clear at the time the request for interpreting is made.

    Team Interpreting Policy

    • Hearing/Hearing Team: It is BDHHS/LCDHH’s policy to assign two (2) interpreters to work as a team for the duration of complex assignments or those exceeding two hours. 
    • Deaf/Hearing Team: BDHHS/LCDHH uses a Deaf/Hearing team, one Deaf interpreter and one Hearing interpreter, in all legal and most mental health assignments. These are major life altering and both are a critical situations that requires a Deaf/Hearing team. Our Deaf interpreters have excellent linguistic skill in ASL and the best cultural connection to your Deaf client. In addition, certain Deaf clients require a Deaf/Hearing team due to limited language skills even in regular assignments.
    • The need for a Hearing/Hearing team or a Deaf/Hearing team will be confirmed at the time a request is made.

      Bad Weather Cancellation

      BDHHS will not be responsible to listen to news media cancellation reports. BDHHS/LCDHH must be notified of any cancellations or postponements by the customer.

      Our Interpreters


      Sign language interpreters provide the communication link between Deaf and Hard of Hearing and Hearing individuals.  
      All BDHHS/LCDHH interpreters are personally evaluated and must be RID Nationally Certified.
      Services of a sign language interpreter are used in a variety of situations and locations

      Interpreter Settings

      • Business/Corporate
      • Educational/Academic
      • Legal
      • Medical
      • Mental Healths
      • Personal

      CART Captioning Services

      CART is an acronym that stands for Communication Access Real-time Translation.  By looking at the meaning of each of these words, CART can be defined as; “the ability to use information at the actual time it occurs as it’s converted to another form”. CART can be performed in almost any setting such as classrooms, businesses meetings, churches, graduations, etc.  In all of these settings the information is the spoken word and the conversion is into text.  So, by placing these two terms into the definition, it changes to; “the ability to see spoken words converted into text at the actual time they occur.” In most instances a captioner, who uses a steno-graph machine, will listen to what is being said and, by using their machine, will translate the words into text.  This text will then be displayed on a computer screen that the captioner is connected to.  The hearing impaired individual can then view the screen and read what the people in the room are saying almost at the exact same time they are saying it.  This allows the hearing impaired individual more freedom to interact with everyone in the room.

      Onsite CART uses the setup that is described in the previous paragraph where the captioner and the hard of hearing individual are in the same room.

      Remote CART separates the two by having the captioner at a different location then the hard of hearing individual. Remote CART is performed by using internet technologies such as streaming text.  The setup for this requires two things.  The first would be getting the audio transmitted to the captioner wherever they may be.  This can be accomplished by using normal telephone lines, or by transmitting the audio over the internet.  The second would be getting the captioned text transmitted to the hearing impaired individual.  This can also be accomplished by using the internet.  Most CART captioning companies already have the capability to do this using simple desktop sharing or text streaming software.

      Advantages of CART

      • CART allows equal access to all spoken information and allows participants to not only fully understand, but also participate in proceedings and discussions.
      • CART can be used by several people at the same time. This includes people who are hard of hearing or deaf, people with English as a second language, people with physical limitations or people with processing or learning difficulties.
      • A verbatim printout is available which eliminates the need to take notes.
      • CART increases reading and comprehension skills​
      • Participants are able to sit anywhere in the room.

      Interpreting Services FAQ

      Why should I hire an interpreter?

      Every business wants to improve their company image. Accessibility attracts people with disabilities, their friends and families. This is a potentially untapped resource of new customers, patients or employees. Would you want to take the risk of miscommunication between yourself and your clientele? Communication is key to successful interactions. This issue is so important that it is required by law. If you are you a business or non-profit agency that serves the public, you are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act to make your facility accessible to all people, regardless of disability.

      Can't I just write back and forth?

      For some deaf individuals, writing back and forth may be an option, but for many it is not. English is not the first language for culturally Deaf individuals. American Sign Language and English have different grammatical structures and therefore, writing a sentence in English may not always be clear.

      How do i use an interpreter?

      There are some factors to keep in mind when working with a sign language interpreter.

      • Understand that all professional interpreters operate under a Code of Professional Conduct and must keep all information strictly confidential. 
      • Remember to address the deaf person at all times. Speak at a natural pace. 
      • There is no need to say “tell her/him.” Everything the interpreter hears will be interpreted.
      • The interpreter will need to be able to hear the person speaking and see the deaf person that is signing, placement and lighting will be important.
      • The interpreter will not always know the deaf person; you may  need to perform the initial introductions. 
      • Provide any pre-written speeches or text as soon as possible to the interpreter for review. 
      • Situations that require more that two hours will most likely require more than one interpreter. 

      What about a family member or friend?

      Although the deaf person may have a family member that knows sign language, this is usually not an appropriate option. Family members are usually too emotionally attached to provide unbiased interpretation. Not to mention the HIPPA violations that may be involved. Unless a family member is a certified interpreter, they do not have the same standards and regulations to uphold.

      How much does it cost?

      It depends on the situation. BDHHS is very competitively priced. Our rates start at $49.00 per hour for an on-site interpreter. We also have Video Interpretation available. Please contact us for more information and a rate sheet.

      Tax credits and deductions

      To assist businesses with complying with the ADA, Section 44 of the IRS Code allows a tax credit for small businesses and Section 190 of the IRS Code allows a tax deduction for all businesses. 
      The tax credit is available to businesses that have total revenues of $1,000,000 or less in the previous tax year or 30 or fewer full-time employees. This credit can cover 50% of the eligible access expenditures in a year up to $10,250 (maximum credit of $5000). The tax credit can be used to offset the cost of undertaking barrier removal and alterations to improve accessibility; providing accessible formats such as Braille, large print and audio tape; making available a sign language interpreter or a reader for customers or employees, and for purchasing certain adaptive equipment.
      The tax deduction is available to all businesses with a maximum deduction of $15,000 per year. The tax deduction can be claimed for expenses incurred in barrier removal and alterations. To learn more about the tax credit and tax deduction provisions, contact the DOJ ADA Information Line:  800-514-0301 (voice)