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ASL Translation Services

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APSEA's ASL (American Sign Language) translation services help to create accessible spaces that are inclusive and diverse. It is important to consider all parties having an equal and mutual need for sight-translation services. By acknowledging diversity in language and recognizing the need for sign language/English translation, APSEA can provide opportunities for consistent and effective communication for all employees, families, educational and community partners.


Freelance Interpreter: a self-employed person who works as an independent contractor for a range of clients providing ASL/English interpretation.

Interpreting Services & Translation Lead: a person with Deaf Interpreter training employed by APSEA and is responsible for coordinating staff-related interpretation services and producing English/ASL translations for organizational purposes.

Staff Interpreter: a person employed by APSEA who is responsible for responding to interpreting needs within the organization, coordinated by the Interpreting Services & Translation Lead.


This document reflects the expectations and standards for the provision of ASL translation services within APSEA in the support of communication access for all staff, children, youth, their families and communities.

Professional Integrity

APSEA's ASL translation services are administered by the Interpreting Services & Translation Lead who provides translation services by creating ASL translations of English documents and recordings, as well as written English documents from ASL recordings. As a Deaf person, the Interpreting Services & Translation Lead incorporates formative linguistic, regional, and cultural components to ensure accurate and appropriate translations that suit the intended audience.

The Interpreting Services & Translation Lead follows the Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Professional Conduct under CASLI- Canadian Association of Sign Language Interpreters and/or NAD-RID (National Association for the Deaf- Registry Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc) Code of Professional Conduct. Deaf Interpreter training supports the ability to translate from written or print text into ASL. As such, the Interpreting Services & Translation Lead requires the ability of two key skills that are central to written/ASL translation:

  • Reading or ASL comprehension skills- the ability to comprehend written text in one language.
  • Written or ASL performance skills- the ability to produce a comparable rendition in written or recorded form into a second language.

Types of Translations

The Interpreting Services & Translation Lead will determine what type of translation service is needed after gathering information from the person that requests the service. Translation services include:

  • Written/Recorded Translation: Refers to the rendering of written text in one language to comparable written in another language. In the case of ASL, which has no written form, translation may be rendered from a written text to video format, either live or recorded.
  • Sight Translation: Refers to the provision of spontaneous spoken or sighted translation of written text.

Translation Cycle

The Interpreting Services & Translation Lead receives the requests for translation services. Please provide the following details in the translation service requests:

  • Required deadline: Assignments with shorter content may be ready in 1-2 workdays. Assignments with larger content will require several days or weeks to complete, depending on the amount and complexity of the content.
  • Intended Audience: Children/youth, APSEA staff, families, educational and community partners, or public.
  • Length of Content: Longer documents may require several video translations.
  • Final Document: Submit final documents only to ensure accurate translations.
  • Preparation Materials: Provide any materials that may provide background and context, as required and as available.
  • Video Submission: Videos need to be closed captioned to provide translation/ interpreting service. Submit the transcript of the video to support the translation. If the video will be interpreted (i.e., English to ASL), the video will need to be slow in pace with frequent pauses to allow time for the interpretation. If the video requires a voice over (i.e., ASL to English), the Interpreting Services & Translation Lead will book an interpreter for this service.
  • Visual contents: If there are visual contents such as pictures, graphs, etc., indicate if they should be translated to ASL. When indicated, the Interpreting Services & Translation Lead will describe the visual content in a summative format in ASL.

The Interpreting Services & Translation Lead will gather the information and confirm assignments, where possible within 24 hours of receiving the request for services. They may communicate with the designated Information Technology (IT) staff member to determine how best to set up the translation (e.g., one long video, several videos related to topic/paragraph, etc.). Once the translation is completed, the person who requested the translation service will receive the link(s).

Translation Considerations

When determining the appropriateness for sight-translation services, consider the following:

  • Intended Audience: For documents with broad intended audiences, translation is recommended. For smaller intended audiences, translation may not be required. If unsure, ask the recipients for their content language preference.
  • Content: For documents that contain important information and/or complex language, translation is recommended.
  • Team Interpreting: A team of interpreters may be required for assignments that requiring additional support. Such teams may include the Interpreting Services & Translation Lead, Staff Interpreter(s) and/or Freelance Interpreter(s). The Interpreting Services & Translation Lead will help determine when this may be required.

Contact Information

APSEA Interpreting Services and Translation Lead
Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority (APSEA)
5940 South Street
Halifax, NS B3H 1S6