Frequently Asked Questions
Interpreters costs vary, but in the Austin area, they can be as much as $75.00 an hour, plus travel. Some meetings require two interpreters. We have contracted with interpreters we know for a considerably more economic price, and coordinate our efforts so that several Deaf AA members attend the same meetings.
Interpreters go through many years of training. There are several levels of competency as well, in order to accurately translate from English to American Sign Language. Travel time plays into it as well, and gas prices, distance, and fluctuate. We have, but many times it was not communicated to the Deaf AA members that a meeting was available, or the meeting was not at a time or place the Deaf person could access. Our Intergroup allows the Deaf AA member to choose the meeting that is close to them and at a time that works. Also, a smaller group that may not have the funds to support an interpreter, contributes what they can, but we pool our resources so all needs are met.
It depends on many factors, most related to having enough AA members with long-term sobriety willing to do 12-step work, helping Deaf AA members feeling welcome and a part of the group, and anonymity concerns. We need more AA members who are willing to sponsor, fellowship, and do basic newcomer service work with Deaf alcoholics. No. ASL is not English. Many Deaf people did not learn English at all. Some know a little, others were raised knowing it as a second language.
Interpreters follow a strict code of ethics, like other professionals, and are bound by this to keep to this.
Actually, there is one AA meeting in Austin, that is conducted all in ASL. It includes Deaf AA members and hearing AA members who know sign language. But AA is made up of more than Deaf AA members, and to provide access to all of our experience strength and hope, we provide interpreters. This also allows hearing AA members access to the Deaf AA members experience strength and hope.
Wonderful! That’s helpful to those that live near you and know about the interpreted meeting. We provide meetings in areas where there has been no access so we can demonstrate that we are a fellowship of equals and allow choice to all members. AA has many resources through the arm of service called Accessibility available at aa.org on the Members section, and Services. We invite you to read the guidelines on “Sharing the AA Message with the Alcoholic Who is Deaf.”
We do cooperate with other agencies, and some of the meetings listed on our schedule are interpreted through these agencies. Our experience shows that volunteers may not have the skill level to interpret clearly or accurately our AA message, and sometimes interpreters simply do not show up. You get what you pay for!