Can NIH employees located off Campus
(Rockville, Frederick and Baltimore) use the Interpreting
Yes, the census data gathered for contract funding
purposes does include these areas.
Will ICs be able to request and utilize interpreters
who are not part of Sign Language Associates, Inc. (SLA)
permanent staff? In essence, will SLA allow for subcontracting?
SLA does allow for subcontracting, however, they
will only hire qualified interpreters. If
you have names
and phone numbers of interpreters that are
recommended, please forward them to the Division
of Amenities and Transportation Services (DATS). We would be
happy to work with SLA on your needs.
If the vendor is unable to fill an assignment (with
any interpreter), will an IC be able to bypass the NIH-Wide
contract and procure their own interpreters for any
The vendor, SLA, should not be declining ANY assignments
if scheduled in an appropriate amount of time. Depending
upon the IC's notice to the vendor (i.e., 5 days or
more in advance, day of etc.), we have built in performance
measures that state a percentage of requests that must
be met. However, if a need were to arise that SLA could
not meet, please contact the DATS as soon as possible
so that other arrangements can be made. Advance approval
by the Project Officer and Contracting Officer must
be expressly authorized in order to bypass this NIH-wide
Will my IC be charged directly for utilizing this contract?
For the base year of this five year performance based
contract, NIH has decided to fund the contract centrally.
This means that through the use of NIH census data,
each IC was tapped through the budget offices, and funds
were transferred to the DATS to administer and pay for the services for this
initial year. At the end of the first year, the Project
Officer will meet with NIH Executive Officers and show
tracking data and service usage for that time. This
information will assist the EOs in determining the future
method of funding for this contract.
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Will the NIH-wide contract have a provision for IC
reimbursement of visitor parking fees that are incurred
by sign language interpreters?
We put a lot of thought into this aspect of the contract.
We have issued NIH IDs and parking hangers to the SLA
interpreters dedicated to the NIH. The hangers are for
General Parking. In case of a request to be filled by
a subcontractor or other SLA interpreters, we have given
SLA one dashboard visitor pass. This is kept at SLA
headquarters and used as the need occurs. At this time,
there is no provision to reimburse for Visitor parking,
and SLA has been informed of this.
Does this contract allow for professional note taking
(for D/HH employees attending training classes)?
This falls under the real time captioning (CART) provision
of the contract. The real time captioning uses court
reporters who use court reporting techniques, which
is translated into a format via a laptop or screen.
The information is given to the requestor on disk in
a suitable format. Although available, this service
is extremely expensive and should be used only in extreme
necessity. The DATS will work with the requestor to
determine if the need for CART is appropriate.
What if I need to change something like the date, time
or location of my request?
You may request a change or cancellation to your
request by going to the on-line interpreting services
page and selecting "Change". Again, SLA and
DATS will receive simultaneous notification of the request.
Your change request also places your order in a "Change
Pending" mode. Upon confirmation of the change
by SLA, the DATS staff will update the system to indicate "Change
Confirmed" and email you a confirmation of the
change for your records.
What is the difference between on-going and one-time
interpreting services requests? When should I use one
compared to the other?
The DATS has created these two types of requests to
ensure the best possible service. One-time requests
are for events that are for one day or less in duration.
An example of a one-time event would be a meeting, or
one day conference or training. On-going requests are
for events scheduled over a period of time that exceeds
one day. This selection allows for continuity and assignment
accuracy by allowing SLA to schedule the same interpreter(s)
for the duration of the event. An example of an on-going
request would be for a consumer who has a regularly
scheduled staff meeting or on-going requirement for
a particular day of the week and time. On-going requests
can also be used for training that is scheduled for
more than one day. On-going requests can be made for
up to a year in advance although we request that they
be confirmed every three months and that we be notified
of any changes in advance.
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What if I lose my email confirmation? Is there another
way to check the status of my request?
Yes. At any time, you may review the status of your
one-time or on-going Interpreting Services
request by accessing the on-line interpreting services
page. Select "Check Status", which then
will prompt you to enter the DATS Requestor Tracking
assigned to your request. Once entered, you
will be able to see all pertinent information associated
If you do not have access to a computer, call the DATS
staff for assistance at (301) 402-8180.
Does SLA provide translating service (i.e., Spanish
No. SLA provides different types of sign language interpreting
services for the D/HH only. However, should you require
this type of service you may contact the NIH Library
Translation Unit at 496-2257, or visit their website
What should I do if an interpreter is required for
an emergency situation after normal working hours?
As defined in the contract, emergency requests differ
from "day-of" requests in that they are
required after normal business hours, on weekends
holidays. Examples of true emergency situations
would be to provide interpreting services for Occupational
Medical Services (OMS) meetings, Employee
Program (EAP) meetings, police and ambulance
emergencies, and doctor and patient meetings. For
these types of
after hour emergencies, you should immediately
contact SLA's Emergency Services number at 301- 588-0157.
will speak with SLA's Emergency Coordinator
who can assist you. An interpreter should arrive within
(Please note: the response time (which is
a built in performance standard for this type of request)
to change after review by the Project Officer).
*It should be stressed that this number should only
be used for emergencies that occur after normal business
hours. During normal working hours, the DATS staff is
available to assist with these situations.
How can I get a copy of the Interpreting Services Consumer
You may request copies of the manual by contacting
the DATS staff on 301- 402-8180(v), 301-435-1908 (TTY),
or through email at InterpretingServices@ors.od.nih.gov.
It is now 11:00 am, and I forgot about my meeting that
is scheduled for today at 2:00 PM. What should I do?
Since this request would be received less than 5 days
prior to the start of your event, the DATS can not guarantee
that services would be provided. We would suggest that
you first call the DATS, and we will call SLA and explain
the circumstances. If they can provide services for
you, we will ask that you enter the request on the on-line
interpreting services request page. Please note that
while the DATS and SLA will make every attempt to accommodate
last minute requests, in some cases managers may have
to reschedule meetings in order to ensure the provision
of reasonable accommodations.
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How do I evaluate my interpreter's performance?
When the DATS sends interpreting services confirmations
to the requesting offices, we always include a file
attachment which has our Consumer Feedback Form. This
form was designed to ask questions regarding consumer
satisfaction for those interpreting services (and interpreters)
provided for an event. We ask that the consumers take
a few minutes to complete the form and send it back
to the address indicated. Copies are available at our
web site , there is a copy (page 18) in the Interpreting
Services Consumer Manual, or you can contact the DATS
at 301-402-8180 (v), 301-435-1908 (TTY), or through
email at InterpretingServices@ors.od.nih.gov.
I just discovered that my meeting has been changed
to a different location, and the meeting is scheduled
to start in 20 minutes. How do I let the interpreter
We ask that you immediately contact the DATS at 301-402-8180.
We will immediately contact SLA and notify them of the
change. Of course, we ask that as soon as you learn
of any event changes that you notify our office.
Can I request interpreting services directly from SLA?
We ask that all requests for SLA services be made through
the DATS. This is essential to ensure that the stated
performance standards required for this contract are
being met and that the NIH is getting what it pays for.
It also assists the DATS in tracking data related to
usage (i.e., IC, type of service and number of hours
I have materials that the interpreter should review
before the meeting. What should I do with them?
When entering your request, there is a "Special
Instructions" space where you can indicate if
materials are available for SLA to review prior to
If you forget to enter it or the materials
become available at a later time, please call the
DATS at 301-402-8180
or email us at InterpretingServices@ors.od.nih.gov.
The DATS and SLA will ensure that the materials
are picked-up from your office or give you a fax number
(for agendas etc.) where you can send them.
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My meeting was supposed to last from 1:00 to 3:00 PM.
However, it ran over until 4:00 PM. What do I do?
Please contact the DATS as soon as possible. We will
ensure that the records are updated.
However, if your SLA scheduled interpreter has another
event immediately after yours, they may not be able
to stay until your meeting finishes. That is why it
is imperative to request enough time to cover your event
How do I know how many interpreters to request?
Since this is a performance based contract, we are
relying on SLA's expertise to determine the correct
amount of interpreters per request. SLA and the DATS
will review each request, and depending on the content
and length of the assignment, decide the appropriate
number of interpreters (this helps avoid fatigue and
ensures linguistic accuracy). In some cases there may
be more than one consumer and type of service being
requested at the same time. All of these are taken into
consideration before assigning the interpreter(s).