Frequently-Asked Questions

Quick reference advice to providing linguistic access.

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Legal Requirements

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, or ADA, is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability. It requires employers, public entities, and public accommodations to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled people.

ADA disabilities include both mental and physical medical conditions. A condition does not need to be severe or permanent to be a disability.

Yes. Under the ADA, only private clubs and religious organizations (including places of worship) are exempted from providing accommodations.

Other places of public accommodation (e.g., stores, restaurants, bars, service establishments, theaters, hotels, recreational facilities, private museums and schools, doctors’ and dentists’ offices, shopping malls, and other businesses) are required to do so.

For more information, check out the “Small Business Primer” at ADA.gov. [HTML, PDF]

Under the ADA, private clubs and religious organizations (including places of worship) are not required to provide accommodations. However, other nonprofits are required to do so.

For more information, check out the “Small Business Primer” at ADA.gov, whose guidelines apply to nonprofits equally well. [HTML, PDF]

Remote Interpreting

Best practices for remote interpreting will vary based on the size and style of the event. For example, meetings of 3-4 people will integrate interpreters differently than webinars with 200+ people.

The National Association of the Deaf has authored this informative article about remote communication access. While aimed at employers, the best practices contained in the document apply to other settings as well.

Perhaps most importantly, consider having the host spotlight the interpreter(s) to ensure that they are prominently visible to deaf attendees.

Remote Realtime Captioning

Also called CART, realtime captioning is human-generated simultaneous transcription of spoken English (or other languages) into readable text.

Captioning provides accessibility to audio information for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

It also benefits people whose first language is not English, people with cognitive or motor challenges, as well as those with other communication barriers.

Many virtual meeting platforms (e.g., Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc.) and livestream sites (e.g., YouTube) provide ways for captions to be streamed natively in the platform. This allows users to see captions and adjust their formatting in the same location as your event.

For platforms where captioning integration is not possible, we can stream captions via StreamText, a web-based caption viewing platform. You can view a demo here.