New sign language interpreting rules take effect in Michigan

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan Supreme Court justice and state civil rights officials are highlighting new rules that establish minimum certification levels for sign language interpreters that must be provided in courtrooms, doctor’s offices and elsewhere.

The requirements, which took effect two weeks ago, are designed to ensure that deaf and deafblind individuals can communicate effectively, especially in high-stakes settings.

Justice Bridge McCormack and leaders at the Michigan Department of Civil Rights held a news conference Wednesday at the Hall of Justice in Lansing to call attention to the requirements.

Annie Urasky, director of the department’s Division on Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing, says credentialing interpreters recognizes that not all interpreting assignments are the same. She says for legal and medical matters, interpreters need extra training and competence in the subject matter.

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