In 2003 New Hampshire began to require that individuals working and getting paid as interpreters in the state are required to be licensed.
There are exemptions and a waiver process under the licensure law.
1. Religious settings
2. Some emergency situation, for example someone in an emergency room
3. Interpreters working in schools, K-12th grade
4. Interpreting students
5. Interpreters from out of state, who are legally certified, can be hired to work in the courtroom
Also, a Deaf or Hard of Hearing person may request a waiver for a specific, unlicensed, interpreter. This must be requested and approved prior to the situation. Every time the Deaf or Hard of Hearing person wants to use an unlicensed interpreter, they must explain their reasons. If the unlicensed interpreter will be paid for their time, a waiver is necessary.
The Authority of the Board
The Board is made up of 9 members: 4 Deaf; 4 Interpreters; and one other hearing member who is not an interpreter.
The Board has the authority to do four things:
1. Grant Licenses, Renew Licenses, Suspend Licenses and Revoke Licenses if necessary
2. Interpreters must follow a Code of Professional Conduct
3. The Board oversees/monitors all interpreters
4. The Board must have a Grievance process in place.
The requirements needed to get a license are:
1. State Screening OR
2. National Certification OR
3. Oral Interpreter – The Board must approve the training program
4. License or Screening from another state – if an interpreter moves to New Hampshire, the Board will look a their screening or license and decide to approve or deny approval
Additional requirements are:
1. Must be 18 years of age
2. Must pay the license fee
3. Must be Screened or Nationally Certified and provide documentation
4. Must be professional
5. Must follow the Professional Code of Conduct
6. If, in the past, the interpreter was in trouble they must notify the Board
7. Once an interpreter has signed the licensure paperwork, they must adhere to the License Board rules.
The Code of Professional Conduct is a set of rules, which interpreters must follow. For example, interpreters are not allowed to share information about a private situation they have interpreted; they are not permitted to interject their opinion while working as an interpreter; interpreters are not allowed to take control of any situation they are hired to interpret; they must wear appropriate clothing for the assignment; or interpreters should not arrive late to assignments. If any of these do happen, a complaint may be filed with the License Board.
How to File a Complaint
If you would like to file a complaint, you should contact the License Board Chairperson. There are three ways to contact the Chairperson:
1. You may write a letter yourself
2. If you are uncomfortable writing a written English letter, you may ask someone to write it for you
3. You may video yourself using ASL/Sign Language
You may choose whichever option you prefer. Once you have written or signed your complaint, send it to the Board Chairperson.
Once the Chairperson receives the complaint, two members, one Deaf and one hearing interpreter, will be chosen to work as a team to interview appropriate individuals and gather information. The team will then write a report (no names are mentioned in the report) and give the report to the Board. The Board will discuss the situation and make a decision as to what should be done. Once the Board makes a decision, they will contact the individuals involved and inform them of the decision.
Interpreting Without a License
The Licensure law requires that all interpreters must be licensed to work. If an interpreter breaks this law and interpreters without a license, potential consequences could be;
1. A $250/day fine can be charged
2. Or, a one-time fine of $2,000.00 can be charged
If you have questions or concerns or if you would like more information you can contact the board.