NJAD response

Earlier this week, I was asked by a board member of NJRID to respond to this video by NJAD president, Michele Cline.

This was my response:

Her description of the contract is accurate and the Deaf community’s concerns are understandable. ASLI shares the same concerns.

In short, there are good agencies and bad agencies. Hopefully, the evaluation committee chooses good agencies over bad, even if their price is higher.

I can tell you about our agency’s perspective. By bidding on this contract, we are looking to administer it to the satisfaction of the Deaf community, the interpreting community, and the state. If there is an interpreter that a Deaf consumer prefers, wonderful, that actually makes our job easier.

From my experience bidding on eight RFPs in the past three years, I can tell you only an agency of a certain size will win. Applicants need a business license, financial statements, and experience in administering similar sized contracts. Individual interpreters, coalitions of interpreters, and small agencies are not going to be considered. This does not mean that local interpreters will lose work since there are only a limited number of certified interpreters in any area and a smart and ethical agency will try for “business as usual” for interpreters.

Deaf/Blind interpreting is actually not covered under this RFP. It can be offered as an optional service, but the winning agency does not need to provide tactile interpreters. Presumably, state agencies would continue to order those services as they have been.

The essential question of NJAD seems to be, how can they increase the chances that their needs are met, especially around requesting preferred interpreters and giving feedback about agency performance?

After February 28th, when bid are due, a group of people, the evaluation committee, will sit down with a pile of proposals and start reading them. They will score them based on a few “technical” factors, namely the agency’s experience, personnel, and ability. Then they’ll look at the prices the agencies submitted.

Based on the technical score and the price, the committee will award contracts, likely one or two for each of the three regions. My guess is it will take at least four months to award a contract.

The big question is: how much will the evaluation committee weigh the non-price factors? I don’t believe that NJ has established a method for evaluating the different factors or weighing those with the price.

That is where NJAD can influence the process. Since the evaluation criteria aren’t set in stone and the decisions are made by live people the community can express their concerns. Who is on the committee? No one knows yet, but it will be at least one person from Dept of Purchase and Property who issued the RFP plus, hopefully, representatives from the biggest users: DDHH (Deaf/HoH), DCF (Children), LWD (Voc Rehab) and DHMH (hospitals).

NJAD members can contact DDHH and other agencies and let them know what is important to you. That seems to be:
The bid demonstrates the ability and desire to match consumer requests with specific interpreters.
The bid includes a complaint system within the agency.
The final evaluation should weigh the quality of the technical proposal more heavily that the price.

Also, NJAD or individual Deaf can write letters of recommendation or support to agencies to include in their proposal.

Hopefully, the selection committee will value quality and ethics over price.


David Jondreau


Commercial featuring Deaf professional footballer

Kojo Nnamdi hosts Gallaudet

Kojo Nnamdi with Dr. Melanie Metzger Chair of Gallaudet’s Interpretation Department. Using South African Thamsanqa Jantjie’s sign language interpreting fraud at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service as a starting point, Kojo and Dr. Metzger have an informative question and answer session about sign language and interpreting!

The results are in…

The results of the Deaf Parents Member-at-Large are in…

The motion has failed by the narrowest of margins. 2/3 of the voters needed to approve, that’s 856 out of 1,283. 851 actually voted for it, meaning the motion failed by 5 votes our of almost 1,300 cast!


50 years…

Wink covers JFK

Maryland Awards

The Visual Communications Contract for the State of Maryland had 12 different categories. Below are the categories and awards for each. The contract divided the state into Regions, based on the county in which the work will be performed.

Western / Region 1: Allegany, Frederick, Garrett, Washington
Central / Region 2: Anne Arundel, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll, Harford, Howard
Eastern / Region 3: Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico, Worcester
Capital / Region 4: Montgomery, PG
Southern/ Region 5: Calvert, Charles, St. Mary’s

There were four categories: On-Site Visual Language Interpreting, On-Site Computer Assisted Real-time Transcription, Video Remote Interpretation, and Remote Computer Assisted Real-time Transcription. For the two on-site categories (Interpreting and CART), there were up to five awards in each region. For the remote categories (VRI and Remote CART), there were two awards in each, for a grand total of 54 awards total!

I’m posting just the #1 winners below and ASLI’s awards. If there’s interest (by e-mail or commenting), I’ll post all 54 awards.

On-Site Interpreting
Western: ASLI
Central: TCS (ASLI #5 )
Eastern: Purple (ASLI #3)
Capital: TCS
Southern: ASLI

Western: TCS (ASLI #2)
Central: Karasch & Associates (ASLI #2)
Eastern: TCS (ASLI #3)
Capital: Karasch & Associates (ASLI #4)

VRI: Birnbaum

Remote CART: Karasch & Associates

ASLI awarded Maryland contracts!


ASLI has been awarded several positions in the State of Maryland interpreting and CART contracts. Most notably, we are the primary agency for on-site interpreting in the Western and Southern regions! That’s a huge win for us and we’re very proud!

For the Western Region, that’s Allegany, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington Counties. For Southern, that’s Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s Counties.

David is excited to be servicing Southern Maryland, the home of his alma mater.

Big thanks to @Brian Ambrose for making this happen. His long history with Maryland will serve us well.

We will publish more details about the award in the next couple days, including a list of all the awardees, regions, and service types, so keep checking back.

If you have any questions about the contract, please leave them in the comments section or e-mail us at brian@asli.com.


ASLI was a sponsor at the joint MDAD/PCRID conference this weekend. We produced the shirts and lanyards, and had a table at the exhibition hall (gym). We chatted with a lot of people and gave out tons of pencils and M&Ms. David met up with some transplanted New Mexicans, Brian with dozens of people he’s known over the years. Here’s a few photos…


We’ll have a small team hosting a exhibitor booth at the PCRID/MDAD conference this weekend. Stop by and chat with Brian, Ruth Ann, David or Alex. We’ll have raffles all weekend.

ASLI is sponsoring the badges and volunteer shirts, you’ll see our website everywhere this weekend!

What’s not to love?

D-PAN has released another great video “Fireflies”:

Still one of our favorites is their White Stripes video of “We’re going to be Friends”

D-PAN are such great video artists!