What does S.I.G.N. Academy acronym mean?
Signing, Interpreting, Growing, and Networking. We focus on sign language lessons and growth opportunities for sign language interpreters, and we are focused on growing our customers as well our own team. In addition, we strongly believe in promoting the services of other small businesses. This is where ‘Networking’ comes in. We do not see other companies as competition but rather as an additional opportunity for growth. If we do not have the services you are looking for, we happily will refer you to another company. Please click on our ‘Networking’ page for more information on these wonderful small businesses.
How does S.I.G.N. Academy work?
S.I.G.N. Academy is a training company providing services to sign language learners and sign language interpreters. We connect customers with tutors, mentors, and trainers and then you work directly with them to meet your scheduling needs.
Do you provide face-to-face services?
All of our services are via online video and have the personal feel of in-person face-to-face training. Our SIGN Academy team is fun and engaging; it will not feel like other online training you may be used to.
Is Zoom safe and secure to use?
We are proud to work with Zoom and are confident in the measures they have taken to make their services secure. Click here for tips on how to make sure you are taking the necessary measures to stay secure on your end: https://zoom.us/docs/en-us/privacy-and-security.html
Why do you use a "D" when spelling Deaf and not just say deaf?
According to Carol Padden and Tom Humphries in Deaf in America: Voices from a Culture (1988): “We use the lowercase deaf when referring to the audiological condition of not hearing, and the uppercase Deaf when referring to a particular group of deaf people who share a language – American Sign Language (ASL) – and a culture. The members of this group have inherited their sign language, use it as a primary means of communication among themselves, and hold a set of beliefs about themselves and their connection to the larger society. We distinguish them from, for example, those who find themselves losing their hearing because of illness, trauma or age; although these people share the condition of not hearing, they do not have access to the knowledge, beliefs, and practices that make up the culture of Deaf people (https://www.nad.org/).
Do you provide interpreting services?
SIGN Academy is not an interpreting agency. Please contact your local interpreting agency to request an interpreter.
Do you provide lip reading services?
No. We do not provide lip reading services.
How are Deaf people involved in your company?
In addition to Deaf tutors, mentors, and trainers, we have Deaf individuals who advise us with our decisions, ideas, and deliverables. We strive to make sure we are always Deaf-centered and Deaf-focused.
Is my payment information kept confidential?
All of your financial information is input directly into our system and never seen by SIGN Academy. We use Stripe, the most secure online billing system in the world (www.stripe.com). We also keep your lesson information confidential. Any information shared during your lessons is only shared between you and your tutor and the only other person who can see it is our SIGN Academy President.
What are the minimum technical requirements?
It is the Client’s responsibility to maintain the minimum internet speed requirements of 2 Mbps upstream/downstream. All tutors internet speeds surpass this minimum requirement. If you do not meet the minimum Mbps requirements and there are technical difficulties, you shall be charged at the full rate for that session. SIGN Academy is not responsible for technical difficulties on the part of the client.
Sign Language Lessons
Am I stuck in a contract?
We use an online system, TutorCruncher, to track lessons and payments. We invoice you after each lesson. Your payment information is housed within TutorCruncher and runs through Stripe, the most secure online payment system in the world(www.stripe.com).
How many lessons can I take a week?
This is up to you. While most of our customers prefer weekly lessons, we have some clients who take lessons twice per week and others who take one lesson a month. We have even had a client take four lessons per week. Our goal is to meet your needs.
Do I have to take weekly lessons?
No. You can take lessons at any frequency you prefer.
Can I sign up for one lesson just to prepare for an ASL quiz/test/assignment?
Can I take a break if I go on vacation?
Yes. You pay after each lesson. If you know that you are planning a vacation or just have a busy schedule, work directly with your ASL Tutor to schedule your next lesson. You will not be charged until after you complete a lesson. You are only charged for a lesson you do not take if you cancel in less than 24 hours.
Can I switch from Individual to Group lessons?
You can change from Individual to Group lessons, but you cannot change every time you have a lesson. For example, if you are taking Individual lessons and you have a friend who wants to start joining your lessons from a different location, you can change your payments to the Group lesson rate.
Do you offer sign language classes?
Yes. Please see our ASL classes page:https://www.mysignacademy.com/sign-language-classes
Do you offer Sign Language Classes for credit?
We do not. We recommend you go to ASLU. ASLU provides fee-based instructor-guided courses. Link: https://Lifeprint.com
What type of tutoring do you provide?
We provide tutoring for individuals and groups who want to learn or improve their ASL: students, parents, siblings, family, friends, colleagues, home school students, church groups, and anyone else who is interested in learning sign language.
Where can I learn more about Deaf culture?
We have Deaf ASL Tutors who can incorporate information about Deaf culture into your ASL lessons.
Do you think that only Deaf people should teach sign language? It is the language of the Deaf and not the hearing.
You are correct. ASL is the language of the Deaf. We encourage clients to work with our Deaf ASL tutors but we do have clients who are more comfortable starting with a hearing tutor. Our goal is to help people learn sign language. We recognize that everyone has different learning styles, backgrounds, and experiences and our goal is to help bridge the gap between hearing people and the Deaf community. If someone is more comfortable starting with a hearing tutor, we will accommodate, with the goal of having them eventually work with a Deaf tutor as they learn more about the language and become more comfortable.
Do you work with families who have Deaf children?
Yes. We have many clients who have children who are Deaf or hard of hearing, as well as families with other family members who have hearing loss.
What will I learn during sign language lessons?
Each lesson is customized to meet the needs of each client. For example, an ASL student may want to practice what they are learning in class while another client may be starting with their first sign. In each lesson the ASL Tutor will review any questions you have from previous lessons, provide new content, and provide suggested practice ideas.
What curriculum do you use?
We do not use a set curriculum. Rather, we pull from a variety of curricula and resources to tailor each lesson to each client. We are not a school with structured ASL classes. If you are looking for traditional ASL classes we suggest you attend a local college or university.
How long does it take to learn sign language?
American Sign Language (ASL) is a complete, natural language that has the same linguistic properties as spoken languages, with grammar that differs from English. ASL is expressed by movements of the hands and face. It is the primary language of many North Americans who are deaf and hard of hearing, and is used by many hearing people as well (https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/).
Do you offer services in any other languages?
We currently offer American Sign Language (ASL) lessons to both English and Spanish speakers. ¡Hablamos español! ¿Desea aprender lenguaje de señas americanas? Tenemos mentores que hablan español. ¡Contáctenos hoy!
Do you offer Spanish lessons?
We offer lessons for people who are fluent in Spanish and want to learn American Sign Language, however, we do not offer lessons for people who are fluent in English to learn Spanish. If you are interested in learning more about Spanish lessons, please see our Networking page and contact Master Lingo Institute.
Do I get a certificate of completion?
We do not provide certificates of completion because we are not offering traditional classes. If you need proof of lessons for work, please contact us.
Are you accredited?
Since we are not a traditional school with traditional classes, accreditation is not applicable to our organization.
Do you require me to purchase books or other materials?
No. We use online resources and we format our lessons to meet the needs of each client.
Do you provide resources for practice?
Your ASL Tutor will provide you with resources and suggested practice ideas.
What if I am a minor (my child is a minor)? Can I set-up lessons?
Where the Client is a legal minor, the Parent/Guardian can set-up lessons on behalf of the Client/minor and shall accept and agree to all the terms and conditions contained herein on behalf of the Client/minor.
Do you have a minimum age requirement for students?
No. Currently, our youngest student is 1 years old.
What is the difference between Individual and Group lessons?
Our Individual and Group lesson prices are based on the number of Zoom logins you are using. If you are using more than one screen to login, you are considered a Group lesson. We have some clients who have 2-3 students on the same screen (siblings, family members, partners, etc), and this is charged as an Individual lesson. We recommend no more than 3-4 people on one screen. We have other clients who have people join their Sign Language Lessons from different locations, and this is considered a Group lesson.
How am I matched with a tutor?
We match you with a tutor based on your needs and scheduling preferences.
Will I work with a different tutor each time?
Our goal is to help you grow by establishing professional relationships. We strive to have you work with one tutor and develop rapport with them. Our system allows you to easily book the same tutor with ease.
Can I change tutors if I want to?
We are confident that you will be satisfied with your tutor. That being said, if there is a conflict of interest or schedule, we would be happy to place you with a different tutor.
Can I sign up to become a tutor?
We do not allow people to sign up and just become tutors with our company. This is the approach most of our competitors take. This means anyone can sign up with their company and be listed as a tutor. With most of our competitors, there is no screening process, no vetting, no Deaf people involved. We are proud to say we interview and screen every single tutor on our team. We also provide opportunities for our tutors to grow; so as they are helping you grow, they continue to grow as well.
Do you have Deaf or hearing tutors?
We have both. All of our tutors are qualified and we can match you based on your needs. If you want to switch from a hearing tutor to a Deaf tutor, will can make that happen seamlessly and with no increased cost to you.
Do all of your tutors have background checks?
Yes. Because our tutoring is provided online, background checks are not required. All of our tutors have the highest levels of integrity and respect.
Once I have worked with a tutor, can I hire them directly and skip going through S.I.G.N. Academy?
You can easily schedule more sessions directly with your tutor. Out of respect for all parties involved, we have both tutors and clients agree to our Terms and Conditions, stating you cannot work with a tutor outside of S.I.G.N. Academy if you met them through our company.
Can my sign language lessons be recorded?
Tutoring sessions are NOT permitted to be recorded by the Client, Tutor, or S.I.G.N. Academy, LLC, without prior written permission from the Client, Tutor, and S.I.G.N. Academy, LLC.
What if I miss my scheduled appointment time or need to reschedule?
We do have a cancellation policy to make sure all parties are respected. We ask for a 24 hour notification. You simply work with your tutor to find time to reschedule the appointment. If you do not provide a 24 hour notice to your tutor, your session will be marked as complete and billing will be processed.
How is interpreter mentoring different from sign language tutoring/lessons?
Interpreter mentoring is designed for individuals within the professional field of interpreting. Sign language lessons are for individuals who are learning sign language.
Why are there different rates for students/recent graduates and professional interpreters?
We recognize that students and recent graduates have different means and we want to help our field continue to grow.
Do you offer face-to-face mentoring?
We do not offer face-to-face mentoring. We have Interpreter Mentors from around the country, which allows you to work with a mentor based on skill and not geography.
Once I have worked with a mentor, can I hire them directly and skip going through S.I.G.N. Academy?
You can easily schedule more sessions directly with your mentor. Out of respect for all parties involved, we have both mentors and clients agree to our Terms and Conditions, stating you cannot work with a tutor outside of S.I.G.N. Academy if you met them through our company.
Can my interpreter mentoring sessions be recorded?
Mentoring sessions are NOT permitted to be recorded by the Client, Mentor, or S.I.G.N. Academy, LLC, without prior written permission from the Client, Mentor, and S.I.G.N. Academy, LLC.
Do all of your mentors have background checks?
Yes. Because our tutoring is provided online, background checks are not required. All of our mentors have the highest levels of integrity and respect.
Do you offer trilingual mentoring?
We are proud to offer mentoring for trilingual interpreters. Please see our Growing page for more information.
Interpreter Workshops and Webinars
How often do you offer workshops for interpreters?
Some of our workshops are pre-scheduled and others are offered on demand. If you see a topic you are interested in for yourself or your organization, please contact us via the Events page by clicking on the topic you are interested in.
Do you offer CEUs?
Yes. We offer CEUs for most of our trainings. There are some trainings that are designed for students and recent graduates who are non-certified. These workshops offer Certificates of Completion but do not offer CEUs.
When is your next 6-Week Webinar Series?
We offer our 6-Week Webinar Series a few times a year. If you see a topic that interests you or your organization, please contact us via the Events page by clicking on the topic you are interested in.
Interpreter Skill Assessments
What are Interpreter Skill Assessments?
We provide detailed feedback to your recorded video work. You can send in a video of your own work or, for an extra cost, we will provide stimulus material.
Who is this service for?
We have school districts, organizations, and individuals work with us to receive assessment of their interpreter’s skills.
How much do they cost?
Please contact us for a quote.
How long does it take to complete?
After we have worked with you to discuss details, we require a one-week turnaround time for skill assessments.
School District Trainings
What type of training do you provide for school districts?
We provide customized training based on your district’s needs. We also offer all of our workshops (see our Events page). In addition, we will design trainings for your interpreters.
Do you offer mentoring for School District interpreters?
We do. We work with interpreters both individually and in groups. See our “Growing” page for our mentoring prices.
What type of training do you provide for groups and teams?
We provide customized training based on your group/team's needs. We also offer all of our workshops (see our Events page). In addition, we will design trainings for your interpreters.
Do you offer mentoring for Groups/Teams of interpreters?
We do. We work with interpreters both individually and in groups. See our “Growing” page for our mentoring prices.
Can you add my business to your Networking page?
We appreciate your interest in being added to our Networking page. We are currently only including business we have personally/professionally used for years and can proudly endorse. We welcome the opportunity to get to know more about you and your business and what you have to offer. Please see our contact us page and reach out.
Why do you advertise competitors on your Networking page?
We do not see these companies as our competition, we see them as our network. If we do not provide what you are looking for, we will gladly send your business to another company. These companies do a great job and we also use and recommend their services.