HIS Sign Quality

What began as a way for one interpreter to provide services has become a full blown agency  providing 1000’s of hours of services and utilizing 100’s of interpreters!

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Our Story

Customer FAQ's

About Us

Quality People Doing Quality Work

Based in Northern Virginia, the HIS Sign team is made up of Interpreting professionals, Teaching professionals and Business professionals.  We have a good blend of experience that has allowed HIS Sign to grow into a premier agency providing services to area schools (K-12 to post-secondary), private businesses, hospitals, outpatient medical facilities, government agencies, and much more in the Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. areas.

Since our birth in 2009, we’ve strived to create strong relationships and partnerships with members of the Deaf community, the freelance interpreters that provide services through our agency and our customers.  We currently have sub-contracting relationships with other area interpreting agencies so that we can make sure interpreting requests are always covered.  We feel that these partnerships make us stronger and more able to meet the needs of the Deaf community.

As an Equal Opportunity Employer, HIS Sign, LLC, does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations.

We look forward to getting to know you better!

The Team at HIS Sign

Our Story

New Beginnings – How HIS Sign Began

We love telling our story! There are two versions, the short version (Christina’s) and the “loooonnnggg” version (Brian’s); however, we are going to tell you the long story so that you know all about how we started!

When Christina was in the fifth grade, her mother bought her a sign language dictionary by Cathy Rice. Shortly after receiving the book and practicing the alphabet over and over again, she saw someone signing at a restaurant and tried to communicate with them. This was the beginning of her journey.

While Brian was growing up in the small town of Ipswich, South Dakota, he took the mandatory hearing exams every year and he always did well on them because he and three other classmates took the test at the same time, raising their hands when they heard the sounds. He did well, because he saw the others’ hands raised, so he figured he must have also heard the sounds. During the spring of his senior year in High School, they brought a trailer to the school that had a soundproof booth, and gave all of the students a hearing test. The next day, Brian was called into the principal’s office. When he arrived and saw his parents, he figured he was in big trouble. It was there that he and his parents learned that Brian had a 50% hearing loss. Subsequently, it was recommended that he be fitted with hearing aids. He received his first hearing aid three days before he left for college. This was the beginning of his journey!

Winding the clock forward to November 1989, Christina and Brian were in Omaha, Nebraska. On November 11th, Brian was laid off from his job and the soon-to-be-married couple sat down to discuss what their next steps were going to be. Christina mentioned the ASL class she had taken her final year at Penn State and that, at some point, she would like to teach deaf children. (Little did they realize the impact this statement would have on their lives!) Due to the nature of work Brian was in, they had their pick of where they would like to live, so they decided that he should accept a job with Visa (yes, the credit card company) in Northern California, partially because of the large deaf community in that area.

After moving to California, Christina started learning from a sign language dictionary as they drove around the San Francisco Bay area on weekends. She then started to take sign language and interpreting classes, which lead to becoming friends with one of the professors. She eventually began working full-time as an interpreter in one of the local school systems and started her Master’s in Deaf Education at San Francisco State University. Through her job, she and Brian made friends with the parents of the students and they both got involved in the Deaf community.

In May of 1998, Brian, Christina, their three year old son, Matthew, and their one year old daughter, Mikayla, moved to Virginia, transferring to the East Coast with Brian’s company. After a few months of Christina staying at home, Christina and Brian decided to “team parent” so that Christina could work part-time in the local public school system. Over time, Christina began to also do freelance interpreting in the community and to meet the local deaf community, other interpreters, and Deaf families.

It is worthy of note to mention that in 2004, Christina and Brian sat down with a some friends to discuss opening an interpreting agency but, unfortunately, everyone agreed that it was not the right time.

After working for Visa for almost 20 years, Brian was laid off on April 7, 2009. This big change was actually something they had actually prayed would happen, because Brian was interested in starting a Christian multimedia collaborative website.  Over the next 14 months he pursued this new venture.

Later in 2009, Christina discovered that in order to work in the Prince William County Public Schools, she would have to officially become a business and be insured, so Christina and Brian sat down to talk about a name to be used. They discussed “Hammrich Interpreting Services,” but figured that people would call it “HIS” which they felt would be confused with a number of the other agencies out there with a similar acronym. Eventually, they agreed on “HIS Sign.” The new company became a recognized Limited Liability Company on December 18, 2009. They had no idea at the time that six months later they would actually start a full-fledged agency.

On June 24, 2010, Christina was on an assignment with one of her mentees, Laura ‘Liz’ Macier. Fortunately for all of us, the assignment ended up being cancelled, giving Christina and Liz an opportunity to chat. It is during this conversation that Christina shared with Liz how friends and family had been encouraging her to start an agency, but quickly added that that there was “no way” she would ever do such a thing. Liz replied, “I will help you.” At that moment, for the first time in her life, Christina felt at peace about the idea and responded, “Okay!” After they parted, Christina went home and reviewed the conversation (and the decision) with Brian.  The rest, as they say, is history!

Since that fateful day in June 2010, HIS Sign has moved forward as an agency, remaining true to the core values that Christina and Brian have always believed in and have made their motto:

Committed to Following the Golden Rule and Serving with Integrity and Dedication!

We hope you’ve enjoyed our story. We look back on how we started and are amazed at what has transpired over such a short time period and we are so blessed by the responsibility of running this agency. We hope you will take the time to get to know the HIS Sign family better!

Our Team

Quality People Doing Quality Work

Based in Northern Virginia, the HIS Sign team is made up of Interpreting professionals, Teaching professionals and Business professionals.  We have a good blend of experience that has allowed HIS Sign to grow into a premier agency providing services to area schools (K-12 to post-secondary), private businesses, hospitals, outpatient medical facilities, government agencies, and much more in the Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. areas.

Since our birth in 2009, we’ve strived to create strong relationships and partnerships with members of the Deaf community, the freelance interpreters that provide services through our agency and our customers.  We currently have sub-contracting relationships with other area interpreting agencies so that we can make sure interpreting requests are always covered.  We feel that these partnerships make us stronger and more able to meet the needs of the Deaf community.

To learn more about us, click on one of our photos below.

We look forward to getting to know you better!

The Team at HIS Sign

Christina Hammrich
President/Owner
After relocating to the Northern Virginia area, she continued working in the public school setting with Loudoun County Public Schools and attended Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC), changing her educational focus back to interpreting.  In 2004, Christina was the first graduate of the NVCC Interpreter Training Program.  She attained national certification in 2003 (RID-CI), in 2004 (RID-CT) and again in 2010 (RID-NIC). Christina’s responsibilities with HIS Sign include providing coverage for last minute interpreting assignments, screening new interpreters, mentoring, establishing a relationship with the interpreters that provide services through HIS Sign and assisting in marketing.  She is actively involved in the Deaf Community of Northern Virginia. Christina has been interpreting for over 23 years.  Her passion is educational interpreting, mentoring and working with individuals interested in the interpreting field.  She is a consummate learner and has attended many conferences, educational seminars and workshops. She has been married to Brian for 25 years, has two teenage children, and has lived in Northern Virginia for 15 years.  In addition to her passion for signing and her love for her family, Christina enjoys traveling and eating out at fine dining restaurants.  Her future life goals include one day developing an official mentoring program and spending time on the Sign Language Exchange.
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Brian Hammrich
CEO
In June of 2010, Brian joined his wife in launching HIS Sign, LLC as a full-fledged sign language interpreting agency. Brian’s responsibilities with HIS Sign include handling the company’s technical needs and acting as a backup scheduler. Brian met Christina while he was living in Phoenix, Arizona.  He moved to Omaha, Nebraska and together he and Christina moved to San Mateo, California where their children Matthew and Mikayla were born.  Brian loves driving on vacations with his family, Scuba diving, Videography and graphics editing, roller blading, hiking and all outdoor activities.
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Ilene Breneman
HR Manager
She has also served as a Director of Marketing in the advertising and television markets before joining HIS Sign. Ilene is active in her community, schools and church. She is involved in a mentoring program at a local school district, her church and community outreach programs. Ilene lives in Dover, PA with her husband. Her passions include spending time with her children and family, flying, volunteering and traveling.
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Jennifer IIgenfritz
Finance Manager
Jennifer is the leader of her church's women's ministry and has been a volunteer at her children's school for both PTO and booster club activities. Jennifer lives in Wellsville, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.  Her hobbies include reading, gardening, boating and spending time with her family and friends.
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Matt Peev
Account Executive
He has spent the majority of his 14 year career honing his skills under the umbrella companies of MSCI (Center for Financial Research and Analysis and Institutional Shareholder Services) in the Washington, DC Metro area and in London, UK. Matt was raised in Northern Virginia, and now lives in Ashburn, VA with his wife and two sons.  His passions include traveling, playing hockey and spending time with his family.
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Michelle Wenck
Scheduling Manager

Michelle joined the HIS Sign team in December of 2018. She graduated from RIT/NTID with a bachelor’s in American Sign Language and Interpreter Education. 

After graduation, Michelle worked as an educational interpreter in Maryland for 6 years. She would also freelance at night and during the summer in Maryland, DC and Virginia. Michelle recently moved back to the DMV after living in Colorado for over a year. There she worked as an administrative assistant for the county detention center and a part-time VRS Interpreter. In her spare time, she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, playing with her dog, being outside and spending time with her husband and her family.
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Monica Lee
Assistant Scheduling Manager
She has dedicated the last 15 years as a Domestic Engineer of the Lee Household. Monica’s driving force and energy is from her Faith, husband and three children. Most weekends are spent on a baseball field, volleyball court or hockey field to watch her children live out their passion. Her hobbies include cooking, spending time with family and friends, shopping and watching Korean Drama.
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Holly Elicker
Scheduling Specialist
Holly substituted in her local school district, taught preschool at her local YMCA and then became a teacher and director at Rainbow Junction Preschool for over 12 years. Holly continues to spend time volunteering at her local church and in her children’s school. Holly lives in Dover, Pennsylvania with her husband and two daughters. She loves spending time with her family, going to the beach and camping. She also enjoys reading, shopping, and spending time with friends.
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Melanie Blue
Project Specialist
She excels in organization, scheduling and communication. Community service is very important to Melanie and she spends over 70 hours each month teaching in the Deaf community. In her spare time, Melanie enjoys cooking, music and spending time with her family.
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Chris Stein
Technical Support Specialist

Chris joined the HIS Sign team in 2016 as the Technical Support Specialist. Chris brings an extensive amount of knowledge from working for over 7 years in the IT field and thrives to continue learning new Technology.

Chris holds a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science and has a few certifications under his belt and is planning on adding more. Throughout his career he has supported small to large businesses with IT support and has provided top notch customer service to all of his clients. Chris grew up in Queens, NY and lived in Florida for 10 years. He recently just moved to Virginia with his soon to be wife. When Chris is not working he enjoys traveling, fine dining, playing basketball, listening to music and hanging out with friends and family.
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LaDawn Dashiell
Scheduling Specialist

LaDawn joined the team in March, 2019.  She has experience working in the deaf community working at Gallaudet University as a DPS Dispatcher for two years.

She also has taken ASL classes at Gallaudet University and Northern Virginia Community College. She plans to continue her education in ASL to one day become an interpreter herself. She lives in Manassas, VA with her husband and son. She enjoys cruises, traveling to new places and spending time with family.
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Sinae Kim
Administrative Assistant
Sinae enjoys using her organizational skills and passion to serve others as the HIS Sign Administrative Assistant. She also has her own wholesale company which she has been running for 9 years. During her time off, Sinae is a Sunday School teacher, Head Coach for Science Olympiad, and volunteer at the local community center. She enjoys classical music, BSF, traveling, fine food, and spending time with her family.
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Toni Knight
Administrative Assistant

“Signing” on to the team in 2017, Toni brings her project management, recruitment skills and experience garnered from memorable years with AT&T, BASF, dream job at AOL and self-employment.

She worked in corporate communications and online media for 25 years before switching focus to care for elderly parents and Bible education. Volunteering, teaching, caregiving, traveling, reading, writing, cooking, painting and cosmetology are just a few of her passions.
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Customer FAQ's

General FAQ

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 mandates that a comprehensive variety of public and private services as well as employers must be accessible to all people, regardless of disability. When dealing with people who are deaf, deaf-blind, or hard of hearing, this means that communication must be accessible. In many cases, the best way to ensure this is to have an interpreter.

An interpreter may be used any time communication is occurring between people who do not share the same language. Deaf, deaf-blind, and hard of hearing people may not have access to information if it is presented in English, either verbally or in writing. Some simple communications (for example, between a deaf customer and a clerk in a store) can be done through written notes or gestures, but any time important content is being communicated, having an interpreter present safeguards the participants by ensuring that information is accessible to both parties.

The ADA states that all public and private agencies that provide services to the general public, and all employers with 15 or more employees, must be accessible. This means that, if your agency, service, or business is accessible to people without disabilities, it must be accessible to people with disabilities. Additionally, companies with 15 or more employees must follow fair hiring and employment practices when considering candidates with disabilities. (However, some states supercede the ADA. For example, the ADA is superceded in Washington State by RCW, which covers employers with 8 or more employees.) Therefore, it is the agency, service, or business which is responsible for payment for interpreting services.

Interpreting services should be budgeted as part of your annual planning for accessibility services. It is true that, on a per-encounter basis, you may pay more for interpreting services than you generate in revenue for your company. However, if you consider the cost over the course of a year as an overhead cost of doing business, providing accessible services is quite reasonable.

People are usually familiar with ASL, but there are variations such as “PSE”, Pidgin Signed English and “SEE”, Signed Exact English.

 

  • ASL or American Sign Language is more of a conceptual sign language and there is usually not a 1-1 mapping of a sign to an English word.

 

  • In SEE or Signed Exact English, there is a sign for every single word as well as the definitions for the word (ex. run).  Tense, prefixes and suffixes of the word are also signed.  This is typically used in an educational environment where the theory is that it helps Deaf children to learn English.

 

  • With PSE or Pidgin Signed English, you may have some ASL, some SEE in English word order and some SEE signs out of order or a mixture.

 

When a HIS Sign interpreter arrives for an assignment they will initially discuss the language preferences with the Deaf consumer so that they can present (sign) in the manner that is desired.  We ask this on the Job Form as it helps us when determining which interpreter to send on an assignment.  Our goal is to provide you, the customer and the Deaf Consumers, with the best services possible and this assists in that goal!

VRI FAQ

There are no setup costs associated with the activation of HIS Sign’s video interpreting services! (Compatibility Requirements)

Normal setup is scheduled over a period of 1-2 days and is dependent upon your availability to work with the HIS Sign Staff. (Compatibility Requirements)

Step #1: Install the HIS Sign VRI Application on your compatible device.

Step #2: Schedule to have your installation verified and tested with one of our staff.

Step #3: Begin using HIS Sign’s video interpreting services!

In a crunch, Expedited Application setup can be requested (See “Expedited Setup Fee” on Pricing Page). Utilizing this option, you can be up and working within an hour or two on a compatible device. (Compatibility Requirements)

Our VRI Application is currently supported on:

  • Microsoft OS (Windows 10, 8 and 7)
  •    Mac OS X 10.7 (Mountain Lion) or higher
  •    Mac iOS 8 or higher (iPad 3rd generation of iPad Mini 2nd generation)

Our VRI Application is currently supported on the following web browsers:

  • Google Chrome 31 (and higher)
  •    Internet Explorer 10 (and higher)
  •    Mozilla Firefox 25 (and higher)
  •    Apple Safari 6.2 (and higher)

Normal Business Hours for VRI are 8:00am – 10:00pm, Monday through Saturday, excluding holidays.

A Business Day is a 24 continuous hour period, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

On Demand Services are services that can be used in an unscheduled fashion, as they are needed.

Scheduled Services are services that are used at predetermined and agreed upon times. With HIS Sign pricing, they may qualify for reduced rates.

We invoice monthly with payments due 30 days from the invoice date. A 2% late fee is added for each 30 day increment past due.

There are no cancellation charges for On Demand Services. Cancellations less than two full Business Days before the beginning of a Scheduled Services assignment, when they qualify for reduced rates, are considered untimely and will be billed as if the services had been provided.

Yes, the platform used for the HIS Sign VRI Services meets or exceeds the HIPAA Compliancy requirements.

Yes, using the HIS Sign VRI Services meets or exceeds the ADA requirements.

There is not a simple answer to this question. We suggest you contact the ADA using this link.

Yes, HIS Sign utilizes a service that allows us to digitally sign the contract, simplifying the process of signing up to use our VRI Services.

CART FAQ

CART stands for Communication Access Real-time Translation.

The CART service is referred to as real-time captioning and results in the display of everything that is being said, word for word on a computer, television or projection screen.  The service may be provided by a “captioner” that is either on-site or off-site (remote).  A transcript can also be produced at the completion of services.

A individual, the “captioner”, uses a device (court reporting stenography machine or computer with real-time captioning software) with an internet connection and types in everything that is said.  The word for word text is then displayed on a computer, television or projection screen.

The “captioner” is not actually typing each word, the phonetic origin of a word is used instead of the actual spelling, which allows the “captioner” to type up to 260 words per minute with 98% accuracy and above.

The “captioner” uses an internet connection to hear and to project what is said at the service location.

To receive remote CART services you will need the following:

  • A computer with an internet connection (A high-speed internet connection is not required but is helpful) at the service location.
  • Compatible remote captioning software (provided free of charge).
  • A high quality microphone for use at the service location that connects to the computer or an audio feed from a sound system.
  • Computer(s), television(s) or projection screen(s) to connect to the computer in order to allow the consumers to view the captioning.

To receive on-site CART services you will need the following:

  • Computer(s), television(s) or projection screen(s) to connect to the computer used by the “captioner”.  This will allow the consumers to view the captioning.