Why Can’t I Just Write Notes Back and Forth With The Deaf or Hard of Hearing Person?   

If the Deaf or hard of hearing person has an extremely good command of the English language, it could be effective if the situation is not lengthy or complex. If not, writing notes would have little benefit. It would be like writing English to a Spanish speaking person who knows very little or no English.

The Deaf or hard of hearing person may misunderstand the message you are conveying. They may understand most or all of the words, yet misinterpret the meaning of the full sentence. Many English words, ideas, or idiomatic phrases do not transfer well when written in notes. They may be reading/thinking in the word order of American Sign Language (ASL), not English. Hearing people often say, “They write in broken English.” This may be due to the Deaf or hard of hearing person writing English using the grammatical rules of ASL.

Writing back and forth can be harmful in the wrong situation. Liability issues can arise. Your best option to ensure an effective, accurate message is to use a professional interpreter.

One final note relates to your time. If you write back and forth, it takes much more of your valuable time. Using an interpreter is almost like speaking in real time. You will find that you save so much more time by using an interpreter.