Meet: Craig Jones, who runs CJ Interpreting Service, which is Deaf-led

Posted on October 30, 2014

One of our newest supporters is CJ Interpreting Service. Here, Craig Jones, who is also Deaf, tells us about the company and about his career.

Tell us about the company. What do you provide and whereabouts are you based?

The company is called CJ Interpreting Service (CJIS) which is obviously named after me being a Leo, an avid attention seeker. I am also passionate and believe in quality!

CJIS is an interpreting service that provides BSL/English interpreters, Lip-speakers, Communication Support Workers, electronic/manual note taking and deaf blind interpreters.

We also provide Deaf interpreters and English Modification service. If a client requires support, for example, a deaf note taker or international sign language interpreter, we strive to provide what the client has requested.

Craig Jones

Craig Jones

We are based in Darlington and cover Darlington, Co. Durham, Teesside and the surrounding areas in the North East of England. You may think we are no different to other interpreting agencies but, let me prove to you we are unique!

Firstly, the service is Deaf-led, I also have Deaf advisors on board too working closely to consider all aspects of how to serve the deaf community.

We know all of the interpreters we work with on a professional level and have seen their work. This helps us to match each booking with the right interpreter.

For example, a hospital operation may require someone with a different skills set than someone appropriate for a management meeting. We have service meetings with our suppliers, which bodes well for positive working relationships and aspects of working together.

We also provide information and guidance on how to work with Deaf people, and how to work with Interpreters. We work with external organisations ensuring they are accessible for deaf people, providing training such as deaf awareness on an informal/formal basis.

We may be small but quantity is not our only aim, it’s more a case of Quality Matters!

When did you set it up and why?

CJIS was up and running on 1st April 2011, April Fools Day! That was because I wondered if I had been a fool to become self-employed, as it was a huge step; from being a staff member within an organisation to running my own business.

I was being made redundant by the local authority at the time and as they were unable to redeploy me, I felt it were timely to move on. Although at the time the future felt somewhat bleak, after discussions with my family, and the backing of interpreters who I had worked together with, I took the initiative to make a go for it! We currently have good links with NHS providers and local authorities, and provide interpreters in all settings.

How easy is it for a Deaf person to run an interpreting company? Is it easier because you have empathy with the users of your service?

I wouldn’t particularly use the term ‘easy’, it is not without its challenges, and remaining motivated and focussed is important. It is a competitive world and aiming to please clients, and interpreters is always at the forefront. I often see my work as bringing three worlds together as one!

I also think that one cannot establish a business if you do not understand the world of interpreting, the deaf world and how the business world works. A combination of knowledge and experience is essential and vital in running any successful service.

What are your hopes for the future of the company?

Who knows what the future holds. We are hoping that the business will continue to flourish, ensuring that the three worlds work together as one! In the ever changing work of businesses and the 21st century, keeping your eye on the ball is essential, as well as being motivated to embrace change.

I feel a continuous aim for our future is to keep up to date with legislation, the Deaf community and be able to respond to the ever changing demands of the world in which we work.

Hopefully CJIS will be in a position one day, where we can recruit deaf staff and in house interpreters. We also are looking at providing training for businesses in relation to working with deaf people and working with interpreters.

We would like to provide workshops for the Deaf community on how to work with interpreters and knowing their rights.

How can people contact you?

We are very accessible!

You can contact us via text messaging, email, SKYPE, Facetime, Fax and for hearing people, we have a telephone.

I am afraid we do not have a minicom anymore, this system is ancient, as I have not had one minicom call in years, we thought it was appropriate to get with the times!

Find out more about CJ Interpreting Service here:

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