The sign language interpreter provides translation into American Sign Language (ASL) for Deaf and Hard of Hearing (HoH) individuals, as well as provides translation from these individuals into spoken English (or another language, depending on their specialty and audience). These interpreter can work in a variety of settings such as schools, offices, and conferences, among many others. Positions may be part time and full time, and the interpreter may work as an independent contractor. When employed in schools, the interpreter may translate teachers' speech into sign language for Deaf and HoH students and others (such as Deaf and HoH staff members) as needed. Other uses for interpreters include seminars, presentations, and emergency room interpretations for patients.
Many positions require a national certification, though some jobs only require an in-house test. Some positions do not require experience working as an interpreter, but experience may be required or preferred. Some positions require the interpreter to have gone through an educational program in addition to a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent.
Interpersonal skills must be strong, as the position requires constant interaction with others. The sign language interpreter must also be a problem solver, able to solve linguistic and logistical issues quickly and effectively. Fluency in American Sign Language and English (or another target language, as required) is essential. Familiarity with working with Deaf and HoH individuals - including familiarity with Deaf culture - is needed as well.
Sign Language Interpreter Tasks
Serve as liaison with non-hearing and hearing people in various business or social situations.
Provide information and orientation to non-hearing people in emergency situations.
Translate communications between hearing and non-hearing people using American Sign Language (ASL) and/or Signing Exact English (SEE).