About Interpreting

Sign language interpreting is a fascinating, challenging and rapidly expanding field that offers an endless variety of opportunities and rich linguistic and cultural experiences.

What is Interpreting?

  • Sign language interpreters bridge the communication gap between people who don't share a common language. They are highly skilled professionals who must be able to ascertain the meaning of a speaker’s message in one language and communicate that intended meaning to an audience that doesn’t share the same language and culture as the speaker.
  • They can work in a wide variety of settings: business, educational, medical, legal, government or social service agencies, religious, video relay or performing arts.
  • Interpreters are highly skilled in facilitating communication between languages.
  • For more information, see the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf's articles on Professional Sign Language Interpreting.

What is American Sign Language?

  • ASL is the visual language used by many deaf and hard-of-hearing people in the United States and many parts of Canada.
  • ASL is very different from English—it is a complete language with its own grammatical structure.
  • For more information, see the National Association of the Deaf's definition of ASL

Why Interpreting?

  • The demand for interpreters is greater than the supply, so there are many employment opportunities.
  • Interpreting is rewarding: you will work with people and develop relationships.
  • Interpreting is flexible: you can be employed on staff at an agency or choose to work for yourself and set your own hours.
  • Interpreting is interesting: you can work in a wide array of settings.
  • Interpreting is challenging: you will be able to continue growing as a lifelong learner.

How does the ASL-English Interpretation program prepare me for a career in interpreting?

  • It enables you to gain a firm foundation in American Sign Language.
  • It helps you develop cognitive and ethical decision-making skills.
  • It provides you basic socio-cultural knowledge needed to serve as a cross-cultural mediator.
  • It provides you with more than 200 hours of field experience working with professional interpreters.
  • It enables you to meet the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf’s requirement that candidates for certification must possess a bachelor’s degree.
  • It provides you with a solid foundation on which to develop the skills needed to pass professional certification exams.