Note to Dr. Vicars'
Level 1 and 2 students:
You don't have to read any of this. I just want you to know
that this page is here in case you are learning more about
Interpreting: "Educational Interpreting"
Interpreting in Texas
The Necessity For Sign Language Interpreters
Interpreting: Sample Legislation
Interpreting: What are the negatives?
► Interpreter fees
► Interpreter Pay
a message dated 1/5/02 9:39:24 PM Central Standard Time, a student writes:
I am an elementary school teacher that has decided to stay home and spend more time volunteering at my child's elementary school.
I grew up with a friend who was deaf and he taught me sign language. Not fluently, but bits and pieces here and there. I am quite interested in learning more.
I would like to become fluent enough to become an interpreter. I learn fast and believe with the proper training and practice I can be quite good.
Please send me some information about your program. Could you also answer a couple of questions?
First, how do I become qualified to be an interpreter?
And second, what type of places, and so forth would I be able to interpret for?
Any help or encouragement you may have would be so very helpful.
Thank you ahead of time for your time.
The actual process of becoming a certified interpreter varies from state to state. Plus there is a "National Certification" that is available.
Contact your state's division of occupational licensing and ask them what is required to work for pay as an interpreter in your state. They may refer you to some other department such as the "Division of Interpreter Services," the "State Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services," or the "Division of Services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing." Keep calling around until you find the right department. Most "local Deaf centers" should be able to give you some idea of whom to call. Or you could ask them to help you track down a working interpreter and take him or her out to lunch and ask questions.
The national organization is
Places you could interpret for would include any organization serving a large deaf population. For example: government entities, school districts, colleges, large companies, Deaf centers, State Schools for the Deaf, and "freelance interpreting" for the community.
Good luck and happy signing.
In a message dated 8/6/2003 10:41:27 PM Central Daylight Time, firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is Steven De Crescenzo. I live in Colorado and would like to be
certified as an interpreter. As you many know, Front Range Community College
offers an Interpreter Preparation Program. Unfortunately, classes are only
offered during the day. Since I work during the day, it would not be feasible
for me to attend classes.
I am wondering if Gallaudet offers an Interpreter program via the Internet, etc.
If not, can you make any recommendations such as other Universities that may
offer Distance Learning.
Tell me this...do you "need" to go to college to become an interpreter in your
state? Or do you just need to pass the state exam?
If you just need to pass the exam, why not hire a deaf person to tutor your in
ASL? You can design your own "program" using books and your deaf mentor. It
might actually cost you much less and be much faster than attending college.
A Look at
April 29, 2003
American Sign Language
is more complex than some may think. Interpretation and transliteration are
used to translate communication. Instead of ASL, many use Signed Exact English
and Cued Speech, especially in educational settings with children. In order for
one to become a proficient interpreter, he or she must pass the national tests
put forth by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc (NAD, 2000). The
difference between many of these terms, levels of certification, and
opportunities for interpreters will be discussed.
Interpretation & Transliteration
the procedure used to assist communication between those unable to communicate
directly with one another. Interpretation requires the interpreter to be
competent in at least two languages (RID, 1999). Mouth patterns reflect
appropriate adult American Sign Language (ASL) usage.
occurs when the verbatim spoken or written is representation of one language by
another. An example of transliteration is when word for word conversion between
two languages. In deaf communication, transliteration is used to provide
messages within one language. Mouth patterns in transliteration should be
either exact words from the original text or as English paraphrasing of the text
Signed Exact English & Cued Speech
Both Signed Exact
English and Cued Speech are used widely by schools and parents as tools to teach
children. Even though these two types of deaf communication are different, they
are both used in settings with young students.
English (SEE) is a form of communication that uses signs in exact English order,
with some additional signs used to represent the “-ing” ending. SEE has been
combined with ASL to create another communication called Pidgin Signed English (PSE).
Cued Speech is a
sound-based visual communication system. It is a not a language in and of
itself but a communication mode (Garretson, 1990). Eight hand shapes are used
to represent consonant sounds. Vowel sounds are identified by locations near
the mouth. In cued speech, hand movements in addition to lip movements are
utilized. Cued Speech is especially helpful with assisting children in the
learning process. Consistent exposure to spoken language through Cued Speech
results in literacy and language skills similar to those of hearing students.
training and practice, professional sign language interpreters are able to
develop interpreting skills. As members of the Registry of Interpreters for the
Deaf, Inc. (RID), they continue to improve their skills, professionalism, and
RID gives certification to
interpreters who pass the national tests. These national tests not only check
language knowledge and communication skills, but also test knowledge and
judgment on issues involving ethics, professionalism, and culture. The
standards for national testing are high, and extensive experience is usually
required before beginners are able to pass (RID, 1999). An interpreter may hold
more than one of the following certifications:
Certificate of Interpretation (CI)
Certificate of Transliteration (CT)
Comprehensive Skills Certificate (CSC)
Specialist Certificate: Legal (SC: L)
Interpretation Certificate (IC)
Transliteration Certificate (TC)
Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI)
experienced interpreters are in high demand and can be employed full-time or
part-time. Interpreters can work in a variety of settings, such as medical,
legal, arts, and business. Salary for interpreters varies depending on
certification, experience, and interpreting situation. Freelance interpreters
earn between $12 and $40 per hour, but usually do not receive forty hours in a
work week. Staff interpreters may earn between $15,000 and $30,000 per year.
In metropolitan cities, highly skilled and experienced earn up to $50,000 per
year (RID, 1999).
In conclusion, the
world of deaf communication can become very complicated when dealing with the
various forms of communication. A certified interpreter must be able to
understand these types of communication and also be able to pass the national
tests put forth by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc. In order for
someone to better understand these issues, the difference between interpretation
and transliteration, the types of communication, and the levels of certification
available must be examined.
are Sign Language Interpreters Paid?
By: Ruth Tate
Sign language interpreters hold very
important jobs in our communities. They bridge the gap between the deaf
and hearing and especially in events where the public is addressed. So if
sign language interpreters hold such important jobs, how much are they
paid? This paper will investigate three resources to answer this question.
“Approximately 75% of sign language
interpreters are employed in the educational setting”(1). The
starting salary of most of the examples or salary pay scales on average
was about $20,000 a year, but with experience in almost every case the
salary increased, according to the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Factors that determine how much one will
be paid obviously is education. Employers want to see a college degree or
some kind of certification. Next to education, they want to see
experience. An article in the Los Angeles Times showed a four thousand
dollar difference in pay with only two more years of experience (2). “With
many years of experience and a college degree, a sign language interpreter
may earn as much as $35,000 to $45,000 a year.” 1 Another example that
this is an accurate pay scale is a source from El Camino College. They pay
their experienced sign language interpreters $36,000 to $44,000 a year
Another way to make a living as a sign
language interpreter is to be self employed. These interpreters are hired
out by organizations or individuals at an hourly or daily rate. The
average pay is approximately $15.00 an hour, but again with experience or
a college degree the hourly rate can be as high as $45.00 an hour. The
only draw backs to being self employed is there are no benefits like
insurance and 401K plans. The interpreter must also be able to provide
his/her own transportation. Being self employed does have great pay
though, and of course the hours are the best part of it. The interpreter
can make his/her own schedule and work around important events.
Not only does pay vary between job to job
or because of experience, but it also varies from country to country. In
Australia they have an accreditation level. Level 1 pays $15.00 an hour.
Level 2 pays $20.00 an hour. Level 3 pays $25.00 an hour.3 Canada’s pay
scale is pretty close to the United States. Their pay scale with
experience is $36,000 to $66,000 a year (3).
As one can tell, a sign language
interpreter’s job is very important and there are many jobs available
whether one wants to be employed by the educational field or be a
freelance interpreter. The pay scale has just as many options. After
reviewing much information one can determine whether they want to make
more money by earning a college degree or make a still fair amount of
money with a certificate. Another option that was researched was
freelancing. This field comes with a lot of freedom with the hours worked.
The field of sign language interpreting offers many options and a
promising future for many who do want to pursue this career.
1) Rochester Institute of Technology- www.rit.edu/~477www/aas-asl/SLInterp.htm
2) Los Angeles Times- latimes.com “Interpreter for
the Deaf” Susan W. Miller, M.A. Special to the Times
3) National Accreditation Authority for Translators
and Interpreters (NAATI)
A Look At Interpreting
The purpose of
this research is to provide information on interpretation and
transliteration. According to research there is a distinct difference
between the two terms. Interpretation is the process of transmitting spoken
English into American Sign Language for gestures for communication between
deaf and hearing people, whereas transliteration is the process of
transmitting spoken English into one of several English oriented varieties
of manual communications between deaf and hearing people. (http://www.aslinfo.com/interpreting.cfm)
transliteration include the terms Cued Speech and Signed Exact English.
Signed Exact English can best be described as a form of communication/
instruction in which signs are used in exact English word order, with some
additional signs representing conventions such as the, “ing” word ending. (http://deafness.about.com/library/weekly/aa122501.htm)
This is a rather young method, being that it was developed in 1972. It is
considered to be a useful tool for instructing deaf children in the English
language. Cued Speech, according to National Cued Speech Association is a
sound-based visual communication system, which in English uses eight hand
shapes in four different locations, “cues” in combination with the natural
mouth movements of speech, to make all the sounds of spoken language look
interpreting was not recognized as a profession until the late 60’s early
70’s. During this time frame, most interpreters were usually individuals
who had parents, or siblings that were deaf or they were teachers of the
deaf. Early interpreters were not usually paid, but instead, volunteered
their services. According to research, in 1964 at Ball State University in
Indiana, interpreters across the U.S.A. came together for the first time to
interpret a meeting. (http://www.aslinfo.com/interpreting.cfm)
During this meeting the interpreters had a discussion on the demand for
interpreters and the need to have a list of nationally qualified
interpreters. From this meeting the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf,
“RID” was established, bylaws were created and the code of Ethics for
Interpreters was written. This organization was the first organization in
the world of its kind to be established.
The RID organization was
incorporated in 1972. The RID organization provided the, “three Q’s of
interpreting which are: Quantity, Qualifications, and Quality”, namely the
RID Triad. RID’s Triad is composed of ; training for new and professional
Interpreters through the Professional Development Committee(PPC), and the
Certification Maintenance Program (CMP) , Continued Certification through
RID’s National Testing Systems )NTS), and Self Regulation through the
National Ethical Practices (EPS). (www.rid.org)
Although RID is responsible for originating and administering the National
Testing System that certifies interpreters, it is also responsible for
providing various support services to practicing interpreters, students of
interpreters, and persons who share an interest in the field of
The Americans with
Disabilities Act requires the provision of qualified interpreters in a
variety of settings. It is stated that an interpreter must have the proven
ability to effectively communicate. (www.rid.org)
Credentials can be obtained by taking and passing an assessment of your
skills. RID provides testing for national certification.
College is not a
requirement for taking an assessment, but the background skills development
and theory learned in a recognized interpreter-training program is very
important in receiving your national certification. Once an individual
graduates from a good program they are usually able to pass the RID written
exam. If one is a active participate in the field and continues to upgrade
knowledge and skills in the field, one should be ready to pass the RID
skills certification within three to five years.
The kind of salary
depends on a variety of factors such as geographical areas, education, the
amount of experience, and credentials. Some interpreters contract their
services and earn anywhere from $12.00-$40.00 per hour, but they cannot
schedule a full forty hours per week. These individuals do not receive
employee benefits. Other interpreters work for agencies, businesses,
government organizations, or school systems. They can earn anywhere between
$15,000- $30,000 per year. Usually in metropolitan cities interpreters can
earn $40,000-$50,000 year.
Once someone completes a
program they may not necessarily be guaranteed their certification. One can
only be certified if they pass the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf
written and performance tests. Continued work in the field, and
participation in workshops, and work with mentors will help in preparing one
to earn certification.
http://www.aslinfo.com/interpreting.cfm . 29 April 2003
http://www.rid.org/terpfaq.html. 29 April 2003
http://www.rid.org/. 11 April 2003
http://www.seecenter.org/brochure.htm. 29 April 2003
http://www.rid.org/about.html. 29 April 2003
In a message dated 3/6/2006 3:26:27 P.M.
Pacific Standard Time, Terri White
of Greenville, South Carolina writes:
[When you are interpreting in a classroom setting,] if the
teacher is lecturing and asks a question and the deaf student
raises his/her hand to answer--but the teacher doesn't see
him/her or maybe has his back to the class--and students start
answering/having a discussion and the interpreter voices, how do
you indicate that it's the student's answer and NOT the
interpreter's ? Many times the students begin answering without
being recognized by the teacher. I feel sometimes that the
students/teacher think it's my opinion since they hear my voice.
This generally only becomes a problem if you've established a
precedent of sharing your own opinion in the class in the past. The
way it should work is that you only voice the deaf student's opinion
and you never voice your own. You are not there to voice your own
opinion, you are there to interpret for the student. If you feel
this is a problem, then schedule a time to meet with the teacher and
explain the nature of your work to him or her. Then request that
the teacher, at an appropriate time, take a minute or two to explain
to the class how the interpreting process works.
I'm sure the teacher has certain equipment in the classroom. It is
normal and expected that the teacher explains to the students how to
use various classroom resources and equipment. A teacher might
explain to the students how to use an overhead projector, when they
can sharpen their pencils, her policy on passing notes in class,
seating arrangements, rules for bathroom breaks, tardiness policies,
and any number of other classroom management issues. You are just
one more issue to be explained.
It is your job or that of your supervisor to inform the teacher of
how you are to be used. It is the teacher's job to explain to the
other students that when you speak you are expressing the views and
opinions of the deaf student and not your own views and opinions.