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Ask Dr. Bill ...


Are there physical requirements to be an interpreter?  I am deaf in one ear and have a 20% loss in the other. In almost every situation, I hear fine. I used hearing aids while in college but don't have them anymore (couldn't stand them anyway). I have problems in noisy situations, when watching TV, and when multiple people speak at once, but other than that I think I function almost normally. Would it be unreasonable for someone like me to pursue an interpreting certificate?
-- Mary


As long as you can provide consistent, professional-quality service then there is no reason why you couldn't become an interpreter.  I would suggest though that you would need to screen your assignments carefully and be very selective about the types of assignments (or "jobs") you accept. For example, if you end up interpreting for a real estate agent who is driving around in a noisy car and is sitting on the side of your deaf ear -- it could be an issue. 
A person who is deaf in one ear but has relatively normal functioning in the other ear might make a very good video relay interpreter.  You could use your functioning ear to listen to the incoming voice -- and turn up the volume a bit. You could perhaps eventually work for Sorenson, Purple, Convo, or one of the other video relay interpreting companies.

So, sure, if you want to become a terp you can most likely do so in one form or another.

Also, there is such a thing as a CDI (Certified Deaf Interpreter) which is a Deaf person who provides a type of interpreting service.  See: Certified Deaf Interpreter (01) and Certified Deaf Interpreter (02)

Warm regards,
Dr. Bill





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