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American Sign Language Interpreting

By Stephanie Zito
April 6, 2009

For quite some time now there has been a high demand for ASL interpreters. Studies show that over the next decade that demand will increase by a significant percentage.

According to the National Association of the Deaf, twenty-eight million Americans are either deaf or hearing impaired (Jessica Cohn, Everywhere a Sign). More than 10% of that number requires assistance to access health services, education, etc. This is why the demand for interpreters has greatly increased over the years. In fact, "Employment of interpreters is projected to increase 24 percent over the 2006-16 decade, much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth will be driven partly by strong demand in healthcare settings and work related to homeland security" ( According to, the average income that an ASL interpreter makes in a year ranges from $32,276 - $61,650 in the bay area, to $24,638 - $47,062 in places like Sacramento.
In order to become a certified interpreter a person has to first become efficient in the language whether it be in college or part of a life long education in the subject. Many employers will accept an Associate-Level degree in deaf studies, but most employers prefer a Bachelor's Degree in the subject. Most interpreting students will spend time in the deaf community becoming familiar with the language and different forms of casual talk among the deaf. Students then take a test to earn their National Interpreters Certificate (NIC) which is recognized by both the National Associate for the Deaf and the Registry for Interpreters for the Deaf. During the test you are categorized into three different levels based on your proficiency during the interview and performance sections of the exam. Based on your performance, you will end up as a NIC Generalist, NIC Advanced, or NIC Master (Cohn, Everywhere a Sign).
While researching I came across the ASL Services, Inc. Company. This company is an industry leader in providing professional sign language interpreting services throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. ASL Services, Inc has been serving the country since 1989 and has recently become a supporter for Video Relay Services which is a new way for interpreters to help deaf people by using video and speech-to speech phones. ASL Services, Inc. only uses qualified Nationally Certified, State-screened and professionally evaluated (ADA compliant) qualified interpreters. The company also has staff available 24/7 for any and all emergencies (
In today's job market and economy, Interpreters have been found to be in high demand in most urban areas such as Washington DC, New York, and California, which provide the largest numbers of employment possibilities. There has also been a great need for interpreters in publishing firms, phone companies, airlines, cruise ships, and interpreting and translating agencies.

American Sign Language Services. 04 Apr. 2009 <>.

CAREER SNAPSHOT: Interpreters (California Job Journal)." California Job Journal - California
Jobs, Jobs in California. 04 Apr. 2009

Cohn, Jessica. "Everywhere A Sign." 2008. Academic Search Premiere. EBSCO.

Sacramento State Library, Sacramento. 4 Apr. 2009

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