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American Sign Language:  Interpreting

Sign Language Interpreter Info
By Edda Ford
Sunday, April 5, 2009

Knowing how to sign is only part of what an interpreter is assigned to do. Sign language is a language. When Hearing people speak, they speak with expression. It is the same with sign language it is signed with expression.

According to R.I.D. (Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf) there is an art to interpreting and the website also explains what it takes to be an interpreter. For example, it is a bridge between the death and hard of hearing. It takes someone with patience and understanding to be able to do this type of complicated work. It is also rewarding and although it may not be the best paying job the reward is being able to help someone who may not have been able to help themselves.

Education is very important in this field. To be an interpreter not only does one have to have years of experience but having a certificate or degree is a must. According to R.I.D. by 2012 hearing interpreters must at least have a bachelors degree to enter the interpretation field. It is good that there are agencies such as R.I.D. to help regulate and make sure that deaf and hard of hearing individuals have the highest quality of interpretation.

There are various fields a sign language interpreter can go into. For instance, schools, video rely, legal the possibilities are endless. Interpreters are in high demand. For example in the legal field there is a shortage for good qualified sign language interpreters.

According to the California Courts, interpreters are in high demand. A lawyer informed my mom that there are not enough good qualified sign language interpreters in the legal field. There is such a shortage that they have the schedule there clients' court dates around the availability of the sign language interpreters.

Sign language interpreters have a different path they have to go through to become an interpreter. According to the California Courts a "Specialist Certificate: Legal" is required and only issued through R.I.D. This means that before this specific certificate can be handed out one has to already have experience and posses an existing certificate issued by R.I.D.

The pay rate of an interpreter depends on education, experience, and certification. According to the Department of Labor, salaried interpreters and translators had median hourly earnings of $17.10 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.94 and $22.60. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.88, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $30.91. But even with these numbers it depends on who one works for and what that employer will pay for your valuable service.

In 2006 there were about 41,000 interpreters by 2016 that will increase to 51,000. This does not exclusively only include sign language interpreters in addition, it includes all interpreters of various different languages. In other words, there is still a high demand for sign interpreters.

Works Cited

"Court Interpreters." California Courts. Legal.

"Interpreting." Interpreting. Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.

"Translators and Interpreters." Translators and Interpreters. Department of Labor and Statistics.


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