National Association of the Deaf

Interpreting American Sign Language

So you’re thinking of becoming an interpreter! That’s good, because there’s always a demand for skilled interpreters who can sign fluently and read another person’s signing well.

The demand for qualified interpreters exists in many settings: educational interpreting in K-12 and higher education settings; in the community, such as for doctor’s visits, court appearances, and business meetings; and for the provision of video relay services (VRS) and video remote interpreting (VRI) services.

If you are a novice signer or have just begun to take sign language classes, you are not ready to become an interpreter; not yet. Interpreting also involves more than just signing. An interpreter must accurately convey messages between two different languages. It is a skill that takes time to develop.

Deaf and hard of hearing people deserve to have interpreters who know what they are doing and who do it well. A qualified interpreter is one who can, both receptively and expressively, inter