Interested In Becoming An ASL Interpreter? Where Should You Begin?

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If you've always been fascinated by watching ASL interpreters at big speeches, sporting events, concerts, and other public-facing events, you may be wondering about the level of commitment and skill it takes to be able to interpret and translate live dialogue using only your hands. For many, pursuing a career (or even a side gig) as a licensed or certified ASL interpreter can be both a challenging and rewarding process, and even if you determine that working as a paid interpreter isn't for you, you may be able to benefit from learning and using ASL in your daily life. Read on to learn more about how to get started as an ASL interpreter.

What will you need to do to be an "official" ASL interpreter?

Each state sets its own standard for professional interpretation. For example, ASL interpreters who are used in courtroom proceedings may go through a different licensing or certification process than medical interpreters, so determining which context (or contexts) you'd prefer for your services may be the best way to point you in the right direction. 

Many states don't have any sort of official licensing process for their interpreters, while others will require interpreters to pass both a written and in-person test before they can be placed on a public registry or otherwise hired as a paid interpreter. Before you begin, you'll want to thoroughly investigate your state's guidelines and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations to determine the best path forward.

How can ASL interpreters help the public?

Working as an ASL interpreter can help you touch many lives in addition to the deaf or hard of hearing individuals you serve directly. By performing these interpretation services in public, you'll be able to promote interest in this fascinating and accessible language and make connections you may never have dreamed were possible. 

And while you may be reluctant to engage in any sort of political statement with your work, in many parts of the country, publicly-funded translation and interpretation services have come under fire by those who insist that all residents of the U.S. speak English in legal, medical, and emergency situations. These politically-motivated sentiments often tend to exclude deaf or hard of hearing people. By showing that even native English speakers often require assistance hearing and understanding spoken words, ASL interpreters can help shed light on an often-overlooked population of individuals who remain very much in need of translation services. 

Contact a company like ASL DEAFined for more information and assistance.