Career Advice on How to Become A Sign Language Interpreter

General Career Information

The career of the interpreter, in general, is growing at a very quick pace due to the global economy.  Those with the language skills necessary are finding it increasingly easy to find work both as an interpreter and a translator.  Specializations are also in increased demand. Take, for example, the career of sign language interpreter. 

A sign language interpreter works to help those who are deaf or have extreme difficulty hearing communicate more effectively with those who can hear.  Sign language is obviously quite different from the spoken word. As a result, these careers require interpreters to learn a completely different means of communication.  In particular, sign language interpreters must be fluent in ASL or American Sign Language and speak fluent English as well.


Career Facts:

Sign language is performed through combinations of signing, body language and the use of fingers.  It should be noted, that just as with every other language, sign language comes complete with its own structure and grammatical rules.


Career Opportunities and Job Outlook- Excellent:

There is good news for your potential job search in this area.  Since sign language interpreters can be found in every aspect of society, including business, the medical community, academia and government, it is no surprise that more and more sign language interpreters are needed every year.  However, there are a few additional factors that should mean that the overall job outlook for sign language interpreters should be high and remain so in the coming years.

The overall growth rate for interpreters and translators is twenty-four percent. Sign language interpreters fall within this category.  An aging American population will play a role in this growth, as sign language is likely to used even more in the coming years as the population ages.

Sign language interpreters will also see the demand for their services rise due, in part, to the fact that video relay services are now becoming more commonplace.  These video relay services allow individuals to place video calls using a sign language interpreter over through the Internet.

Job Outlook is Excellent

A Day in The Life:

Sign language interpreters can be found working in a wide range of fields, including business, education and the medical community.  Sign language interpreters provide a valuable skill in other areas, as well such as within the government and judicial system.  Many interpreters may work as freelancers.  In general, twenty-two percent of translators and interpreters are freelancers.

Average Salary:

The average interpreter averages about $17 per hour. 

Career Training and Qualifications:

Here is some essential information for your career planning process. The National Association of the Deaf and Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf has joined together to offer a certification program for sign language interpreters.  Both of these organizations also offer mentoring programs.

Want to learn more about these careers?