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Sign Language Interpreter/Translator


Summary: Interprets and translates spoken language into sign language usually using the hands, facial and body movements. Using American Sign Language (ASL) or other sign language system. 


Purpose: Making the ability for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to communicate with hearing individuals. Serves as liaison between deaf and hard of hearing students, hearing students, instructors and parents

Typical Specifics:

Serves deaf and hard of hearing students who know American Sign Language in the:

  • Classroom
  • During lectures
  • Events
  • General conversations
  • Meetings
  • Tutoring
  • Urgent situations
  • While being counseled
  • While watching films


Abilities Typically Necessary:

  • Able to interpret basic communication
  • Able to interpret technical subjects
  • Able to interpret under various environmental conditions
  • Able to understand a subject and properly interpret it
  • Able to work with law enforcement if used as a legal interpreter
  • Able to work with the general public confidently
  • Keep and maintain records such as billing, hours and other services provided

If at a supervisory level, the interpreter may coordinate other interpreters' schedules for meetings, tutoring, events, urgent situations and counseling sessions. May be in charge of contacting other agencies for coverage.

If performing upper level, technical interpreting such as at a college level course for a deaf or hard of hearing student, Interpreter is expected to work with the professor to gain a thorough understanding of the course material in order to better translate the information.



  • Gains knowledge of various interpretation methods
  • Become certified as an sign language interpreter
  • Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) requirements
  • Complete an accredited interpreter training program or equivalent
  • Work as an apprentice for a period of time


  • Adheres to the RID Code of Ethics.
  • Sensitive to diverse populations
  • Develop and maintain working positive working relationships
  • Understanding the deaf and hard of hearing community
  • Know and advise on various resources, including special equipment, for the deaf and hard of hearing

Note: Interpreters who can translate in languages other then English are very sought after.

This job description can also be found in Word form here


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