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What has been the most impactful aspect of being able to interpret American Sign Language?

I want to get into sign language interpreting in the future. I've always believed that simply having a job for the sake of money is boring and useless so I'd like to know how having this job has impacted individuals personally. #asl


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Amanda’s Answer

HI Alyssa,


It is great that you are looking into sign language interpreting as a profession. Sign language interpreting is a great match for me because I get to do something different every single day I go to work. I have been a sign language interpreter for 4 years.


If you want to become an interpreter in ASL and you are in high school or college, I would encourage you to work hard in your English classes. You must be very skilled at English before you can interpret well. Secondly, any start you can get taking or learning ASL classes are great. Some community colleges offer classes. If you message me, I can help you find local classes to take to get a head start on learning. There are other helpful online rescources to learn some signs:


Here's one to practice fingerspelling: http://asl.ms/


Signs: http://www.aslpro.com/


When you are ready to go to college, you can go to a two year community program for interpreting. These are called (IPP's (interpreter preparation programs) or ITP's, (Interpreter training programs.) there are both 2 and 4 year programs.


As an interpreter you have a great opportunity to bridge communication gaps and allow Deaf people to participate more fully in different activities. Many people think interpreters work mostly in hospitals and courts but here are some other places you can work as an interpreter: Disney world and universal studios as an interpreter for shows and performances, schools with children of all ages, job interviews, job training, concerts, video relay service, tours in cities like Washington D.C., New York or Chicago, doctor's appointments, parent-teacher conferences at schools, and many more places.


Each state has different requirements for interpreters. You can find these requirements usually with a google search. Some states require you to have a license or certificate to work as an interpreter. A 2 or 4 year college degree will help start to prepare you for these tests.


Overall interpreting is a fun profession with a lot of variety. Even if you take ASL in high school or a few classes in college, it requires a lot of work to become fluent but it is worth it. If possible, try and find places where local interpreters are working and ask if you can come along for observation to see if you like the work they are doing!


Best of luck to you!


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