Sign Language and Oral Interpreters

Sign language interpreters help people who use sign language communicate with people who can hear and speak. They translate a message from spoken words to signs, and from signs to spoken words. They are fluent in American Sign Language, and/or sign systems based on English (such as Seeing Essential English, Signing Exact English, and Linguistics of Visual English). Oral interpreters help to deliver a spoken message from someone who hears to someone who is deaf. They also have the ability to understand the speech and mouth movements of someone who is deaf or hard of hearing, and to deliver the message to someone who is hearing. 

According to the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, "American Sign Language is the language used by a majority of people in the Deaf community in the United States, most of Canada, certain Caribbean countries and areas of Mexico. Other areas of the world use their own sign languages, such as England (British Sign Language) and Australia (Australian Sign Language)." 

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Deaf Interpreters, Tactile Interpreters, Trilingual Interpreters
Duties Help people who use sign language communicate with people who can hear and speak; translate a message from spoken words to signs, and from signs to spoken words
Salary Range Below $25,000 to $100,000
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities are available throughout the country, but are best in large cities
Minimum Education Level
  • Bachelor's Degree
School Subjects
  • English
  • Foreign Language
  • Speech
Experience Internships; volunteer experience
Personality Traits
  • Helpful
  • Social
  • Talkative
Skills
  • Foreign Language
  • Interpersonal
  • Public Speaking
Certification or Licensing Recommended
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Excellent
Advancement Prospects Fair
Outlook Much Faster than the Average
Career Ladder
  • Interpreting Business Owner
  • Certified Interpreter
  • Tutor

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