A Brief Intro To Sign Language Interpretation

Sign language interpretation basically entails an individual assisting a deaf or impaired individual to comprehend spoken language. In other words, the interpreter converts the spoken language into sign language. Such interpretation comes in handy in both individual-to-individual scenarios and group environments. The interpretation service is required in different settings, including schools, hospitals, courtrooms, doctors’ offices, performing arts, law offices, government, etc.

Role of the Sign Language Interpreter

Sign language interpreters should completely understand the subject considered and be capable of accurately translating the information. The interpreter should not just be proficient in the spoken language and sign language, but communication and listening skills are paramount too. Equally important is a good memory, as the interpreter would have to remember complete information communicated to them so that it could be translated accurately.

Several times, the interpreter may have to conduct research beforehand if there is technical or complicated information requiring interpretation. Also, the interpreter may have to keep dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other reference materials handy at all times to understand the subject well and make accurate interpretations.

Field of Work

As mentioned earlier, the services of a sign language interpreter would be required in different places. However, there are certain institutions or fields wherein the need for an interpreter is high.


Sign language interpreters can be frequently seen offering their services in schools, right from elementary schools to universities. The working hours are identical to the school’s schedule. The interpreter would usually be working with one student at a time. The interpreter’s job would be to convert the teacher’s spoken language to sign language so that the deaf student understands the lesson being taught. Such kind of interpreting can be quite fruitful and satisfying as the student’s growth and progress can be easily seen.


A sign language interpreter can also work in a bank, office, hospital, college, courthouse, etc. There are no typical working hours. Interpreters could be scheduled to offer their services on weekends or during evenings, based on their client’s requirements. They therefore must be flexible. Also, they should be quite trustworthy and discreet since most of the interpreting would be private in nature.

Video Relay Service

Video relay service (VRS) can be quite challenging as the interpreter needs to be the bridge between a deaf person and the other individual in the conversation who is connecting via phone, typically a video telephone. Such phone calls could be made for different reasons, such as booking a doctor’s appointment, inquire about a school or job application, make credit cards or bank inquiries, etc.

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