Sign Language Interpreter

Help deaf and hearing people understand one another.

Quick Stats


Outlook
Good

Salary Range
$23,000 – $86,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Sign Language Interpreters do?

People who can’t hear often can’t speak either. This doesn’t mean they have nothing to say, however, and it certainly doesn’t mean they’re not interested in what other people have to say. Luckily, there’s a way for those who can and can’t hear to communicate with one another clearly, and that’s through a Sign Language Interpreter.

Sign language requires you to use your fingers and hands to speak. Some words have matching gestures, while others must be spelled out using lengthy signs that correspond to the letters of the alphabet. Also, some clients prefer when Sign Language Interpreters move their lips as they sign, but others hate when they do this.

So, if you’re a Sign Language Interpreter, when you meet a client, you ask which method they prefer and you adapt accordingly. But when you’re speaking in front of large groups, you may use both techniques so everyone will be at least slightly happy.

When your clients sign, you speak their words for the people they’re talking to. You may use both your body and your voice to express the person’s emotion, but you won’t edit what they’re saying in any way. When the audience responds, you translate the spoken words into sign language, using your face and the size of your gestures to express emotion.

To truly excel at your work, you must be a bit invisible. People talk through you, but they don’t talk to you. It might be disconcerting to be ignored in this manner, but you remind yourself that this is part of your job and you must endure it cheerfully.


Should I be a Sign Language Interpreter?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Independent: You enjoy flying solo and doing things your own way.
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.

  • Also known as: Foreign Language Interpreter

    How to Become a
    Sign Language Interpreter

    Most Sign Language Interpreters have a Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:yo19cx&chl=no+college+%2812%25%29|certificate+%287%25%29|associate%27s+%2826%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2830%25%29|master%27s+%281%25%29|doctorate+%2824%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,12,30
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