What does a Hearing Impaired Interpreter do?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 December 2019
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A hearing impaired interpreter is a professional who helps relay communication between sign language and spoken words. Hearing impaired interpreters must be fluent in both sign language and a primary spoken language such as English. There are many different jobs a hearing impaired interpreter can perform, from working with tours that provide services for the deaf, to helping hearing impaired children learn sign language.

Some regions have certification programs for people seeking to become interpreters. These are usually offered by a licensing organization, such as the National Registry of Interpreters for the Death (RID). Licensing examinations usually test speed, accuracy, and fluency in both signed and spoken languages. In addition to certification, many interpreters have college educations, but this is not always required. Depending on the state or region, a hearing impaired interpreter may have to pass special teaching exams in order to qualify for positions that teach sign language or involve work with the hearing impaired.


Any job that requires a deaf person to communicate with hearing people may require the services of a hearing impaired interpreter. Hearing impaired people who are involved in business, motivational speaking, or politics may hire an interpreter on a long-term basis, to help them communicate on a daily basis. A long term interpretation relationship can be very beneficial to both the client and the interpreter; the interpreter will gain speed and accuracy as he or she grows used to the client's rhetoric and word patterns, while the client can enjoy faster translation over time.

A hearing impaired interpreter may also find work with any type of business that provides services for the deaf. Museum and cultural tours may offer special trips for deaf visitors, or include a hearing impaired interpreter on a regular tour if requested. Lawyers, therapists, and doctors may need to use a hearing impaired interpreter on a case by case basis, to help communicate with deaf clients. Many interpreters freelance in the business arena, although some choose to specialize in a particular field in which they have some knowledge already, such as law. Specialization allows an interpreter to focus on learning the jargon, nuances of language, and idioms of a particular professional area.

Education is an important area of work for many interpreters. By teaching children sign language and helping deaf children create coping strategies for a predominantly hearing world, interpreters can help prepare them for the future and find their own voice through sign language. Interpreters may also choose to teach classes on sign language to parents, friends, and relatives of the deaf. Another type of educational job may include training new interpreters in the field.



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