An American Sign language interpreter plays an essential role for the Deaf community. ASL interpreters are professionals who facilitate communication for Deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals. These individuals have a complex job that requires them to be fluent in two or more languages. The experts at Applied Development have gathered a list of several common functions for ASL interpreters below. 

smiling woman is an American Sign Language interpreter

Facilitate Communication

The foremost responsibility of an ASL interpreter is to facilitate communication for the Deaf or hard of hearing. ASL is the most common form of interpreting today. It requires an interpreter to be both fluent in English and American Sign Language, since ASL is its own language with a unique grammatical structure.

ASL interpreters must also conduct themselves professionally and ethically. Additionally, ASL interpreters convey nuances, tone, inflection, and the spirit of both the speaker’s voice and the signs of the person who is Deaf or hard of hearing.

Worldly and Cultural Knowledge 

Every language includes cultural subtleties and nuances that an ASL interpreter needs to understand thoroughly. Interpreters cannot communicate what they do not understand, which is why it’s essential for an interpreter to have vast cultural knowledge. Occasionally, ASL interpreters will need to conduct research ahead of time, especially if it requires the translation of complex or technical information.

The Ability to Multitask

ASL interpreters have to be able to multitask to do their job effectively. The role requires interpreters to both listen and sign at the same time. This requires them to watch and speak simultaneously to effectively translate and create a conversation. Additionally, ASL interpreters need to allow each participant the proper time to process information, which can sometimes take several seconds between translations.

Read Body Language and Facial Expressions 

Body language and facial expressions play a crucial role in all forms of communication and sign language is no exception! An ASL interpreter has to be able to spot the subtleties of each participant’s facial expressions and body language. 

For example, the same word can have many different meanings. It’s an ASL interpreter’s job to understand the difference of each word based on the conversation’s subtext and then translate it appropriately. Continuous eye contact is crucial throughout an ASL interpretation. Body language can also play a major role in proper ASL interpretations. Interpreters have to be able to read not only what a participant is signing, but the language they are communicating through their actions.

Do You Need an ASL Interpreter?

Applied Development specializes in supporting employees who need an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter. Over the past four years, we’ve had a 99% fill rate, and our interpreters offer thorough understanding and superior skill while adhering to documented best practices. We currently employ a network of 209 nationally certified interpreters who provide superior services to our clients. Our “Best Match” approach to pairing clients and interpreters minimizes risk and maximizes cost efficiency for our clients. Contact us on the website for more information.