How to become an ASL Interpreter


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Apr 6, 2021
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Hello all, unsure if this is the correct place so please let me know if it is not so I can adjust accordingly.

I have been attempting to research this but there is not a lot of stuff online that I am seeing. I have some questions on how people become ASL interpreters.

- do you need to get a degree to do this or are you able to just get certified through ASL programs? (programs example: I use DHHS in MI - I emailed them but haven't seen a reply yet so figured I'd ask here)
- are there tests through the state for you to get certified along with completing these classes?
- do qualifications differ by state? (I assume) if so does anyone happen to know MI or have a link that can give me more information? the organization website I was on was not very thorough in terms of instructions - just had links to paperwork.
- When one is certified is it expected that they work full time as ASL interpreters or is volunteering an option?

Love to hear any information you guys have on the subject! Let me know if there are any important questions I am not asking here. Thanks :)
The real big heavy lifting is done with those involving medical (Hospitals etc) and particularly Legal or even Court and Police interviews which may be sometimes hostile depending on the subject being harvested. There are structural questioning designed to pull facts from a hostile and combative witness etc.

You would have to pass along everything that strikes your ears. I for one wont be doing that for a living. It tough enough converting to Enflish and then from there to a deaf person less than familiar with our Land.

You are constantly trained. It never ends. The further up the legal, police, medical food chain you go the more enormous your ears need to be radar and your eyes better than a falcon at 4000 feet. If I tried to interpert in that type of situation it will come out as junk. Certificaitons wont help either for me, I have a limited word comprehension imposed on my hearing issues which is one of the reasons other forms than speaking works out well.

There are some who failed to say that they know nothing about the Deaf, know nothing about the language and so on and when prodded into a high powered news conference this is the ugly result.. leads right back to the original problem what makes a certified interpreter? Many are tested offhand and sometimes they just fail. Its NOT their fault. Wanting to go do something in work and actually doing it are two different things that are usually carefully picked and then trained. That training never stops.
Each states DOES have their own requirements; although there is nationwide accreditation. It is an expensive test so mastery is needed. Some states want a degree, some if you can pass the tests-cool. Some will hire you and give you time to get certified.

What you do with it is up to you; employment or volunteer. I believe you can volunteer without it and it would be a great way to submerse yourself in the community/help with fluency.

Bottom line is Get Fluent, figure out your states requirements, and most of all Welcome and good luck :)