What it takes to be an ASL translator
An ASL translator (normally referred to as an ASL interpreter) is an individual who is fluent in both American Sign Language (ASL) as well as the English Language. ASL is a distinct language with its own unique vocabulary and sentence structures. Sign language interpreters are skilled not only with two languages but also must be aware of the cultural aspects of both languages and how they affect communication. Many interpreters have graduated from Interpreter Training Programs (ITP) that can be gained in the form of Associates, Bachelors, or Masters degrees. Some interpreters are native users of sign language because they are children of deaf adults (CODA). Others learn sign language through college courses, churches, or directly from interacting with deaf people, and it can take varying amounts of time in order to become fluent in American Sign Language (ASL).
ASL translator certification and settings
ASL translators work in many different settings. The most common settings include the educational, medical, legal, government, video relay service, and business settings. Each setting requires specific knowledge and training in order to know how to respond to the different challenges that each setting faces. There are several kinds of certifications that an American Sign Language translator can receive. Many states offer a quality assurance (QA) screening that tests interpreters knowledge of the interpreting profession as well as interpreting skills. The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) offers a national certification that also tests interpreting knowledge and skills. The name of this certification is call NIC, though earlier forms of this certification are called CI and CT.