There are definite advantages to learning sign language for anyone interested in becoming more involved in the deaf community, but many may not realize the broad range of opportunities for professional interpreters. Much of the public may think that certified interpreters simply sign for speeches or perhaps at a school for the deaf, but there are actually a variety of interesting possibilities.
There are numerous fields that require the services of a professional ASL interpreter, particularly the major areas of medicine, law, and education. Although it may seem obvious, hearing individuals do not always consider that deaf people certainly require the same services as any other human being! To that end, it is important that access to a certified interpreter be available to clients at various doctor’s offices to, for example, relay key information about a deaf patient’s health. This is sensitive, so it is not something that should be trusted to an amateur that has merely dabbled in American Sign Language, but a professional interpreter. The same rules apply for hospital visits when things can be even more immediate or intense and clarity can mean the difference between life and death. Things are no less serious in a court of law or when a deaf client is seeking legal assistance. In addition to K-12 schools, there is also need for interpreters at the university level.
One of the advantages of having the skill of being a certified ASL interpreter is the ability to apply your talents to a number of different situations and environments. In addition to the above, you could also work in a religious setting, interpreting church services and ceremonies, work as a video relay interpreter or even provide sign language assistance for someone requiring mental health support. There is likewise an endless amount of freelance interpreting you can do in any number of different settings, such as the post office, for political events, performances, you name it!
So, if you are a curious person who enjoys a challenge, interacting with people in a wide array of fields, in settings ranging from the most populated and public to more solitary and private, then you may want to consider becoming a certified American Sign Language interpreter. Open up your world and expand your knowledge through ASL!