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Readers Respond: Reasons for Becoming an Interpreter

Responses: 14


Updated February 19, 2011

People become interpreters for a variety of reasons. For some, it could be as simple as the fact their parents were deaf. For others, it could be that they took a sign language class and decided to become interpreters. For still others, it could be a desire to help deaf and hard of hearing people. Why did you become an interpreter?

Read about different interpreting styles.

Was Motivated By Mom

When I was younger I took a language class at my library. One of the languages we learned a little about was American Sign Language. I just thought it was so beautiful and fun. Years later, my mom started to lose her hearing. She has hearing aids and sometimes it's really hard for her to deal with fact that she is hard of hearing. I found a university in my state that offers an ASL/English Interpreting major. I love it and I learn so much every day! I've been teaching my family some signs too, to make it easier to talk with my mom.

Help in Kenya

This is for my brother Mwangi in Kenya. Please find a school for the Deaf near your town, learn from the Deaf people there. The other alternative is 8-4-4 building at the Nairobi university where there is a Kenya sign language research project. I am a sign language interpreter based in Nairobi and I heartily welcome you into the interpreters world. Thank you
—Guest Catherine Lucy Wambui

In Kenya and Need Training!

Am writing from a small town in Kenya. I attended a workshop recently on "Disability" that really changed my attitude towards Persons with disabilities. I felt a big urge to learn sign language and be an interpreter as i work in a Technical Training Institute but we do not admit deaf students due to the communication barrier. I have one big problem - that am not able to trace any organisation here in Kenya offering this type of training. Could you be of any assistance towards the same? Thanks and looking forward to your favourable response

Desire Then Had Deaf Daughter

I have wanted to learn sign language and work with the deaf ever since I was in the 3rd grade. I taught myself the alphabet out of a book and could sign "Hi, my name is De Ann" but that was it. The desire continued for many years but had nobody to take classes with me. I ended up having a daughter who is profoundly deaf and she went to a school some distance from our home and they needed subs and I had a lot of time on my hands. I shadowed other interpreters and my love of interpreting blossomed. I get so much joy out of helping people understand what is being said. I will even make a point of conversing with people in stores that I don't know so they have someone new to talk to. I know how they feel as I know how my daughter feels. It's a very lonely life. I thinks it's important to be an advocate for the deaf that they only have a communication need and they are human beings too.
—Guest De Ann

Had a Deaf Cousin

I have a Deaf cousin and have always loved languages in general. I found my true calling in Interpreting and being an Advocate (so to speak) for the Deaf and helping to stop the oppression of Deaf. The ignorance in today's society is stupid and uncalled for. I'm currently in college to become an Interpreter. To any and all people who want to become an interpreter and learning ASL or any Sign Language KEEP LEARNING AND DONT QUIT!!! Keeping at it helps and having Deaf friends and Interpreters is good. Its a rewarding job.
—Guest Jordan

Still in college but want to interpet

I went to a Bilingual-Bicultural school that had Deaf and hearing kids, learned a little bit of ASL and how to fingerspell and I fell in love with ASL. I tried to copy the interpreters which I know now was not a good idea but I was a kid then. I have been taking ASL classes since my sophomore year in high school, and am currently taking the Accelerated ASL courses at Portland Community College. I plan on applying for interpreting programs at least 3 colleges/universities, including PCC's. I love going to Deaf Events, learning about Deaf Culture and getting to know the Deaf community. I took a Deaf Studies class and it saddened me knowing how much Deaf people are still oppressed because of ignorance by the general hearing population. I do and will always encourage other hearing people to learn about the Deaf whether they want to be interpreters or not, because only through education we can stop ignorance and oppression. That is why I want to be an interpreter.
—Guest Christmas

reasons for becoming an interpreter

A boy in a home I was living in was deaf,I didn't know it til I tried to talk to him. He didn't answer me. I thought he was stuck-up, so I wrote him a note: "Hi my name is Debbie, what's your name"? He wrote" my name is Brian, I'm deaf." he taught me the alphabet and other stuff. I took a class at Goodwill, twice. when I came to Florida, I took a class at our church. The instructor told me I'd never be an interpreter, so I quit. Three years ago I started back up, and its been fun.


Growing up with many family members that were deaf sign language has always been a part of me. Like most CODAS I strayed from the profession. Then I decided to get a degree in interpreting. It was one of the best things I could have done. Being able to finally become a licensed interpreter has been rewarding. This is a very diverse field.
—Guest laurieorr880

high paying career

I'm a sign language interpreter because there's a scarcity of terps out there. Thus the demand is high. Few terps, high demand, High salary. Simple math.
—Guest marvin


That is my first language and I know it very well-- taking classes to "officialize" (not a word, I know lol) my signing abilities as well as learn a lot more, and it's very natural. I have done it for the church for over 2 years and there's nothing like it. It's like acting since you use a lot of facial expression and body movements, but really just conveying what you hear, having the spotlight for just a moment, and feeling like you helped the deaf and HH experience what you learned from the speaker. There is a tremendous need and it will continue more so, since the requirements for completing it are getting more difficult every few years. So if you are wanting to do it, Go For IT!
—Guest Tiffany

Reason for becoming an interpreter

I have a deaf daughter and I want to help her and her deaf friends in advocating the rights and respect for deaf people.
—Guest alma pamittan-tuazon

Still Working On It

I fell in love w/ASL from the 1st time I saw it. So many times, I tried finding ways to learn. More than 20 years & no luck. Finally met Deaf friends who still teach me signs, & they suggested I become an interpreter. Wow! What a great way to show my thanks! Problem is, now that there are places & ways to learn, I have no $ for classes. Found an ITP agency that lets me study FREE in their library!! Why do I want this? To thank friends. To inspire other Hearing folks to KEEP LEARNING. To let Deaf & HH know they are NOT ignored! To become the "stepping stone" so fear won't stop everyone from communicating together. I found my "voice" in my hands. Learning, patience w/myself is tough. So long, so hard, I've fought. Still not there. Still working on it. Trying to become excellent so I don't disappoint anyone. Trying to learn enough to be "worthy of the cause".
—Guest guestAMSD27@yah

why did I become an Interpreter

I can remember when I was a little girl and I use to watch Jery Fawel. I watched his entire sermon at the age of 5 or six.He had this little lady in a blue dress in a box right hand corner of the T.V.
—Guest angel


My personality is a helper in this world. I love to help and feel satisfaction from this.
—Guest Diana

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