Careers and Graduate Success in Sign Language Interpreting

Becoming an expert at translating from English to sign language is difficult as interpreters have to be chameleons for these very different languages and the people using them.

"I was able to transition to the "working world" seamlessly upon graduation because of the knowledge gained and experience acquired during my three years completing Augustana's Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sign Language Interpreting." - Lisa Wendt Hellbusch, Class of 2010


There are typically three paths for professional interpreters:

Community Interpreting:

Community interpreters work at doctors’ offices, courthouses, hospitals, office buildings, factories, banks, colleges, etc. Their schedules vary from day to day and include nights and weekends. A community interpreter’s job is never dull because they shift from one setting to another several times throughout any given day. Community interpreters’ need to be flexible and easy-going. Interpreters that work in the community have the opportunity to be involved in the most private inner-workings of people’s lives.

Educational Interpreting:

Educational interpreters work in elementary, middle, and high schools. They are typically assigned to one or two students and interpret the message between the teacher or classmates to the deaf student. Their schedules are set and follow the school day and school holidays. An educational interpreter’s job is rewarding because you can watch the student you work with develop and grow as they progress through school. Educational interpreters have the opportunity to work with students, parents, and teachers in a team environment.

Video Relay Service:

Video Relay Service (VRS) is a phone service that provides sign language interpreting between deaf individuals and people who can hear. This is a very challenging type of interpreting in that these interpreters never know what’s next. Callers connect to an interpreter and make phone calls ranging from job interviews, making doctor’s appointments, credit card inquires, legal consultation, etc. The schedule of a VRS interpreter is very flexible as the service is open 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week. As a VRS interpreter, you could expect to receive a new call and interpret a new topic every seven minutes.

As one of the fastest growing professions in the country, American Sign Language job opportunities are plentiful and diverse.