Sign Language and Oral Interpreters



Sign language interpreters help people who use sign language communicate with people who can hear and speak. They translate a message from spoken words to signs, and from signs to spoken words. They are fluent in American Sign Language, and/or sign systems based on English (such as Seeing Essential English, Signing Exact English, and Linguistics of Visual English). Oral interpreters help to deliver a spoken message from someone who hears to someone who is deaf. They also have the ability to understand the speech and mouth m...

Quick Facts


Median Salary



Employment Prospects



Minimum Education Level

Bachelor's Degree






Foreign Language


Personality Traits



Freelance interpreters can charge by the hour or the day, providing services to a variety of organizations and institutions. Their fees will be determined primarily by their skills and experience. Other factors include the type of certification held, educational background, and previous employer. A beginning interpreter will charge about $12 to $25 per hour, and an experienced interpreter can c...

Work Environment

Working as an interpreter can be stressful. When interpreting from ASL to English, or from English to ASL, translators must make many quick decisions. The two languages are very different structurally, and an inexperienced interpreter can get lost in their complexities. In some situations, such as in a court case or in a public presentation or performance, many people are relying on the interpr...


The U.S. Department of Labor reports that employment for interpreters and translators, including sign language and oral interpreters, is expected to grow by 20 percent, much faster than the average for all careers, through 2029. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, "demand for American Sign Language interpreters is expected to grow rapidly, driven by the increasing use of vi...