Sign language interpreters

Interpreters are trained professionals who provide the necessary communication link between hearing people and people with a hearing loss. Interpreters benefit all parties involved with the conversation.

Interpreters are not simply individuals who know sign language. They receive training from an accredited interpreter training program and are certified by the NAD-RID National Council on Interpreting. Certification tests are administered by the RID National Testing System. A signer is someone who may have taken one or more sign language classes. A signer is not an interpreter.

Sign language interpreters

  • • Interpret the signed message into spoken English for hearing people,
  • • Interpret the spoken message into American Sign Language (ASL) for people with a hearing loss, or
  • • Transliterate the spoken message into signs using English word order for persons with a hearing loss
  • Interpreters for deafblind individuals

  • • Interpret for individuals who are deafblind through the sense of touch, also known as tactile interpreting, or at close visual range
  • • Interpret visual and acoustic environmental information
  • Oral interpreters

  • • Facilitate communication between hearing people and people with a hearing loss who rely heavily on speechreading for communication
  • • Enunciate, repeat or rephrase a speaker's remarks using natural lip movements and gestures
  • Cued Speech Transliterators

  • • Transliterate the spoken message into Cued American English (CAE), using the system of Cued Speech for persons with hearing loss
  • • Transliterate the cued message into spoken English for hearing persons
  • Certified Deaf Interpreters (CDI)

  • • CDI’s are needed when the communication mode of a consumer who is deaf is so unique that it cannot be adequately accessed by interpreters who are hearing
  • • Situations may involve individuals who use foreign sign language or have minimal communication skills
  • Sign Language Interpreters follow a code of professional conduct established by the NAD-RID National Council on Interpreting. Cued Language Transliterators follow a code of conduct and are certified by the Testing, Evaluation and Certification (TEC) Unit. Interpreters and transliterators convey the intent, feeling and content of the messages to all the people involved. All information is kept confidential and personal opinions are not interjected.

    This information is in accessible formats for individuals with disabilities by calling (651)431-5940 or by using your preferred relay service.  Additional assistance with legal rights and protections for equal access to human services programs is available.


    Contact Information: (651)431-5940 or (800)456-7589 V, (651)964-1514 VP, (888)206-6513 TTY,

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