How to Spot a Qualified ASL Interpreter

sign language interpreter

Did you know that as a small business, you have a responsibility to provide the means for effective communication with people that are Deaf or hard of hearing? The Americans with Disabilities (ADA) title II requires that state and local government and business and not-for-profit organizations communicate effectively with individuals with communication disabilities. 

The ADA aims to ensure that people with communication disabilities receive communication that is just as effective as those without disabilities. For your business to meet the requirements of the ADA, you will need to use the services of a sign language interpreter at some point. 

When selecting a sign language interpreter, it is vital to choose the right interpreter and the right company for the job. Sign language is a specialist area, so you need to be sure that you are receiving the very best level of service. Here are some points to keep in mind when choosing a professional interpreting service from the thousands that are available for your business:


Did you know that there are many different types of sign language? In the United States and most of Canada, American Sign Language (ASL) is the recognized form of sign language. ASL is described by the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) as the backbone of the American Deaf Culture.

One way to find a high-quality interpreter with the qualifications to match is to look for an interpreter who has achieved an American Sign Language certification.

Interpreting services that offer a wide variety of languages along with American Sign Language (ASL) may not provide the same level of service, as they are not ASL specialists. It is wise to choose an interpretation service that specializes in ASL and has certified staff members to provide high-quality interpretations.


As well as checking that the interpreter has an American Sign Language (ASL) certification, you will also need to ask them about their experience and ask for testimonials from previous clients. 

It is crucial to work with an experienced sign language interpreter, and to ensure that they have recent experience. They may have learned ASL over twenty years ago, but that doesn’t mean that they are a highly skilled and experienced interpreter. Even if the interpreter holds an ASL certification, they may not have a vast amount of recent experience. 

Verifying how much recent experience the interpreter has will help you with your decision and ensure that you don’t hire an interpreter who last used their sign language skills when they were at college and has not regularly used them since.

Special Skills

As sign language interpreters work in a variety of settings and situations, some interpreters specialize in specific areas. Choosing an interpreter with specialist skills can be a huge benefit as they will be familiar with the situation. Here are some examples of specialist areas that may benefit from an interpreter with special skills:

Medical interpreters: Choosing a qualified medical interpreter is vital for medical institutions. An experienced medical interpreter will be able to provide the Deaf or hard of hearing patients with all the information that they need and effectively relay information to medical professionals.

Education interpreters: Specialist education interpreters can help Deaf and hard of hearing students reach their full potential in the learning environment.

Business interpreters: Business interpreters enable employees to fully engage in situations such as reviews, staff meetings, and presentations.


Due to the importance of the role of the interpreter, it is essential that the interpreting service is able to match you with an interpreter that is compatible with your needs. A reputable interpreting service should have interpreters available with a level of experience and knowledge that perfectly suits your requirements, and ideally have worked on similar jobs in the past. 

It can help to be specific with your requirements for the job, as this will give the interpreting service the information that they need to match you with your ideal interpreter.

Trustworthy Organization

Choosing a fully qualified ASL interpreter is essential, but you also need to be sure that they are employed by a trustworthy organization. Sign language interpreters carry out such an important role, and so it is vital that you choose a company that you can trust to arrive on time and offer the highest quality, professional interpreting service. 

Trustworthy ASL interpreting services will provide you with highly qualified interpreters that suit your needs and that you can rely on to deliver a high-quality service.