Community Sign Language Interpreter Job Description [Updated for 2024]

community sign language interpreter job description

In an ever-evolving, diverse world, the demand for Community Sign Language Interpreters has never been more pressing.

As societies grow more inclusive, the need for skilled individuals who can bridge communication gaps and foster understanding within communities is on the rise.

But what does it really entail to be a Community Sign Language Interpreter?

Whether you are:

  • A job seeker trying to grasp the essence of this role,
  • A hiring manager aiming to outline the perfect candidate,
  • Or simply fascinated by the intricate art of sign language interpretation,

You’re in the right place.

Today, we present a tailor-made Community Sign Language Interpreter job description template, designed for easy posting on job boards or career sites.

Let’s dive right in.

Community Sign Language Interpreter Duties and Responsibilities

Community Sign Language Interpreters translate spoken language into sign language and vice versa to allow communication between deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals and hearing individuals in community settings.

Their primary duty is to facilitate clear and effective communication, with responsibilities including:

  • Interpret spoken words into sign language accurately and quickly
  • Translate sign language into spoken words for hearing individuals
  • Ensure the context, tone, and style of the speaker are maintained in the translation
  • Facilitate communication in a variety of settings such as schools, hospitals, government agencies, and community events
  • Adhere to the Code of Professional Conduct for interpreters
  • Maintain confidentiality and respect for clients’ privacy
  • Educate hearing individuals about Deaf culture and the use of sign language
  • Stay up-to-date with new signs, idioms, and industry-specific terminology
  • Assist with accessibility services such as captioning or transcription services if required


Community Sign Language Interpreter Job Description Template

Job Brief

We are seeking a proficient Community Sign Language Interpreter to facilitate communication between individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and those who are hearing.

The Interpreter will be expected to interpret in various community settings including but not limited to educational, medical, and social service environments.

The successful candidate should have a strong command of American Sign Language (ASL), a deep understanding of deaf culture, and the ability to accurately convey information between different parties.



  • Interpret spoken words, feelings, and attitude into sign language accurately.
  • Translate sign language of deaf individuals into spoken language for other participants in the conversation.
  • Respect and maintain confidentiality of all interpreted information.
  • Study and understand the subject matter before interpreting.
  • Assist deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals with understanding spoken language by using various forms of communication.
  • Ensure the deaf or hard-of-hearing individual understands the interpreted information.
  • Participate in professional development and continue to improve interpreting skills.
  • Adhere to the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) Code of Professional Conduct.



  • Completion of an Interpreter Training Program and relevant certification (e.g., National Interpreter Certification).
  • Proven work experience as a Sign Language Interpreter.
  • Strong command of American Sign Language and English.
  • Excellent listening skills and memory retention.
  • Understanding of deaf culture and issues affecting the deaf community.
  • Ability to work flexibly in various community settings.
  • Professionalism and respect for confidentiality requirements.



  • 401(k)
  • Health insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Retirement plan
  • Paid time off
  • Professional development opportunities


Additional Information

  • Job Title: Community Sign Language Interpreter
  • Work Environment: This role involves working in various community settings. Some travel may be required.
  • Reporting Structure: Reports to the Director of Interpreter Services.
  • Salary: Salary is based upon candidate experience and qualifications, as well as market and business considerations.
  • Pay Range: $45,000 minimum to $70,000 maximum
  • Location: [City, State] (specify the location or indicate if remote)
  • Employment Type: Full-time
  • Equal Opportunity Statement: We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.
  • Application Instructions: Please submit your resume and a cover letter outlining your qualifications and experience to [email address or application portal].


What Does a Community Sign Language Interpreter Do?

Community Sign Language Interpreters work in a wide variety of settings, such as schools, hospitals, courtrooms, and governmental agencies.

They primarily help deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals to communicate with others by interpreting spoken language into sign language.

They may also interpret sign language into spoken language.

Interpreters may facilitate communication in a range of situations, such as medical appointments, legal proceedings, educational settings, or public events.

In addition to interpreting, they may also provide advice and guidance on accessibility and inclusivity to organizations and individuals.

It is crucial for Community Sign Language Interpreters to stay updated with the evolving sign language and cultural norms within the Deaf community.

They also must adhere to a code of professional conduct, maintaining confidentiality and impartiality during all interpretation assignments.


Community Sign Language Interpreter Qualifications and Skills

A proficient Community Sign Language Interpreter should possess the following skills and qualifications to perform in a proficient manner:

  • Excellent skills in American Sign Language (ASL) or other relevant sign languages to communicate effectively with individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills to facilitate communication between individuals who use sign language and those who do not.
  • Patience and understanding towards individuals with hearing impairment and a professional demeanor to handle potentially sensitive situations.
  • Knowledge of the Deaf community, Deaf culture, and issues affecting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Ability to accurately translate spoken language to sign language and vice versa in real-time, maintaining the original content, context and tone.
  • High level of concentration and attention to detail to capture every single piece of information, including non-verbal cues.
  • Strong memory skills to remember what is said during conversations and translate it accurately.
  • Experience or training in a relevant field such as Special Education, Social Work, Counseling or a related field.


Community Sign Language Interpreter Experience Requirements

Community Sign Language Interpreters often start their journey by enrolling in an interpreter education program or a sign language studies program.

This gives them foundational knowledge and some practical experience in sign language interpretation.

For an entry-level position, candidates may have 1 to 2 years of experience, often gained through internships, volunteer work or part-time roles in community centers, schools or healthcare facilities.

They are usually expected to be proficient in American Sign Language (ASL) and have a good understanding of Deaf culture.

Candidates with over 3 years of experience often have increased their vocabulary, speed, and accuracy, gained through working in a variety of settings like educational institutes, courts, or medical offices.

They may also have specialized experience in areas like mental health or legal interpreting.

Those with more than 5 years of experience are often seen as highly skilled and may have leadership experience, coordinating teams of interpreters or providing training to others.

They may also have national certification such as the National Interpreter Certification (NIC) or the Board for Evaluation of Interpreters (BEI) certification.

In addition to these, a strong commitment to ethical conduct, cultural competence and continuous learning is seen as crucial in this role.


Community Sign Language Interpreter Education and Training Requirements

Community Sign Language Interpreters typically need a bachelor’s degree in American Sign Language (ASL), Deaf Studies, or a related field.

The degree program should include substantial coursework in linguistics, interpretation, deaf culture, and related topics.

A minimum of two years of sign language experience is often required, which can be obtained through a combination of coursework, internships, and personal experience.

Many interpreters must also complete an interpreter training program (ITP) which involves both coursework and field experience.

This program trains interpreters in professional ethics, interpreting skills, and specialized areas of interpretation.

All states require sign language interpreters to be certified.

Certification can be obtained from organizations like the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) or the National Association of the Deaf (NAD).

To get certification, interpreters must pass a series of written and performance-based examinations.

Continuing education is highly recommended for sign language interpreters.

They may choose to pursue advanced degrees or additional certifications in specialties such as legal or medical interpreting.

This ongoing education helps interpreters stay up-to-date with changes in language and interpreting methodologies.

Finally, successful community sign language interpreters are also expected to be knowledgeable about deaf culture, history, and community resources.

This understanding helps them provide more effective, nuanced interpretations and better serve the deaf community.


Community Sign Language Interpreter Salary Expectations

A Community Sign Language Interpreter can expect to earn an average salary of $46,475 (USD) per year.

The actual earnings can vary greatly based on experience, education, the complexity of the work, and the location of employment.


Community Sign Language Interpreter Job Description FAQs

What skills does a Community Sign Language Interpreter need?

Community Sign Language Interpreters must have a high level of proficiency in both English and American Sign Language.

They should have strong interpersonal skills, as they work closely with both hearing and deaf individuals.

They need to have excellent memory recall and processing skills, to accurately interpret conversations in real-time.

Cultural sensitivity is also critical, as they must understand cultural nuances and convey them appropriately.


Do Community Sign Language Interpreters need a degree?

While a degree is not strictly necessary to work as a Community Sign Language Interpreter, many employers prefer candidates with a Bachelor’s degree in Sign Language Interpretation or a related field.

As well, formal interpreter training programs and certification through the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) or a similar organization are often required.


What should you look for in a Community Sign Language Interpreter resume?

When reviewing a resume for a Community Sign Language Interpreter, look for evidence of certification from a recognized organization, such as RID.

Also look for experience in a variety of settings, such as schools, hospitals, or community events.

It’s also beneficial if the interpreter has knowledge of specialized vocabulary, such as medical or legal terms.


What qualities make a good Community Sign Language Interpreter?

A good Community Sign Language Interpreter is patient, flexible, and has excellent listening skills.

They should also have a strong understanding of ethics and confidentiality principles, as they often interpret sensitive information.

In addition, effective interpreters are culturally sensitive and have a deep respect for the Deaf community.


Is it challenging to find qualified Community Sign Language Interpreters?

Finding qualified Community Sign Language Interpreters can be challenging due to the high level of skill and experience required for the role.

However, there are professional organizations and job boards specifically for sign language interpreters that can aid in the recruitment process.

Offering competitive salaries, professional development opportunities, and a supportive work environment can also attract qualified candidates.



And there you have it.

Today, we’ve shed light on what it truly means to be a Community Sign Language Interpreter.

Guess what?

It’s not solely about translating spoken language into sign language.

It’s about bridging the gap between hearing and deaf communities, one sign at a time.

Armed with our comprehensive Community Sign Language Interpreter job description template and real-world examples, you’re fully prepared to advance in your career.

But why stop there?

Take a deeper dive with our job description generator. It’s your next step towards crafting precise job listings or refining your resume to perfection.


Each sign you interpret contributes to the bigger picture of inclusion.

Let’s create that inclusive future. Together.

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