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What is a Sign Language Interpreter?

A sign language interpreter is a qualified and professionally trained person who is certified in American Sign Language (ASL) / English Interpretation as well as other systems of manual communication.

All interpreters with Society of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Nova Scotians are qualified professionals who are members of the Maritime Association of Professional Sign Language Interpreters. Professional interpreters are bound by a Code of Ethics that ensures confidentiality, professionalism, and accuracy.


Whom does an interpreter serve?

An interpreter facilitates communication between:

A Deaf person who uses sign language as the primary mode of communication and wishes to communicate with a hearing individual.

A Hearing person who does not know sign language and wishes to communicate with a Deaf individual.


Why are sign language interpreters needed?

They are needed by both Deaf and Hearing people to ensure proper means of communication. Remember that American Sign Language is not a visual representation of English on the hands, therefore writing notes may cause many misunderstandings.

Myth: Deaf people can lip-read.
Fact: Only about 30% of the English language is readable. Most Deaf people who use sign language to communicate do not lip-read as a means to communicate.


Where are interpreters used?

Interpreters are used in a variety of settings including:

Doctor’s office

Lawyers’ office

Government services


Job interviews

Business meetings



Mental Health

Conferences / lectures

Social Services

Weddings / Funerals