Want to Learn How to Sign?

If you also want to learn ASL and learn to interpret, this advice comes from a seasoned interpreter in the field.

You will make mistakes…own them!
Find a mentor that you know, love and trust that will support you AND tell you the truth!
Skip the ego phase if you can.
Be the middle of the ladder. There will always be people more skilled than I am and there is someone to whom I can reach down the ladder to help up.
Practice! Just because I am working as an interpreter now doesn’t mean I should stop practicing. Also when everyone tells you that you are a great interpreter, say thank you and still practice.
Appreciate diversity! In people, in language, in life.
Don’t take compliments or criticism personally or too seriously.
Get in the habit of keeping your mileage now.
Know that you will not get along with everyone and that’s okay.
Fingerspelling is a pattern and context is your friend.
PREP is your new four letter word! Use your tools and your synonyms.
Ask for what you need.
Oh yes…and Breathe.

Sounds like excellent advice to us! ¬†Of course, learning how to sign / learning ASL is just one part of the training needed to become a qualified sign language interpreter. Many interpreters become interested in learning this beautiful language because of a deaf friend or family member. They may be conversationally proficient, but still lack information regarding Deaf Culture, Laws pertaining to the A.D.A. , signs which are often ‘Industry Specific” and even proper protocol in interpreting situations. This is one field where the experts seem to be happy to share their insight and tips to help others avoid bumps in the road. If your goal is to communicate freely with The Deaf, then taking classes in ASL will be fun and informative. If you choose to go on to serving as a sign language interpreter, then your best bet is to find a mentor and take advantage of their experience and expertise. Feel free to contact us for more information on how to get started down the path as a professional sign language interpreter.

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About Evelyn

Evelyn Hunter is a SODA with years of experiential study in Deaf Culture. She attended Gallaudet University to immerse herself in this unique deaf world while working for the University and studying sign language to hone her skills. Evelyn has served in training, relationship sales, and marketing -- always seeking to expand awareness of Deaf Culture and the unique challenges the deaf face on a daily basis. The Sign Language Company has recently established a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and a website with a blog, as Evelyn coordinates the marketing and outreach efforts for the agency. Her goal is to attract new clients seeking exceptional service, while maintaining optimal relationships with clients who have selected The Sign Language Company for over 20 years.

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2 Responses to “Want to Learn How to Sign?”

  1. zaedalus Says:

    these are perfect tips really for any language or any translator


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