Interpreter Resources: Deaf Interpreters

This guide points to different types of interpreting and library resources.

What is a Deaf Interpreter?

The image shows a woman with shoulder-length blonde hair wearing a black shirt and signing. Video is from the Deaf Interpreter Institute, which is a part of the National Consortium of Interpreter Education Centers (NCIEC).

A Deaf Interpreter is a specialist who provides interpreting, translation, and transliteration services in American Sign Language and other visual and tactual communication forms used by individuals who are Deaf, hard-of-hearing, and Deaf-Blind. As a Deaf person, the Deaf Interpreter starts with a distinct set of formative linguistic, cultural, and life experiences that enables nuanced comprehension and interaction in a wide range of visual language and communication forms influenced by region, culture, age, literacy, education, class,  physical abilities, cognitive level, and mental health.

These experiences coupled with professional training give the Deaf interpreter the ability to effect successful communication across all types of interpreted interactions, both routine and high risk. NCIEC studies indicate that in many situations, use of a Deaf Interpreter enables a level of linguistic and cultural bridging that is often not possible when hearing ASL-English interpreters work alone. Currently, Deaf Interpreters work most often in tandem with hearing interpreters. The Deaf-Hearing interpreter team ensures that the spoken language message reaches the Deaf consumer in a language or communication form that he or she can understand, and that the Deaf consumer’s message is conveyed successfully in the spoken language (Deaf Interpreter Institute, 2016).

Deaf Interpreters' competencies are described on the Deaf Interpreter Institute website. In addition, is a Deaf Interpreter RID group and a CDI Study Group for Deaf Interpreters interested in taking the CDI test.

Career Information

View Deaf Interpreter videos which illustrate their work at a school setting., mental health setting, preparations with a hearing interpreter as a team, and a legal setting.

Annotated Bibliography

A Deaf Interpreter Annotated Bibliography with links to articles and book chapters is available from the Deaf Interpreter Institute. If you want to check our library to borrow these books or articles, check our resources: use our RIT Libraries Catalog to find book and conference titles, the A-Z Journal finder to find journal articles, and our databases to find dissertations and other works. If we do not have a book or article you need, use the Interlibrary Loan services for free.

Search for Periodical Titles

Deaf Interpreters and the Law

The following information is from the Deaf Interpreter Institute. Over 35% of Deaf Interpreters provide interpreting services for legal proceedings. For about 15% of Deaf Interpreters legal interpreting makes up the majority of their work.

There is much evidence in case law supporting the essential role of Deaf Interpreters in court proceedings and many state laws require or allow the provision of Deaf Interpreters, particularly in legal settings. View the following reports.

The Deaf Interpreter in Court: An Accommodation that is More than Reasonable

Best Practices: American Sign Language and English Interpreting within Court and Legal Settings.

Recommended Guidelines for the use of Deaf Intermediary Interpreters.



The Deaf Interpreter Institute has conducted as 2007 National Deaf Interpreters Survey Study, demographic characteristics, work settings, consumer populations they work with, communication skills, professional education, and credentials. The institute also conducted six Deaf Interpreters focus groups studies and the 2007 report is available. In addition, there were two Deaf Interpreter Educators focus group studies done and the 2007 report is available.

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