Part of a Series on American Sign Language Interpreters: Legal Interpreting

William Woods ASL

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires the use of qualified interpreters in any court and legal setting.

American Sign Language legal interpreters need to be highly skilled and trained specialists, considering the serious consequences in the event of a failed communication. As a result, the demand for interpreters in the legal world is higher than the amount of interpreters who hold the right credentials.

Legal interpreting naturally includes court interpreting, but a legal interpreter’s work is not restricted to the courtroom. Legal interpreters can be used during attorney-client conferences, investigations by law enforcement, depositions, witness interviews, real estate settlements, court-ordered treatment or education programs, and administrative or legislative hearings.

As is the nature of law enforcement and legal settings, interpreters face other potential risks in this field. Interpreters may be called as a witness to defend their work in their assignments. Additional protections are often added to their work, like recording the session on video, or using multiple interpreters. The Registry for Interpreters for the Deaf also maintains legal interpreters attain and continue the Specialist Certificate: Legal so that qualified interpreters hold the professional skills and knowledge associated with legal settings, including the necessary specialized vocabulary.

William Woods University Interpretation Studies in ASL – English students work closely with advanced interpreters and have opportunities to meet professional interpreters in various specializations. Students gain incredible insight and training, complete senior capstone and field practicum experience where they explore different fields.

Students interested in legal interpreting can talk to their advisors and professors about Certified Deaf Interpreters (CDIs) and learn more information on attaining the RID Specialist Certificate: Legal. William Woods University ASL students could also major, minor or take elective courses in political/legal studies to gain an understanding and foundation in Politics and Government, the American Legal System and Constitutional Law.

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