Optimistic outlook for ASL interpreter job growth

William Woods ASL

ASL. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 11 percent growth in total for all occupations between 2012 and 2022. For the interpreters and translators sector of occupations, however, the projected occupation growth is much greater: 46 percent!

In 2012, the number of interpreter and translator occupations was 63,600. This projected number is predicted to be almost 93,000 by 2022, and additional 29,300 jobs.

While this percentage includes the high demand for spoken language interpreters like Spanish, Arabic, Japanese, Chinese and others, the BLS says that American Sign Language is also a significant portion of this number.

“Demand for American Sign Language interpreters is expected to grow rapidly, driven by the increasing use of video relay services, which allow people to conduct online video calls and use a sign language interpreter,” the BLS says.

“Computers have made the work of translators and localization specialists more efficient. However, these jobs cannot be entirely automated. Computers cannot yet produce work comparable to the work that human translators do in most cases.”

As the health of the economy becomes stronger, more funding will be available to organizations (hospitals, court houses, etc.) interested in hiring full-time, in-house interpreters.

Programs like William Woods University bachelor’s in Interpretation Studies in American Sign Language prepare future interpreters with professional practice and a four year degree that gives them a competitive advantage in a growing field.