BecomeInterpInterpreters that are on the  Deaf and Hear Alberta roster are educated professionals who are active members of the Association of Visual Language Interpreters of Canada (AVLIC) as well as a provincial interpreting organization such as the Association of Sign Language Interpreters of Alberta (ASLIA). All roster interpreters must have a certificate or diploma in American Sign Language-English Interpretation or the equivalent and pass our rigorous screening test.

  • If you are an Interpreter and would like to join our team , please click here for more information.
  • If you are interested in becoming an Interpreter, please see the information and links below.


The process of interpreting is the same regardless of the languages involved. A message from one language and cultural context must be expressed accurately in another language and cultural context. An interpreter’s goal is to make this transition without changing meaning. Everything that is spoken or signed is interpreted. Interpreters do not counsel, advise or interject their personal opinions.

Prior to appointments, sign language interpreters review relevant background information to prepare. Individuals requiring interpretation services are expected to provide this information in advance. For example, they may provide information about terminology or copies of working documents, meeting handouts, agendas or minutes. In educational settings, institutions must provide texts, handouts, audio-visual materials and any other course materials so interpreters can become familiar with course theory and terminology.

In school settings, sign language interpreters may interpret:

  • for teachers and students in classrooms and labs
  • during parent/teacher interviews
  • at tutorial sessions
  • in other situations (for example, when Deaf students wish to use support services, participate in extra-curricular activities or attend school meetings).

Working Conditions

Sign language interpreters provide interpretation services wherever communication is required. For example, they may work in settings such as:

  • business, legal, medical or social service offices
  • educational institutions
  • religious settings
  • musical and theatrical performances
  • conferences and workshops

Interpreters employed by interpreter referral services or agencies may interpret at a doctor’s office one day and, depending on their qualifications, interpret in court the next day. Or, they may interpret for television or in front of large crowds at conferences or banquets. Depending on the length of the assignment, interpreters may work in teams to facilitate communication more effectively, ensure message equivalent interpretation and reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries.

Freelance interpreters work irregular hours. Typically, they charge a two hour or half day minimum and require 48 hours notice of cancellation.

Personal Characteristics

Sign language interpreters need the following characteristics:

  • a nonjudgmental attitude
  • the ability to maintain client confidentiality
  • excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • flexibility
  • objectivity
  • physical stamina
  • self-discipline

Interpreters enjoy the process of interpreting and facilitating communication.

Educational Requirements

Sign language interpreters must have excellent reading, writing and verbal expressive skills in English and be fluent in American Sign language (ASL).

All Deaf and Hear Alberta roster interpreters:

  • have graduated from a recognized interpreter training program or have equivalent experience
  • are members of the Association of Visual Language Interpreters of Canada (AVLIC) and its local affiliate the Association of Sign Language Interpreters of Alberta (ASLIA).
  • have passed the provincial screening test administered by Deaf and Hear Alberta
  • have a current Child Welfare and Police check

Admission to an interpreter training program generally requires a high level of skill in American Sign Language. ASL classes are offered by high schools and post-secondary institutions through Continuing Education. For more information, please contact or visit the websites of local school authorities and post-secondary institutions.

Employment and Advancement

Sign language interpreters may be employed by institutions, work on a freelance basis or work for interpreter referral services. Interpreters in educational settings may work in elementary or secondary schools, post-secondary institutions or schools for the deaf. Interpreters who have business or administrative skills may be hired to co-ordinate interpreting services for agencies, schools (especially post-secondary institutions), or conventions and other short-term assignments.

Community interpreters may find that there is less work available during the summer months.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next five to ten years.

American Sign Language – English Interpreter Training Programs


Lakeland College

British Columbia

Diploma in Sign Language Interpretation
Douglas College
700 Royal Avenue P.O. Box 2503
New Westminster, BC V3L 5B2
Chair: Karen Malcolm
(604) 527-5478 Registration


Bachelor of Arts in ASL-English Interpretation (Joint 3-year degree program offered by RRC and U of M)
Red River College
2055 Notre Dame Avenue
Room D104
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3H 0J9
Coordinator: Judy McGuirk (204) 632-2381

University of Manitoba
Department of Linguistics
514 Fletcher Argue Building, University of Winnipeg
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 2N2
Contact: Terry Janzen
(204) 632-2381


Diploma in ASL/English Interpretation
St. Clair College
2000 Talbot Road West
Windsor, Ontario N9A 6S3
Coordinator: Mary Rose 519-972-2727 Ext. 4495

Diploma in ASL/English Interpretation
George Brown College
PO Box 1015 Station B
Toronto, Ontario M5T 2T9
Chair: Georgia Quataro
Contact: 800-265-2002 Ext 2333 (voice)

Nova Scotia

Diploma in ASL/English Interpretation
Nova Scotia Community College
PO Box 22105685 Leed Street
Halifax, NS B3J 3C4
Coordinator: Denise Smith (902) 491-4624 (voice); (902) 491-4625 (tty)

Other Sources of Information

  • Post-secondary institution calendars and websites (see Educational Requirements above)
  • ED info website:
  • Association of Sign Language Interpreters of Alberta (ASLIA) –
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