Radio Inspire

How To Learn Sign Language

Viewer Question: Interpreters for the Deaf vs. Teachers of the Deaf


Hi Everyone! Are you good? Today I want to
take an opportunity to discuss a topic related to interpreting and teaching. Last month, in the email that I sent out that discussed recent events with the
hurricane where there were a few interpreters who had the news spotlight
on them — well, one was good and one was bad… But anyway, the point is that a few
people asked me about interpreters for the Deaf vs. teaching the Deaf, and
what the difference is. Okay! So today I’ll discuss! Interpreting (and that’s the
sign interpreting), interpreting means really the focus is on communication (and information*);
it’s empowering people to communicate and interact. For example, maybe you are
deaf and you go to the doctor, and the doctor is hearing, so they speak, don’t know ASL.
And you’re deaf, so when you go how do you communicate? You need an interpreter!
The interpreter is a third person who comes in. The doctor speaks and the
interpreter signs, and then you understand. And then you sign, the
interpreter will speak and explain for the doctor. And that relay goes back and
forth. Another example might be in a presentation or a play — someone is on
stage speaking, there might be an interpreter on the side signing, and then if there is someone who’s Deaf in the audience, they’ll understand. And that’s interpreting. Now on to teaching! Teaching means I know something and I want to
impart that knowledge on to you, so I teach. Now teaching, I want to discuss two types… and understand that both interpreters and teachers, there are many
many different types. I just want to give you a little bit of an intro now, but if
you want to learn more in depth you can definitely do so. Anyway, teaching there
are two kinds related to the Deaf: one would be teaching ASL now understand
teaching ASL means the language is what you’re teaching. For example, me! I’m an
ASL teacher, which means I teach ASL — on YouTube, Instagram, in the classroom, one-on-one… I teach, meaning I know ASL. You want
to learn, so I teach you! The students can be deaf, hearing, hard of hearing, it doesn’t matter. The point is that they don’t know ASL and want to learn it, So they need an ASL teacher. The second kind of teacher is about Deaf education. Deaf education means that the students are deaf. The student maybe signs, maybe
reads lips, may be has an implant… really, the students can be diverse, but if you’re a teacher of the Deaf that means that you can be deaf, hearing, hard of hearing,
doesn’t matter — your *students* are deaf (or hard of hearing) Does it mean you teach ASL? No, probably not. It means you probably are teaching math, or
science, history, art, gym … really anything! The subject doesn’t matter — if your
students are deaf then that means you’re a teacher of the deaf — children or
adults. Okay I hope that that clears that up to understand the different kinds of
teachers plus what interpreters do. If you have other questions please let me
know: Comment, email me… Hope you have a good week! Bye

11 Replies to “Viewer Question: Interpreters for the Deaf vs. Teachers of the Deaf”

  • Thank you. Your videos are great. I'm in that murky world of growing up hearing, but now being Deaf. Vocal communication is hard and I don't yet know ASL well enough to really communicate in sign language. Watching your signing along with the captions is fantastic practice. I wish I could find an ESL (English as second language) type course for ASL – ASL SL 🙂

  • I enjoy your videos. I am hearing but have always found Asl interesting. I know a little bit, but would like my nieces and nephew to learn. So here I am wanting to learn more.TFS

  • Right now I'm trying to decide if I want to be an ASL teacher or an ASL Interpreter. If I'm a teacher I would want to either work with families as an Early Intervention Specialist or an ASL interpreter either in an educational setting or medical setting. Is there a degree that would work for both? Pro's and Con's to both? I'm starting school in the fall but I'm not sure what degree to go for either. Plus I don't think the community college has and actual deaf study or ASL interpreting program. I would eventually have to transfer.

  • Is majoring in special education gets to work with hearing impaired or deaf students? Im recently losing my hearing in both ears & planning to switch my major.

  • You explained that very well, Thank you.
    So I am learning ASL and my hands are a bit stiff. I am a bit slow to switch between the letters for example A and S and L. Are there exercises to help the fluidity of my hands?

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