Happy ASL Interpreter Appreciation Day!
Each year, on the first Wednesday of May, our diverse ASL community and sign language interpreters come together to celebrate ASL Interpreter Appreciation Day. The day is meant to recognize sign language interpreters’ incredible role in enabling meaningful understanding between individuals who are Deaf or hard of hearing and those who do not know sign language.
At AMN Language Services, we are incredibly proud of our ASL team, which consists of a talented group of ASL Interpreters and Certified Deaf Interpreters who navigate complex healthcare encounters and break down communication barriers for patients and providers each and every day. AMN celebrates ASL Interpreter Appreciation Day to recognize these professional interpreters, their diligence in the field, and the positive impact they make each day on patient care.
While medical sign language interpreting is no easy task, our interpreters are highly qualified and invested in the positive impact that high quality language access services have on the patient experience and critical healthcare encounters. In light of this special day, we asked a few team members how they became an ASL interpreter and what they love most about interpreting. Here are their stories:
I started taking ASL in high school. It came naturally to me, and my ASL teacher suggested going to Gallaudet. Once I stepped foot on campus, I knew that was where I was supposed to be, and interpreting became a passion not just a degree. I love that it is a practice profession, and I get to learn something daily and work with the most amazing people and team!
I was majoring in Business Management and took ASL 1 for "fun" and just never stopped. It's something new everyday. We get to work with a variety of people in a variety of settings with a variety of talents and we learn so much on the job.
I decided to change my major in college from Marine Biology, and I really liked my ASL class. I decided to see what kind of a career I could have using ASL and I found an ITP program. Made the decision to switch schools and majors, and now, here I am! I have always loved the variety of this work. Variety in the topics/jobs we do as well as in the people we meet.
My parents are Deaf, and I have been interpreting for them since I was very young. It was a natural transition for me. I always knew I would become an ASL interpreter! What I love the most about interpreting is the fact that I can make a living while giving back to the community that raised me. It is a WIN-WIN situation in my eyes!
I met a deaf girl when I was 9 years old and we wanted to play outside together. She wanted to teach me some basic ASL signs and abc's, colors, numbers etc. I knew from that day that I wanted to learn sign language to communicate with her, and I didn't know I wanted to become an interpreter until I was in high school. I did a lot of research on interpreting programs, and I found William Woods University, loved it and the rest is history. I love working with the deaf community, and I enjoy working in the healthcare setting with different patients, providers and fellow interpreters. Everyday is different. One session is a follow up appointment, the next could be surgery, followed by an ER visit. I love what I do and find it very fulfilling.
Wanted to chose a path that would be challenging and yet helpful. Growing up had the opportunity to come to know a dear friend who taught me so much about the language and culture of deaf people- I was hooked. What do I love most about interpreting? Making connections with individuals - and constantly being challenged to learn more.
I knew the language for many years from personal involvement in the Deaf community. I enjoy being able to bridge the gap between the Deaf and hearing community and be part of the process of working towards equity for all the stakeholders in an interaction.
From all of us at AMN Language Services, Happy ASL Interpreter Appreciation Day!