What is an interpreter?

An image of a female sign interpreter doing sign language for students.

Are you an interpreter?

Looking for skill building, training, linguistic and other resources? Visit the Interpreter Resources section:


 Interpreter Resources


Sign language/spoken English interpreters are highly skilled professionals that facilitate communication between hearing individuals and the deaf or hard-of-hearing. An interpreter must uphold the Code of Professional Conduct. Learn more about interpreters on the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf website.


‌Educational interpreters must effectively communicate classroom information between hearing staff, deaf students, deaf staff and other hearing students according to the language level of the student and the goals of the individualized education plan (IEP). IDEA defines the educational interpreter as a related service provider, a legally defined member of the educational team. That legal definition provides the framework for describing professional practices in the K-12 setting. There are Guidelines of Professional Conduct that educational interpreters must follow. Learn more about educational interpreters on the Classroom Interpreting website.


Certification and assessment

The process of becoming a high-level quality interpreter starts with attaining credentials through certifications offered by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and maintaining qualifications and membership through continued skill development.


The Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA) is a tool that evaluates the skills of interpreters who work in the elementary through secondary classroom using stimulus materials and a procedure that includes a comprehensive rating system. For more information about EIPA visit the Classroom Interpreting website.


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