Sign Language Interpreter

What is a Sign Language Interpreter?

A Sign language Interpreter transfers meaning from one spoken or signed language into another signed or spoken language. Interpreters will use their skill and knowledge of the two languages, and their understanding of cultural differences between those for whom they are interpreting, to transfer a message in one language into the other language.

Categories of Sign Language Interpreters

Registered Sign Language Interpreters will have demonstrated that they have achieved a nationally agreed standard in interpreting. They will carry a yellow photo ID card.(NRCPD 2012)

Trainee Sign Language Interpreters have met minimum competence requirements and are undertaking an approved, supervised programme of training that leads to NRCPD Registered status. The assignments they undertake should be within their professional competence. Trainee Sign Language Interpreters may not work in the legal domain – courts, police, legal processes etc, – or in mental health settings. They will carry a purple photo ID card. (NRCPD 2012)

Average salary (per year)

20 - 35K

Typical hours (a week)

37 - 39

You could work



To register with the NRCPD you will need to:

  • Level 6 Certificate in British/Irish Sign Language
  • Level 6 Diploma in Sign Language Interpreting and Translation

Both qualifications gained need to be mapped to the NRCPD register to find out more please visit NRCPD‘s Joining a Register page.

Day-to-day tasks

In your day-to-day duties you may have to:

  • prepare before assignments by finding out about the situation and any specialist vocabulary
  • travel to different sites to interpret in a variety of situations
  • use technology to provide ‘virtual’ interpreting services
  • listen carefully to, or watch, what is said or signed
  • interpret what is said or signed
  • find the best way to express everything that is said or signed
  • do admin tasks like paperwork or booking appointments