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All over the world there is a great need for Sign Language Interpreters for City, County and State Offices, Federal Offices, Colleges, Schools, Medical Fields, Doctors Office, Lawyers Office, Court Rooms, Coaches, Instructors, Teachers, Home Schoolers or just everyday communications.
The National Center for Health Statistics estimates that 28 million Americans (about 10% of the population) have some degree of hearing loss. About 2 million of these 28 million people are classified as deaf (they can’t hear everyday sounds or speech even with a hearing aid). Only about 10% of these 2 million people were born deaf. The other 90% became deaf later in life.
The natural language of around 500,000 deaf people in the US and Canada is American Sign Language (ASL). A “natural” language is a language that is learned as a first language in childhood. However, not all deaf people learn ASL as their first language. Many use it as their second language and some only use a little ASL, if at all.
Nonetheless, many hearing people are fluent in ASL. Sign language has become more and more popular in recent years and many hearing people are registering for high school and college ASL classes. A recent estimate claims that around 13 million people have some level of proficiency in sign language.
That makes American Sign Language the third most commonly used language in the US!
The shortage of qualified interpreters affects deaf people of all ages, in school and at work. College students struggle to find qualified interpreters for their courses; mainstreamed deaf children often have poor quality interpreters or no interpreter (The New York Times ran an article about how some deaf NYC teens were attending public schools without an interpreter), and deaf people working in the hearing world sometimes have to go without an interpreter when one is needed for key meetings or conferences.