Sign Language Resources, Inc.

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About Legal Interpreting

Sign Language Resources, Inc. is adept at matching the needs of a case with the skills and experience of a potential interpreter, and customers and consumers can feel confident of quality services. Our highly qualified interpreters work in legal settings, particularly in court, law offices, and law enforcement proceedings, where matters involving high-risk and personal freedoms are often the focus.

Interpreting in the legal setting is a long-recognized area of specialization in the field of ASL-English interpreting. The legal setting is broad and includes law enforcement investigations, interviews and interrogations, client-attorney interactions, and a wide range of court and legal proceedings.


Tradition and knowledge passed on from the much older field of spoken language interpreting, and the legal community, contribute to the conventional way legal interpreting work is performed in Sign Language. As well, practices have been conceived by ASL-English interpreter practitioners over time through a process of application of theory drawn from the profession's scholarship, and then shared back with the general population of spoken language interpreters. As a result, patterns of practice and best practices have been identified and guide the work of practitioners in this area of specialization.


Working in the legal setting requires advanced interpreting competence, including the ability to fluently execute consecutive and simultaneous interpreting of complex texts, work effectively in teams, particularly the ability to work collaboratively with Deaf Interpreters (DIs), and to adapt language use to a wide range of sign language users. Further, it requires an in depth understanding of law enforcement and the legal system.


Interpreters working on behalf of SLR are scheduled for such specialized work only after they have received training in this area. There are unique parameters impacting the work of interpreters in this setting that are the result of case law, and legal and evidentiary procedures. Typically, the knowledge and skills required of interpreters to work in this setting are acquired after completion of a solid academic foundation in interpreting, coupled with multiple years of practice, followed by specialized training in legal interpreting and supervised field experience.

Certification of interpreters in this area of specialization is administered by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, and requires that one possess generalist certification, and completion of a set number of hours of training and supervised work experience prior to application. The certification process involves a stringent written and performance exam. Although not all legal interpreters hold this specialized certification, more and more legally certified individuals are available to SLR each year.



Also see NAD-Courts

Also see NAD-Police

Also see NAD-Lawyers, Legal Services

Also see RID Standard Practice Paper-Legal Interpreting

Also see National Consortium's Work and Resources on Legal Interpreting