To Sign or Not to Sign?

4 April 2015
A discussion on the role of American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters.

This paper presents a detailed examination of the role of American Sign Language Interpreters. The writer provides the basics of what the job entails and how it is done. In addition the writer describes recent conflicts about the use of sign language as opposed to other means of communication and how that affects the careers of ASL interpreters.
“Each year, children are born without the ability to hear. Many more lose the ability due to disorder, disease or accidents. We do not appreciate the ability to hear until we meet someone who cannot do so. The ability to hear affects almost every aspect of life, especially when one is young and trying to learn to read or do other academic tasks. The job of an American Sign Language interpreter, in regards to children and students is to assist in the learning process as well as the child’s need and ability to communicate with the hearing world. They not only tell the world what the deaf are trying to say, but they also report to the deaf what the hearing world is telling them. In recent years there has been controversial debate as to the need for ASL and interpreters. A grassroots movement has begun to encourage other means of communication. The world of the deaf is currently divided into separate camps; those who consider themselves purists and want to continue with ASL and those who want it abolished because it sends a signal to the world that they are different. While the battle wages the ASL interpreters are caught in the crossfire, and children who are deaf wait to see what they will be taught.”

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