Scholarships for Interpreters Serving the Deaf

Become a Skilled Interpreter, Get Paid Well

Sign language interpreters must be fluent in both a primary language and sign language in order to facilitate communication between the hearing and the deaf. In America, the sign language most commonly used is called American Sign Language (ASL, formerly known as Ameslan), and other countries have their own indigenous sign languages.

Interpreting can be either simultaneous, meaning the interpreter translates speech as it is being produced, or consecutive, meaning the interpreter waits for a moment before rendering an entire passage at once into another language. Interpreters must work rapidly and accurately, and in addition to fluency in standard speech they must be conversant with local dialects of sign language, slang terms, and idioms.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that handicapped persons, including the deaf, must be given equal access to government services and employment. The deaf must be provided with aids to effective communication, and hiring someone who can interpret sign language fulfills that requirement. Hence, the job outlook for new sign language interpreters is quite bright.

Scholarships From Professional Organizationsdeaf interpreter scholarships

The Minnesota Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (MNRID) offers incentives to students interested in learning how to interpret for the deaf. MNRID’s website lists three applicable scholarships:

The Colorado Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf also sponsors a scholarship program for members. You must be a member of ColoradoRID and RID or of ColoradoRID and a student chapter thereof to apply, and the funding you receive can be used to pay for certification testing for either the NIC or the EIPA.

Your application will be considered based on the attention you devoted to completing your submission, your participation in ColoradoRID activities, and your plans for using the scholarship money.

The Florida Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf provides three scholarships for members who want to take their certification tests:

The national organization called simply Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf maintains a page of information about its own scholarships and awards, which require membership. Here are some examples:

Private Enterprise Funding

Deaf Interpreter Services, Inc. (San Antonio) builds its presence in the community with philanthropic contributions, including scholarships for students entering the sign language classes conducted by DIS.

Scholarships From Colleges

Harper College, which has established a Sign Language Interpreting Certificate program, makes the Jacob and Iris Wolf Sign Language Interpreting Scholarship available to enrollees. You may contact the Sign Language Interpreting office for more information or apply online.

In 2006, the state of Utah reached agreements with three institutions (Salt Lake Community College, the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation, and Utah Valley State College) to provide training in ASL. Utah will underwrite a student’s training if the student agrees to work for the state for a period of time equal to that of the educational aid received. You may contact the state for details on how to obtain that financial aid.