What is an Interpreter?

An Interpreter is a professional who facilitates communication between parties who do not share the same language or mode of communication. Professional visual language interpreters are specifically trained in providing this service when Deaf, deafened or hard-of-hearing individuals are present.

Interpreters work in a variety of settings which may include the following: 

  • Medical (appointments, hospital visits) 
  • Legal (court, meetings with lawyers)
  • Employment (interviews, workplace meetings, training) 
  • Mental health 
  • Education (JK-12, post secondary)
  • Conference (workshops, training) 
  • Video Relay Services
  • Arts and Entertainment
  • Recreation (sporting events) 

The Ontario Association of Sign Language Interpreters' (OASLI) membership is comprised of three types of visual language interpreters:

Deaf Interpreters (DI)

Deaf Interpreters (DI) are highly skilled and trained Deaf professionals who facilitate communication between a Deaf person, a hearing person and an ASL-English interpreter using their native language, American Sign Language (ASL). A Deaf Interpreter may also facilitate communication between two signed languages. 

ASL-English Interpreters

ASL-English Interpreter are professionals who facilitate communication between spoken English and American Sign Language (ASL). 

LSQ-French Interpreters

In some francophone or bilingual regions in Canada, a professional interpreter provides interpretation in between spoken French and la Langue des signes québécoise (LSQ)

OASLI's active members are trained professional who are bound by AVLIC’s Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Professional Conduct.  For more information about OASLI's membership categories or to become a member, please visit our Membership page.

The Role of an Interpreter

Professional Sign Language Interpreters work in a variety of settings where Deaf, Deafened or Hard of Hearing people are present. OASLI members adhere to AVLIC’s Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Professional Conduct.

Values Underlying the Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Professional Conduct - Link to ASL video

  • Professional Accountability - accepting responsibility for professional decisions and actions
  • Professional Competence - committing to provide quality professional service throughout one's practice
  • Non-discrimination - approaching professional service with respect and cultural sensitivity
  • Integrity in Professional Relationships - dealing honestly and fairly with consumers and colleagues
  • Integrity in Business Practices - dealing honestly and ethically in all business practices

For information on interpreter qualifications, please visit Employment Screenings and Accreditations 

If you are looking for an interpreter, please see our Directory of OASLI Interpreters 

If you are interested in becoming an interpreter, see How to become an Interpreter for more information.