8 March 2013
How to Become an
Interpreter and What is it Like?
Janet Cullen is an
American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreter. Janet went to Cabrillo College in
Santa Cruz, California and Ohlone College in Freemont, California where she
studied to become an interpreter. Janet completed the Interpreter Preparation
Program (IPP) at Ohlone College. The reasons why she wanted to become an
interpreter were because she loved the Deaf community, and they encouraged
her to keep at it – and in doing so she finally succeeded in becoming an
Interpretation Program (IPP) took two years. As part of the IPP she was
mentored by Deaf professionals. She also completed internships with other
interpreters that were certified professionals. After all her hard work, she
got her CI/CT (Certificate of Interpretation, Certificate of
Transliteration) certificates under RID (The Registry of Interpreters for
the Deaf). Janet was able to work at the California School for the Deaf, in
Freemont California after testing with the State of California years ago. On
top of all of her certificates she also has a Bachelor of Arts in humanities
from the New College of California.
Learning sign language
was challenging, but now the only difficulty she has with interpreting is
when she is in a situation without adequate knowledge of the subject matter.
Janet has had lots of
interpreting jobs (called "assignments") that she has enjoyed, but because
of the Code of Professional Conduct (CPC) she is unable to share the
specifics of individual jobs. In general, out of all the interpreting
settings that works, her favorite categories are mental health-related such
as therapy, group counseling, rehab, one-on-one interactions, kids,
psychology classes, birthing, and dying.
Interpreting is one of
Janet’s favorite things to do, but because she works for herself it is hard
to manage her schedule, keeping up with contracts, keeping up with invoices,
and paying taxes. However, she does get to pick and choose her assignments and
schedule and is always treated with a lot of respect – which is important to
Now she is learning British Sign Language (BSL).
"ASL Interpreter Interview." Personal email correspondence,
Tanya Zaricor and Janet
30 Oct. 2012.