Before the founding of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf in 1964, sign language interpreting was primarily a volunteer effort. Parents, children, co-workers, and clergy helped as they could to convey information. Rarely did deaf people and the hearing people with whom they are talking have access to consistent quality interpreting. Confidentiality was also a concern. The Registry's work to make interpreting a profession has made this complex and physically demanding skill more accessible to all people.

Female Interpreting service stood is next the political people.

Interpreting services have made it possible for deaf people to participate more fully in the political process, such as this public hearing.

Sign Language Associates

The interpreters voicing for Jerry Covell and Tim Rarus at the footsteps of Chapel Hall what appears to be part of DPN interviewing.

Interpreters also "voice" what deaf people are signing. Here an interpreter "voices" for reporters.

Gallaudet University Archives
Gift of Yoon Yee,
Photographer: Yoon Yee

Deaf-blind visitor is using tactile, hand-on-hand, interpreting. The deaf-blind man is Art Roehrig and the interpreter is Jean Lindquist Bergey.

Participating in a session at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, this deaf-blind visitor is using tactile, hand-on-hand, interpreting.

Gallaudet University Archives
Photograph by Virginia McCauley

Black interpreter in the foreground while a white woman is singing on the stage in the background.

An interpreter signs the words and conveys the emotion of a song. The presence of interpreters at events such as concerts and plays has made programs more accessible and made hearing people more aware of deaf audience members.

Sign Language Associates