Results of the Shortage of Interpreters for the Deaf

There are many different ways for those in the Deaf community to interact with the hearing world and everyone has their own preference. Sometimes those Deaf or hard of hearing prefer to use lip reading, writing, or gestures to convey their messages. However, Deaf people nearly always require an interpreter when conducting legal, medical, and educational business. Interpreters may not spend every waking minute with their Deaf employer, but they need to be around for certain situations. In many countries around the world- including the United States- there is a shortage of interpreters for the Deaf. This is a huge problem due to the necessity of interpreters. Here are three results of the shortage of interpreters for the deaf:


There is already a problem with members of the Deaf community being excluded in the hearing world. Because the majority of people are hearing, everything is designed to cater for them. However, the inability to communicate with one another causes those who are Deaf or hard of hearing to struggle even more with everything from daily tasks to legal and medical emergencies. Interpreters for the Deaf help to close the rift because they provide both the Deaf and hearing communities with the ability to communicate with one another easily. Therefore, the lack of interpreters only serves to exclude the Deaf community.

Difficulty in learning environments

There are several situations for which a Deaf person might require the use of an interpreter. Educational environments such as primary schools, high schools, Universities, and even educational classes such as cooking or parenting classes can be difficult for Deaf people to navigate. Teachers oftentimes talk fast and don’t cater their curriculum to those who are Deaf or hard of hearing. However, when an interpreter is present in this environment, they can help Deaf students feel comfortable in the classroom setting and also help them to fully understand the curriculum.

Inability to easily complete important tasks

While the average Deaf person doesn’t require the use of an interpreter 24/7, there are a few situations where they are necessary. During important doctor appointments, emergencies, and legal disputes, an interpreter can help make a Deaf person feel less stressed, confused, and overwhelmed. It can be terrifying to be unable to understand what’s going on in a high stress situation. An interpreter can quickly and easily convey to a Deaf person what is happening and what is needed from them in these situations. The shortage of interpreters only makes members of the Deaf community feel more scared and alone.

At the end of the day, the shortage of interpreters for the Deaf is absolutely devastating. While there are other resources for the Deaf including ASLdeafined’s ASL dictionary app, these resources are not helpful for every situation. Interpreters are necessary for those in the Deaf community to need help navigating the hearing world- particularly for legal, medical, and educational occasions. Communication between the Deaf community and the hearing world is made much easier by the use of interpreters.