1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Duolingo
  4. >
  5. VRS Interpreting for Sign Lan…


VRS Interpreting for Sign Language? (And some cool ASL music videos) ^_^

A friend linked me to a video posted by the DailyMoth, an American Sign Language (ASL) news channel program on Facebook. I thought it was a video aimed at encouraging people to become virtual ASL interpreters. While it could be seen as that too, the ending revealed that it was advertising a type of program for VRS interpreters. It was very silly of me not to think about there being multiple programs for professional ASL interpreters. On my old phone I had a program called Glide that allowed me to send messages as one might send a text, but via video for when I wanted to send ASL messages to my signing friends. I'm wondering if Convo (the VRS product) is used for both professional interpreters, as well as everyday usage like Glide. Anyhow, are you a virtual interpreter for a sign language? If so, what kind of program do you use? Do you find the ASL interpreting community as welcoming for you are the people in that video found it? Also, what kind of training (how many years, special certificates?) did VRS interpreting require?

What was also cool about the Convo video, is that I recognized one of the interpreters. They go by Azora in some of their music videos and they have a couple of ASL songs on Youtube. Here is one by CM7 Deaf Film Camp called Feel Again. Though, this is my favorite video from CM7, Azora shows up in it too, but is less central: Happy.

YouTube is phenomenally fraught with really terrible "ASL" music videos. Many are made by hearing people who are not good at ASL. Some of them are even using Signed Exact English (SEE), which is not ASL, even if it has borrowed some ASL signs and ASL has borrowed some SEE. SEE was originally created to try to wipe out ASL by hearing people who were antagonistic towards ASL. So, always be careful of what you try to learn through YouTube!

My favorite place to study ASL so far has been through LifePrint and it's corresponding Youtube Channel Bill Vicars. Both are free. I am not paid to endorse any of these. I have just found them personally useful. ^_^

PS As an aside if you are unable to contact a moderator about a serious Guideline violation, please fill out this form here as an alternative way to report.

June 1, 2017



Hi all! I actually am certified in ASL, and through my travels have found a wonderful website, along with "The Daily Moth" to help others learn ASL. It's called iDeaf News and you can find links to all sorts of news that is d/Deaf-related, along with easy to follow videos. The link is here:


And to answer some of your questions (not all, as I don't work in VRS):

You do need a special certificate to be able to interpret. Each state has their own regulations, as does each field. Most will require you to join the Registry of Interpreters For the Deaf (RID) if you want to do it professionally (which I don't). Then you will have to take a test in order to be an official interpreter. After that, you will need to decide what type of interpreter you want to be (medical, educational, law, etc.) and take the appropriate courses to keep up your certificate. Some states will also require you to get a special state license as well. Some schools even have an interpreting program, which will prep you for the RID exam you need to take after your schooling is finished.

In my case, I got my certificate from my local Community College, which means I can carry on conversations in ASL. I can also teach it (since I do have my degree in Early Childhood Education) as long as it's not towards a degree or diploma. I can also interpret in an emergency, depending on what the emergency is. I cannot interpret in the hospitals, but if someone where to say keel over in a restaurant and they happen to be d/Deaf, I could interpret for them until the ambulance arrived.

The RID can be found here (http://rid.org/) and their site provides a wealth of information in regards to ASL and how to become an interpreter.


I have read some discussions/comments from people who are in the medical field and learning Spanish, etc. here on Duolingo. I wonder if the same consequences would apply to them if they try using their Spanish, etc. in a hospital with a patient without something similar to RID. I'm under the impression that for ASL, if people who are not qualified interpret at a hospital, there can be a lawsuit?


I'm not sure of all the legal requirements for a medical interpreter, but I do know that is not legal for a family member to be the interpreter. This insures that children aren't forced to inform a family member that he or she has cancer and will be dying soon. Hospitals have been sued for trying to circumvent obtaining qualified interpreters.


Oh goodness! O.O I hadn't thought of that scenario.


I've heard the same thing, as it can pose a Conflict Of Interest.


Great information here!


That is so cool. Thanks for sharing. I recently bought a book on ASL.


Which book? I have 4 books I think. one is a book on the Linguistics of ASL. It's a bit over my head at the moment. I need to learn more ASL before digging into it again. Though, it has an amazing section at the very beginning that discusses what constitutes a language.

The other books I got when my friends were taking ASL courses at Uni. I bought books to study along with them outside of class. They were useful and even had a dvd to use along with it. I feel like I made more progress in terms of vocabulary through the online videos I was watching. It doesn't help that I don't have a dvd player at the moment though.


The American Sign Language Phrase book. My friends and had recently had a challenge where we used only sign language for 1 day. It was really interesting and fun.


When I was in ASL club, there was a game where everyone had to come up with a sign that used the same modifier. (Am I using that word correctly?) For instance, B. It can be a fingerspelled letter, but it can also be used to sign "Music" and also, I think, Law/Rule (the non-initialized version). Get a group of 10 people together, and it really makes one's brain have to work hard to find a sign someone else hasn't already said for that modifier. It is a lot of fun, and really good practice for building and maintaining memory for different signs. :)


Hey Usagiboy7, you know how people have rap-battles, does the deaf community have poetry standoffs like that? Is there an analogy to rhyme or alliteration in sign language?


There may be some Deaf people who engage in "rap battles", but I don't think this is very common. Often at large Deaf gatherings someone or a guest may do some "story telling" in which almost the entire story is told with classifiers, gestures, spatials, and facial expressions. Fingerspelling is often at a bare minimum. It is not a competition, but is more of an art form. Sometimes several people will take turns story-telling. It's not viewed as a competition, but as a celebration of American Sign Language and Deaf pride.


Wow, that's awesome!! My bff deaf friend is teaching me sign language right now!


Awesome! I've just linked in the OP my favorite place online to study ASL. LifePrint was created by a Hard of Hearing professor who has a Ph.D in Deaf Education. :)

[deactivated user]

    Thank you for sharing! Trustworthy ASL resources are pretty hard to find, according to my friend. She is deaf and is trying to teach me ASL so we don't have to write each other to communicate!

    She really wants to learn another language so I'm trying to find some resources for her as well! Unfortunately Duolingo doesn't really support deaf learners (as I suspected and learned) so I'm having a little trouble. Actually, if anyone has any resources that you think would work, can you comment them down below? Thanks!!! :-)


    I mean, you can use Duolingo to learn if you're deaf, but you'll only know how to write it.

    [deactivated user]

      She can't pass the 'listen and type' parts, which if you can't do it's very hard to get through a lesson.


      Folks can turn off speakers and mics and still get through Duolingo courses. Just hover over your username where it appears in the blue bar at the top of the screen. A menu will drop down. Click "Settings". Turn off Speaker and Mic. Then click the green "Save" button. :)


      This is awesome. Thanks a lot for posting. I'm currently teaching myself sign language.


      That's SO cool! By the way thanks for posting!


      I'd upvote this but can't risk going over my quota ;)


      hehe. Do we know what the upper limit is on that yet?


      All of us use some form of non-speaking language. When you wave hello or goodbye, they know what that means. When someone smiles the people around them know what that means. I feel like those gestures really give a better understanding of how the person is feeling. Which is why getting your message across can be really hard over the internet.


      "Gesture" and "language" fall under different (though at times overlapping) categories of study. Someone I know who used to moderate here studied it in university and I think he may have written a book or some articles about it. :)

      I agree though. Gesture can help guide tone/intention. It is one reason why emoji have become such an important part of internet communication. In a way, at least in my mind, they are the gestures of the internet. They could also be thought of as the body language of the internet. :)

      One language that has gesture almost essentially integrated into it is Italian. Quite a while ago I posted a discussion about it. ^_^


      Well, I guess I got the wrong word. It's really a form of communication, not language. Like you know what it means when a cat hisses but it's still not a language.

      Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.