Sign Language Interpreters, also known as Sign to Spoken Language Interpreters, are professionals who work between two languages and cultures. The working languages of MAPSLI interpreters are American Sign Language (ASL), English, and a local and endangered language called Maritime Sign Language (MSL) that is used within Atlantic Canada.

The interpreter works with participants to facilitate communication and is one aspect to creating accessible spaces for those who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Interpreters work in a variety of settings such as schools, universities & colleges, churches, public events, weddings, funerals, etc. At any life event, there is always the possibility that an interpreter may be there working.

If you are interested in learning ASL or becoming an interpreter, Nova Scotia Community College, Ivany Campus, offers courses to help you do so. Click here to find out more.


If you are working with an interpreter for the first time, here is some information to familiarize yourself with:

Interpreting services are one aspect of accessibility and inclusion.

Interpreters are not participants in the conversation and may interrupt to clarify information.

Be sure to look at the individual whom you are directing your conversation to, rather than the interpreter.

It is helpful to work with the interpreter and other participants on seating arrangements, position of the interpreter, etc. Please ensure the audio levels are loud enough to be heard adequately and sightlines are unobstructed.

There will be situations, and discussion topics, that are unfamiliar to the interpreter. It is okay to ask for clarification of an interpretation, if something is unclear let the interpreters know.

Preparation materials support the interpreter’s ability to understand the context and content of the event. If you have any materials that could be provided to the interpreter beforehand, for example a PowerPoint presentation before a lecture, this should be provided in advance. If you are uncertain about what to provide, just ask.