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What’s Your Story? Volume #5

Aug 8, 2022 | Interpreter Education

by: Kay-Kay Stephenson, NIC - NIR Coordinator

Often times when I am on an interpreting assignment, the question is posed…. “Why or how did you become an interpreter?”

After speaking with many of my colleagues, this is a common occurrence. I thought it would be interesting and fun to find out why or how interpreters came into this field. I think you will find every story a unique one.

I interviewed many interpreters. Here is a brief glimpse into their lives and how they landed into the field of sign language interpreting.


Here is Lisa’s story


I was working full-time at a fulfillment company as a shift print manager. In the late 1990’s, a Deaf employee was hired. I learned very basic sign language from this employee so that I could communicate somewhat. After some time, I completely fell in love with the language. I decided to go to my local Community College to take classes and learn more. After a few classes, I decided to pursue my Associates Degree in Sign Language Interpreting. Once I became more fluent, in 2005, I took the Certification examination and received the National Certificate in Interpreting, CI. In 2019, I furthered my education and obtained my BA degree in ASL/English interpretation from William Woods University. 

I was working part-time in the community doing various interpreting assignments in a variety of settings through local interpreting agencies. After transitioning to full-time community work, I decided to work directly through a local college doing post-secondary interpreting for college students. I realized educational interpreting was something I really enjoyed. I then decided to work in the public school system where I continued for many years. 

I currently work for Nationwide Interpreter Resource as an interpreter coordinator. Working for NIR has proven to be very rewarding and fulfilling. The NIR team is collaborative, supportive and has a deep camaraderie. 

(888) NIR-9788