Interpreter - American Sign Language Job at Mayor's Office of Talent and Appointments (MOTA), Washington DC

  • Mayor's Office of Talent and Appointments (MOTA)
  • Washington DC

Job Description

Interpreter - American Sign Language

Open: May 1, 2024

Close: Open Until Filled

Grade:  ES6 ($83,289.45)


This position description is located in the Mayor's Office of Deaf, Deafblind, and Hard of Hearing. The position is responsible for performing simultaneous interpretation from the spoken word to signed language for deaf individuals, predominately in  American Sign Language (ASL),  and from the signed language to the spoken word for hearing persons. The incumbent interprets with equal facility in both languages.


Assesses the language needs and style of the deaf person.

Serves as a sign language interpreter in a wide range of settings between deaf/hard of hearing persons and hearing persons who are not familiar with manual communication.  Performs interpretations (predominately American Sign Language (ASL), simultaneously from the spoken word to signed language for the deaf individual and from the signed language to the spoken word for the hearing person.  May provide  Contact Sign/Pidgin Signed English (PSE), Professional PSE, sign-supported speech reading, conceptually accurate Manually Coded English, Tactile (Hand-over-Hand, Tracking, and/or Tactile Fingerspelling), or International Signing, if proficient.

Provide written communication for employees and/or clients who are deaf, deaf-blind, and hard of hearing who do not know sign language and/or have developmental issues in addition to being deaf.

Receives and places telephone calls utilizing a specialized telephonic device (TTY) for deaf/hard of hearing persons.  Interprets as necessary for voice telephone calls placed by deaf/hard of hearing persons.

Provide services such as interpreting, note-taking, and reading at loud services.

Serve as a source in the area of deaf culture and assist management in the identification of barriers and to resolve difficult cultural, linguistic, and communicative problems between deaf/hard of hearing persons and hearing persons in the workplace. 

Assist in conducting ongoing in-house Sign Language (ASL) instruction for employees. Implements instruction and evaluates the instruction’s effectiveness. 

May translate to a language other than English and interpret, as necessary, if proficient.

Performs other duties as assigned.


Knowledge of English and Sign Language to make a determination regarding the most effective means of communicating with each deaf and hard of hearing individual and to interpret material expressively and receptively in a variety of settings including individual, small groups, and platform environments.  

Working knowledge of consecutive and simultaneous interpretation including the ability to keep pace with normal conversation, to interpret nuances, voice inflections, idiosyncrasies, and mannerisms of participants in order to accurately convey the message.

General knowledge of the products and services that support the communications needs of deaf people. 

Ability to interpret voice to sign, sign to voice, oral transliteration, and deaf interpretation.  Ability to work with minimal language skilled clients who may also and/or have developmental issues.

National Interpreter Certification (NIC) from the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) is desired.  

Knowledge of Contact Sign/Pidgin Signed English (PSE)/Professional PSE, sign-supported speech reading, conceptually accurate Manually Coded English, Tactile (Hand-over-Hand, Tracking, and/or Tactile Fingerspelling), or International Signing in addition to ASL  is desired but not required.

Ability to work with minimal language skilled clients who may also have developmental issues.


Work is performed under the administrative supervision of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator and/or the Chief of Staff. Incumbent receives little technical supervision and exercises independent initiative in handling logistical and administrative preparations, requesting advanced information from principals. Incumbent may be contacted directly and is responsible for planning, determining, and implementing appropriate methods, and coordinating work with appropriate contacts as necessary. Employee informs the supervisor of progress and any potentially controversial matters. 

The interpretation work requires a high degree of dependability and attention to detail due to its lack of review by others; completed work is usually reviewed only to verify that it has met the requirements indicated by the user.  Interpretation is the final product and is considered technically authoritative.


Guidelines include the Code of Ethics for Interpreters as well as Federal and District regulations regarding supporting/providing services to persons with disabilities. The incumbent normally receives information from the office requesting interpretation, including the purpose of the interpretation, the subject involved, and the intended audience. In some situations, interpreters are not told in advance what is to be discussed nor given a copy of the text. 

Interpreters use judgment in quickly deciding on the appropriate phrase; in intervening if they feel that the speakers do not understand each other, in asking their own question if it will help to elicit needed information, or in toning down a statement that was not intended to be rude. The incumbent keeps information strictly confidential and refrains from offering personal opinions while interpreting. 


The interpretation work requires listening to a statement in one language, while simultaneously rendering what has been said into another language conveying the appropriate nuance, tone, and emphasis of the speaker. The work requires keen, active listening skills, and concentration to overcome any cultural barriers in language and linguistic variances in communication.  As the subject matter expert, the interpreter must solve conceptual problems without recourse to references in fractions of a second in simultaneous interpreting without stopping or interrupting the speaker. Subject matter ranges from routine, non-technical information, or instructions to difficult technical and/or medical material.


The purpose of the work is to facilitate essential communication between deaf/hard of hearing persons and hearing persons, and to interpret information requiring the treatment of conventional language problems by using established practices and principles of language specialists. The interpretation affects the social, physical, and economic well-being of persons and enhances the services provided by the Agency.


Personal contacts are throughout the District Government; employees, clients, visitors, as well as employees of private and public agencies and are not established on a routine basis.


The purpose of contacts is to provide interpreting services to deaf/hard of hearing individuals.


Interpreting is both physically and mentally demanding.  It often requires long periods of concentration and it requires a high degree of manual dexterity due to the physical nature of the work.  Additionally, the incumbent may be required to stand for long periods of time while interpreting. This is above average in terms of physical demands for positions in office settings. 


Work is typically performed in an office setting: an individual office, meeting room, conference room, press conferences, or auditorium.  Some of these environments may include continual background noise from equipment and machinery or audio systems.


This position is designated as “Emergency” pursuant to Chapter 12 of D.C. personnel regulations, Hours of Works, Legal Holidays, and Leave.

Job Tags

Holiday work, Full time,

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