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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a sign language interpreter?

Interpreting happens when two people or two groups of people do not share a common language but need to or want to communicate with each other. In Canada, when Deaf and hearing people interact, most interpreters provide interpretation in spoken English and American Sign Language (ASL). In some francophone or bilingual regions in Canada, interpreters provide interpretation in French and langue des signes québécoise (LSQ). Interpreters are knowledgeable in the sign language and culture of Deaf and hard of hearing persons, and the spoken language and the norms of the (hearing) majority culture.

To learn more about why to hire an CASLI member for an assignment, click here.

What is a Deaf interpreter?

Click here to view CASLI's position paper on Deaf Interpreters in English or ASL.

Other resources:

How do I become an interpreter?

To apply to an Interpreter Education Program (IEP), please contact the program in which you are interested. Each program can provide you with the pre-requisites for admission. Once formal interpreting education is completed, interpreters need to remain abreast of research and trends in the field. Interpreters should participate in professional development events, workshops and conferences annually. Higher education is encouraged and an advantage. Those interested in becoming interpreters should have excellent interpersonal and communication skills, be flexible, non-judgmental, diplomatic, objective and have superior self-discipline. One should also have a drive to be creative, pursue life-long learning, enjoy working in a variety of settings and available to attend frequent professional development.

Membership with CASLI and a local Affiliate Chapter is expected of all working interpreters.

I am a member of CASLI. I will be taking a leave from work and want to know more about reduced membership fees?

The Membership Leave Policy allows Active members who are not earning living as an interpreter due to one of the 5 approved leave reasons listed below to pay only 25% of the CASLI and Affiliate Chapter Active membership fees. Leaves must be at least 6 months in length. During membership leave, members will remain in good standing but with some membership benefits suspended with the Association and its Affiliate Chapter.

Approval for a leave is based on one of the following reasons:

Medical (Illness/Injury): Applies to members requesting exemption based on illness/injury must provide a doctor's note with their request. Members themselves may be unable to work due to their own illness/injury or that of a spouse (partner) or family member.

Upgrading Education: Applies to members who have returned to post-secondary education and are not earning income as an interpreter. Supporting documentation (registration) must be provided by the member. If the member discontinues their studies during the school year, Active membership fees (less any reduced fees already paid) will be paid by the member.

Bereavement: Applies to members who experience the loss of a spouse, partner or family member.  No supporting documentation required 

Parental Leave: Applies to members who are unable to work in order to fulfill childcare obligations. This includes pregnancy (maternity) leave.  No supporting documentation required 

Compassionate Reasons - no supporting documentation required 

Note: Leave requests can be received at any time during the membership year.  To get your leave request started, please fill the Membership Leave application. Membership leave begins from the first day of the month until the end of the month six months or after. We don't do it in the middle of the month to avoid complications with payment.

I have information to share with the members of CASLI, what is the easiest way to do this?

Please contact the CASLI office at to make arrangements for this informaiton to be shared.

What is Occupational Title Protection?

Occupational Title Protection is the restricted use of a job title (name) by a defined group and those who use the protected title must meet specific criteria. Within Canada, Occupational Title Protection is provincially legislated; as such, CASLI is unable to seek Occupational Title Protection on behalf of its members. Instead, each Affiliate Chapter must apply to their respective provincial governments for Title Protection.

On July 7, 2011, Occupational Title Protection was granted to the Westcoast Association of Visual Language Interpreters (WAVLI) through the BC Provincial Government.  The three protected titles, which are reserved for use by WAVLI members only within the province of BC, include:

  • Registered ASL/English Interpreter
  • Registered Sign Language Interpreter
  • Registered Visual Language Interpreter

To see some commonly asked questions and answers related to WAVLI's Occupational Title Protection, visit the WAVLI website to learn more. Other CASLI Affiliate Chapters have begun the process to seek Occupational Title Protection through their provincial governments.  Official updates will be added to this section of the website as they become available.

If you have addtional questions that aren't answered elsewhere on the site, please email

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