Scholarships for Future Sign Language Interpreters

by Cicely A. Richard
Young women practicing sign language.

Careers as sign language interpreters include working for private companies, government agencies, college students, tourist attractions and museums. In order to be an effective interpreter, you need to know about vocabulary and sentence structure just as you would when learning a foreign language. Scholarships for future sign language interpreters help you pay for courses at accredited universities. Organizations providing financial assistance offer professional and educational resources to improve your marketability when starting your career.

Daniel H. Pokorny Memorial Scholarship Award

The Daniel H. Pokorny Memorial Scholarship Award, established by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf Board of Directors, provides money to help future sign language interpreters pay for their certification tests. Eligible candidates must be associate or student members of RID who’ve been active for 12 months before the application deadline. You must submit eight copies of your application and supporting material, including two letters of recommendation, a letter explaining why you need financial assistance, a narrative of 250 words or less detailing your work experience and educational background, a copy of your membership card and a copy of your performance test, if taken. A committee determines who receives the award by a majority vote. The amount of the scholarship varies. Scholarship and Awards Committee Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc. 333 Commerce St. Alexandria, VA 22314 (703) 838-0030 rid.org

American Sign Language Honor Society Scholarship Award

The American Sign Language Honor Society provides nationwide scholarships for selected recipients majoring or minoring in American Sign Language, deaf studies, deaf education or interpreter preparation. Applicants must be attending or planning to attend a college with an active ASLHS chapter, and they must join the ASLHS. One or more $1,250 scholarships will be awarded in each of two categories: category A is open to graduating high school seniors and category B is awarded to current college students. ASLHS recommends that interested students document their community service activities and participate in the annual Deaf Art and/or the Literature competition sponsored by ASLHS. Additionally, essay responses to questions in the scholarship application packet are expected to be proofread carefully. Further information on the scholarship application process and deadlines may be obtained through the organization's website. American Sign Language Honor Society aslhonorsociety.org/

Elizabeth Benson Scholarship Award

RID’s Elizabeth Benson Scholarship Award is opened to associate or student members of the organization who are enrolled in sign language interpretation courses. Scholarship recipients receive at least $500 in financial aid. Qualified applicants must complete at least one semester in an interpretation program before applying for the scholarship, earning a minimum 3.0 in their interpretation coursework. To receive the scholarship and a certificate, you need to provide proof of membership and documents showing that you are enrolled for at least nine hours of classes during the upcoming fall semester. Scholarship submission includes a complete application form, letter stating why you need financial assistance, an official college transcript, a copy of your membership card, three letters of recommendation and a personal reference. You need to make eight copies of this information for committee members to review. Scholarship and Awards Committee Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc. 333 Commerce St. Alexandria, VA 22314 (703) 838-0030 rid.org

About the Author

Based in Tucson, Ariz., Cicely A. Richard has been writing since 1996. Her articles have been published in the “Arizona Daily Star” newspaper and “ForeWord Magazine.” Richard earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and journalism from Louisiana State University. .

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