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Interpreting in legal settings has become a specialized area of practice that requires specific training and ongoing professional development. This study examined the training and professional development needs of ASL–English interpreters in North America. The 1,995 participants in an online survey included interpreters who provide services in legal settings and those who do not. The data suggest that interpreters desire certificate programs that are delivered in multiple formats, including face-to-face intensive experiences, online distance learning, and regional and local mentoring experiences. The training content areas participants wanted most include specialized interactions; legal discourse across a range of settings including police, domestic violence, depositions, and jury trials; interpreting techniques when working in deaf/hearing teams, using consecutive interpreting and error identification and correction; and ethics and decision making. All of the data analyzed offer insight into how best to design learning events that are meaningful for interpreters who want to work with legal discourse and interactions in a variety of settings, including courtrooms. Recommendations for educational institutions, professional organizations, and individual practitioners follow from the data.


Originally published in the International Journal of Interpreter Education Vol. 4(2), November 2012