Here’s a list of 25 places you can source new clients right now. Let me know where else you’d consider this week in the comments!
I know you’re picturing stage, have you ever pictured rehearsals or community acting workshops? There are plenty of ways to work in a theatre without having to dress up on a Saturday night.
Fast Food Joints
Every time I go to Taco Bell I ask if they’ve hired any Deaf people. Our clients work all jobs, why not do their management meetings from time to time? Typically these are quick, inconsistent gigs but often easy to squeeze into a full planner.
Your local government
You don’t have to dream of the Supreme Court to work in government. You can with with your local state representative for meetings with constituents or interpret for their town halls. You could also interpret for campaigns just by dropping off your card.
Go to a service. Meet the interpreters if they have any and see about getting into their rotation when they need a sub. I will caution though, religious stuff is something you really should never toy with unless you have a background in it or intend to study diligently. Also don’t interpret as a form of worship. It’s disrespectful and tacky. Messing with someone’s afterlife? Spooky.
Local Sports Leagues
Deaf people play sports and often don’t get the same access on the playing field. By offering them a discounted fee or maybe just beer after the game… you’ll meet a ton of new young people with corporate jobs you’ve never met before. Whether they need an interpreter in their office now or at some point in the future, they’ll think of you first because you can hang.
Manufacturing Companies & Warehouses
Walking into a large manufacturing facility with your one sheet might seem daunting but think of how often you hear about high turn over in industries like manufacturing. Higher turnover means more hiring, more likely to hire someone in need of your services. Plus, when you can get in with a manufacturing company you can expand to servicing their partners as well. Some of the coolest and easiest contracts I’ve ever managed have been in manufacturing plants.
Community services like libraries are often hubs for homeschool groups, childcare, resource provision and education. Can you think of anyone more fun to hang out with then a group of kids and a librarian who loves hosting movie night? Storytelling with dressed up characters and I get to interpret? Score. My favorite library gigs have always been just before brunch for some fun side cash.
It’s my firm belief that you need to have a love of shelter work and some nice qualifications to accept this work but if that’s you, reach out. You could be doing even more fulfilling work with an agency you genuinely care about in your community.
I love these, especially the foreign ones. Not only can you watch the movies (most of the time) but then you can interpret talk backs, panels & interviews with the creators. Plus, you’ll score extra points with a date when they see your festival pass, so cultured.
Labor unions love working with freelancers who are trying to get out from underneath the man. They often love fighting the system and raging against the machine. They also love saving money, total win-win.
It’s my dream to coordinate for and interpret a strike. If you ever need a referral, I beg you – please call me first.
When pottery classes become available to the community the expectation of having someone require an interpreter is often not there. However, just because someone doesn’t expect it doesn’t mean they’re not willing to support the need and collaborate to provide a better experience to a local artist. Artists tend to be super collaborative and flexible as well which is great if this will be one of your first contracts. You can walk into any art studio or local school and offer to voice for someone with clay on their hands. You, as your own sales department, can totally do that.
“… but whatshername has them all!!!!!”
No, you just think that for some reason. Festivals are always looking for more support and chances are they’re interested in pushing Deaf performers to center stage with the recent boom in interpreters going viral.
One of my first jobs ever was to provide services at a local arts festival. At the time, my agency rate was $32/hr but with the arts festival, it was $75/hr, still cheaper than the agency and I got to hire all my friends to hang out and listen to bluegrass. Totally worth it.
Blood Donation Sites
These places don’t just call you incessantly, they also call Deaf schools and make visits to Deaf clubs. It would probably be worth your time to see when their next event is and introduce yourself.
Those Places Where People with DUI’s Take Classes?
I honestly don’t even know what they’re called but I’ve worked with them a lot. These types of spots and corporate training centers, love us.
Ask any interpreter with a couple years of experience and they’ll tell you the story of how they almost got shocked to death at electrician school. If HVAC is a passion of yours, reach out to the offices. The class hours are usually quite lengthy and require a team, it’s a great place to visually play.
While the legal process of buying a house might not be something you’re ready to interpret, this can be an excellent place for you to grow with a mentor. Drop your card with some local realtors just in case they need someone for the showings when working with prospective clients. Interpreting for the intricacies of buying a house is so challenging and a really cool experience if you’re working with a mentor.
Most small tour guides won’t have any money nor be required to provide an interpreter. It is an amazing place to network and meet new people. Plus, you get to see some incredible tours and check them out before you commit to a date night there.
19 Big brothers/big sisters
Big Brothers / Big Sisters
Personally I don’t enjoy k-12 work but often in larger organizations like this, you’re hired on as a project interpreter. Sometimes you’re helping translate videos, sometimes you’re interpreting their quarterly numbers meeting. Big Brothers / Big Sisters, UnitedWay etc… all do much more than most of us assume.
You might even learn how to perm.
These are great especially for emergency services, though much of the work can be heart breaking.
Interpreting for personal training sessions is absolute chaos and honestly, when are you ever going to be able to scream in a clients face with sign again?
Local Medical Associations
Harper Valley Chiropractors Association? United Homeopathic Healers? Uhh? Yes please.
These associations often have to work with larger body conferences as well giving you even more networking opportunities. Working their meetings can start to warm you up to the medical system and etiquette.
Conferences often just go with the first company that felt right for the area even if the conference is visiting. That group of interpreters could be coordinated by you. Church conferences love interpreters, they’re trying to expand their reach as comfortably as possible!
Accountants & Tax Services
The amount of times I’ve worked an H&R Block type set up is bonkers. Often they’re through agencies but most are just looking for the best deals on a limited budget. They’re absolutely worth reaching out to.
Drivers Education Schools
These are so fun and sometimes nauseating but at the end, you get to see some wild teenager get their license! In my experience, most of the educators have done this for decades and remember the interpreters. They love to work with people they know and are comfortable with upping your chances for a call back!