In the absence of adequate statistical studies, the exact number of people living, deaf or hard of hearing is unknown. Best estimates vary widely, with numbers ranging from 22 million to 36 million people.

What is certain is that hearing loss and thus translators are in constant need for much of our national community and provide sign language interpretation services. They are often employed by local school districts, colleges, and other educational institutions, hospitals, vocational centers, and government agencies.

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Translators must not only convey the language, but also the culture. Words and phrases are often shaped by one's culture and direct translation of the phrases is not always possible. The process is made more difficult by the fact that translators often deal with complex concepts and ideas.

In this way, they must be culturally aware and able to think quickly to find accurate and equivalent translations of culture-specific phrases and words. In addition, translators working in a specialist field should be able to learn and translate technical terms specific to this specialist area.

Sign language translators have the added challenge of not only having to translate between two different languages but also between two different language modes: spoken language and sign language, while most language translators only deal with one mode. 

Sign language translators must use hand gestures and facial expressions to convey certain sounds, emotions, and meanings to people who are deaf that should be conveyed through the tone of voice, volume, and intonation of the speaker.