Jane Bell grew up in a family with deaf parents, Edward and Alice Bell, but, like her four brothers, can hear normally. Even so, she learned sign language practically before she could walk.
Bell, 27, Magna, uses her sign language skill as an interpreter for the deaf at the Utah Center for the Deaf in Bountiful. Her job, she says, is fascinating, exciting and thoroughly rewarding.Since she began interpreting full time for the center last year, she has interpreted for the deaf in doctors' offices, in a hospital operating room while a deaf woman gave birth, in numerous job interviews and job training centers, in jails, courts, lawyers' offices and even at Utah State Prison.
"There is a great future for young people who would like to learn to be interpreters for the deaf," Bell told Deseret News staff writer Bruce Hills. "There are many schools in Utah where American Sign Language and word-for-word transliteration can be learned, and a growing need for interpreters."
Bell has been awarded an associate I interpreter's certificate and recently tested for the associate II certificate. She is now studying for the highest level of certification, the professional certificate. She says she is constantly studying new signs because of new slang words and jargon that continue to enter the English language.
A speedy, accurate interpreter, she can sign as fast as most people can talk.
She said there are about 16 million Americans with hearing impairments and more than 2 million who are profoundly deaf. "There are about 10,000 profoundly deaf people in the Provo to Logan area," she said.