5 Must Have Apps for Sign Language Interpreters

Happy Sign Language Interpreter Using Apps To Enhance Her ProductivityFew sign language interpreters live without a smartphone or tablet. It’s probably hard for most of us to remember what life was like before we had the ability to manage the intersection of our work and personal lives with the swipe of a finger.

With the bazillions of apps out there, which ones are particularly useful for sign language interpreters? Below are 5 apps that may help you reclaim some of your sanity and be more productive in the process.

1. Leave Now

Tired of being “that interpreter?” Wish you knew exactly when to leave in order change your tardy ways? Wish no more. Leave Now will send an alert, which calculates for traffic delays, to your iOS device telling you exactly when to leave to be on time.

In the event you are going to be late, a single tap will send messages alerting people and giving them an ETA.

Cost: Free
Available for: iOS
Info: http://leavenowapp.com

2. Google Maps

Find yourself regularly doing the repeat 20mph drive-by only to discover you are on wrong Washington St? Well, no more drives of shame for you. Google Maps gives you the classic transit directions, Street View, and most impressively voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation.

Google Maps will also give you nearby places to grab a bite.

Cost: Free
Available for: iOS and Android
Info: http://www.google.com/mobile/iphone/ 

3.  Evernote

Sheepish about busting out that spiral notebook crammed with old agendas, receipts and coupons in order to capture job details or dialogue with a team interpreter? You know who you are! Evernote allows you to easily capture everything from personal musings to critical billing information.

You can quickly browse, edit and search on the information captured and it conveniently syncs across all of your iOs devices.

Cost: Free
Available for: iOs and Android (and more)
Info: http://evernote.com/evernote/ 

 4.  Expensify

Brandon Arthur

Brandon Arthur

Every superhero has their kryptonite. Do your powers of analyzing form, meaning and context go weak with the very thought of organizing and tracking expenses? Have no fear. Expensify makes it easy to record expenses and mileage as they occur, upload receipts by snapping a quick picture of them, and even track travel time. 

Expensify generates reports with the tap of your finger and integrates with QuickBooks to make invoicing a breeze.

Cost: Free (basic version)
Available for: iOS and Android (and more)
Info: http://help.expensify.com/mobile

5. Bump

An oldie, but a goodie! Go ahead and get your virtual man hug on by exchanging information with a colleague by “bumping” your phone with theirs. Bump allows you to exchange your contact info, calendar events, social media profiles and more simply and easily.

This will save you time and the additional bloat of your spiral notebook.

Cost: Free
Available for: iOS and Android
Info: http://bu.mp/company/ 

Productivity is Key

As sign language interpreters, we have a keen sense that time is our most valuable asset. I am hopeful that you will find these apps helpful in adding time back to your life.

After all, in a world that is increasingly busy, anything that takes our mind off of the logistics of the job and helps us focus on the work at hand is a good thing, no?

What apps have made a difference managing your work?


* Interested in receiving StreetLeverage posts in your inbox?

Simply enter your name and email in the field above the green “Sign Me Up!” button (upper right-hand side of site) and click “Sign Me Up!”



Tags: , , , ,

About the Author

Brandon is a nationally certified sign language interpreter and passionate industry entrepreneur. He has worked on both the practicing and business sides of the industry for the past 15 years. His father is deaf and his mother is a sign language interpreter. He is a devoted father and husband and enjoys the sport of triathlon.

33 Enlightened Replies

Trackback  •  Comments RSS

  1. Justin says:

    The best app I have currently is: TimeMaster, the best invoicing app I have found! Currently on iOS and I’m not sure about Android.

  2. Bree says:

    I use Toggl for my business. It’s user-friendly and is available on both iOS and Android. https://www.toggl.com/public/tour#mobile

  3. Rae says:

    Yes!!! I’ve gotten to the point of telling terps that they’re flat going to miss out if they don’t have a smartphone, let alone apps like these.

    Really, these are good. As far as google maps go, it’s great but a data and battery killer for your phone. Better, to me, to keep a separate device in the car.

    • I agree, Rae. Google Maps can be a bit of a battery drain. Might be worth the investment to get a battery charger for the car rather than cart around another device?

      You make a valid point regarding those resistant to adopting a device that keeps them connected in realtime. Opportunities will certainly pass them by.

  4. Kevin says:

    I love BUMP but that requires OTHERS to have it downloaded and set up. If you have an extra thick cover for your device it will prevent the information from transfering. I take picture of a business card and type in the information when I get home. It also saves on trees a little.

    • Kevin,

      Thanks for pointing out some of the challenges with Bump. True, this app is at its best when those you come in contact with have it downloaded and set up. :)

      You know, there are apps that will capture the image of a business card, read it and add it to your contacts. I would look into CardMunch by LinkedIn (its free). Might be worth a look.

      Thanks for joining the discussion.

  5. Sharon King says:

    I can’t live without google calendar. Syncs my devices and also links with google map. I can download or input all pertinent job data to access quickly and also see where I have availability in my freelance schedule. Free

    • Thanks for joining the discussion, Sharon.

      Any challenges with Google Calendar that you care to share?

      • Andrea says:

        I love Google Calendar. I love that I can now send invites directly from my Android, which was NOT something I could do on my iPhone. I don’t believe they’ve fixed that yet, so I will happily stick with my Google Calendar. I also like that you can now attach files to Google Calendar invites. Makes sending job details to fellows terps super easy!

  6. Adam bartley says:

    A couple that I find indispinsable are

    zipmanager (for those pesky zip files)

    Print central (if you don’t have AirPrint comparable printer)

    Dropbox for file sharing

    And Sign N Send to be able to write on documents and then export them as a PDF. (This works great for filling out forms, signing contracts, writing prep questions on a PowerPoint etc. )

    • Adam,

      Thanks for sharing. I have heard of zipmanager and of course Dropbox. However, I haven’t heard of Print Central nor Sign N Send. I’ll have to look at them in greater depth (just peeked a few minutes ago).

      Maybe a more interesting question for you, Adam. Which app would you be embarrassed to share that you use? Maybe a guilty pleasure?

      • Delia Mott Merritt says:

        Here is Austin we also love Sign N Send. Many of our medical offices require a signature and account number. Our interpreters will simply take a pic of the patient label cut and past it into the tsheet template then have the clinic sign with their finger right on the devise!

        We also like mileage tracker – app. So much easier than writing a log in your car.
        Thanks Brandon for a great read.
        Communication by Hand

  7. Dan Parvaz says:

    Google maps has definitely replaced the map books I’d buy for every city I worked in. I do like to keep it in map mode, though… I don’t want my navigation skills to go away. Plus, if I’m not activating the GPS every couple of seconds, it saves battery juice.

    • Dan,

      So funny that you mention map books. Tara and I have given up our map books too! The big question is if you can contain the urge to take the map offered you when renting a car (even though you rarely use it.)

      Map books are like step 6 in recovery and rental car issued maps are like step 9. Where you at, Dan?

      [Admission: I have yet to garner the necessary willpower to refuse maps offered when I travel. Heck, its just a back-up incase my phone and GPS suddenly die, right?]

      As always, thanks for adding color.

  8. My training partner Helen Tagg and I do a blog as part of our UK based training company (Sign Gecko) for qualified sign language interpreters and we’ve just been blogging about this very thing! We too like Evernote, but use iXpenselt for recording expenses. GoodReader is great for opening documents, have a look at Eternity for time recording for translation and training or assessing projects. Have a look at our blog for more info.

  9. David Duarte says:

    In addition to Google Maps, I would add Waze. Crowd sourced traffic/navigation at its best.

  10. Tanisha James says:

    I am downloading some of the ones I don’t currently have, as I type!! great article.. I really wish Leave NOw was on Android as well, but I will be searching to find something similar for sure!

  11. Rebekah Henze says:

    Thank you so much for these apps. I am really excited in looking into several of these….I don’t use google or the maps offered, I have Iphone 5 and I just ask Siri to give me directions to…. and she shows the map and voices the directions turn by turn. I do look everything up on google before I leave, so if anything seems off with Siri (but have never had an issue with it) then I would have an idea where I went wrong. I sync a calendar with my family, so my phone I have a separate calendar on my phone so that client work is totally confidential. One more app. I would like to encourage you to have if you don’t already is ICE standard which is free and can be saved on lock screen…this is your emergency information in case of emergency. The first on the scene can pick up your phone and see who to call, what meds you are on and what medical problems that need to be known….I love it.

  12. Mala says:

    Brandon, I wonder if you or others have ever used Money Due app? When I take the occasional FL job, I invoice for it and then forget that its out there – this app allows you to log it and keep track of who owes you $$. Its free and good to have. If you use an iphone calendar that comes with the device, it will pull from your calendar (appointments) and turn them into “money due” items, but since I use Calengoo, which I LOVE and will never live without, I do not use that feature. Im waiting for the developers of Money Due (Intuit) to allow users to choose the default calendar. Great APP!

  13. Laura says:

    I love Evernote. I can take a picture of myself or someone else signing a new sign. Then use a feature called Skitch which lets me draw on the picture to show which way the sign moves. Awesome!

  14. Laura says:

    One more app I love is Remember the Milk (free for basic)
    I set it up to email me when each authorization and bill is due. It has a recurring event function so I can be emailed at intervals I choose. Works on my PC and Android phone.

  15. Dan Grant says:

    Tanisha, Google already does let you know if you are going to be late. Just put the events into your calendar and the location. Everything issynced and found in your Google now cards. :-)
    I don’t know what I did without it !

  16. Sarah G says:

    Thank you so much for this article. I went through and added several apps after reading through. I am excited to start using them.

  17. Dwight says:

    Another one is toodledo

    It is an organization tool for To Do lists and helps keep me organized and remembering what I need to do.

    It also syncs with your PC so you do not loose data or reminders.

    Very helpful for the busy life an interpreter leads

  18. Caroline says:

    I hate watches and often find myself working in rooms without clocks. I rely on my phone, but constantly waking it up to check the time is sometimes seen as checking for texts. At a recent assigment, my partner had a digital clock app that stays on without draining your battery. I downloaded Digital Clock for android. Love it :)

  19. Terri Hayes says:

    I use Calengoo on the iphone 3gs. I paid for it but I think there is a free version too. It lets me see my weekly work schedule without having to actually open any of the days – so I can assess when I’ve got work and where it is in a quick visual snap. The View is more important to me than the program – but so far – Calengoo is doing a fine job.
    Calengoo also can sync with Goggle calendar (which I do not allow) and Outlook (which much to my frustrations, seems to be the only reliable calendar out there that doesnt require you to spread your work schedule out all over the web.) (Yeah yeah – the web is secure – until the web is not secure anymore.. I prefer to keep my stuff on my own system – with a back up on Dropbox)
    I also use Tripometer (free/purchased) which I purchased. (I like to support those people who are writing the programs that I use regularly) Tripometer is a simple mile tracking program – start miles, end miles and where’d you go… it will then emial you the file. Exactly what I need because I dont like to put too much information all in one program – if it goes pffft – then you’ve lost everything)
    a new one I just got is Paperless. Its a note taking / list making program. For my grocery list and my To Do list – and for making notes of ideas that come or things I learn during the day.
    I also use Pedometer – to keep track of how much/how far (gps) I’m walking during the day…
    and AudioBookCD (free/purchased) – this is a audiobook reader that works better than the one that comes with iphone – and has larger controls – (still not large enough – but larger) so I dont have to squint as much trying to stop it or make it go while I’m driving. Its a book reader – so it remembers where you stopped too (which the default player does sometimes – but often not).
    Instacorder (free) – lets you take audio notes which it then emails to you (so you can take verbal notes while you’re driving instead of trying to type it down… )
    JotNot (free) does the same thing with paper/receipts and such – its a scanner which then emails you the file. (I have a friend who uses this for all her “proof of arrival signatures” for those jobs you have to get a signature to verify you’ve come… she gets the signature, JotNots it into digital format and then doesnt worry about the paper copy any more…)

    I always have an off line Dictionary/Thesarus on my phone too – but while I’m using one (called Dictionary)… its not great… I’m still looking for one I really like.

    and for fun:
    Leafsnap (free) – will let you take pictures of trees and it will identify them to you
    iBirdPlus – for the bird watchers out there
    everytrail (free) shows you the local (or distant) walking trails/routes out there – for those hours between jobs…
    MyFitnessPal – if you keep track of what you eat (calories and nutrients) – this one works pretty good.

  20. Callan Reed says:


    Thanks for all of these awesome recommendations! I’m only a student, but I feel that these apps can help me now.

    I also have some helpful things to add to the list!
    1. I just picked up a rather cheap but effective external battery from Walmart for my phone. I love it! My phone often dies, especially when I use GPS apps, but this little charger has helped me out a lot.
    2. A navigation app called Waze, I use it sometimes when I can’t get google maps to work for me. It’s an easy to use GPS, and the graphics are pretty cute. You can even send friends your route.

    Thank you for your helpful recommendations! I hope mine help someone too :)

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *