5 Must Have Apps for Sign Language Interpreters

January 30, 2013

Harnessing technology to save time, energy, and effort can support sign language interpreters increase productivity and accuracy. Join Brandon Arthur in his exploration of five must-have apps for every sign language interpreter.

Few 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

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?

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43 Comments on "5 Must Have Apps for Sign Language Interpreters"

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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.


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


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 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.

Sharon King

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

Adam bartley

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. )


Hi Adam,

I was browsing on this page (again!) that I had bookmarked years ago when I took a workshop. Thank you for writing about Print Central! Brandon, I totally agree with Adam! I use Print Central, and I absolutely LOVE it! It’s free, and just like Adam said, allows my iPhone to print anything.

I will also have to search for these other ones you mentioned! Thanks so much!



Hi Adam,

I was browsing on this page (again!) that I had bookmarked years ago when I took a workshop. Thank you for writing about Print Central! Brandon, I totally agree with Adam! I use Print Central, and I absolutely LOVE it! It’s free, and just like Adam said, allows my iPhone to print anything.

I will also have to search for these other ones you mentioned! Thanks so much!



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.


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.

David Duarte

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

Tanisha James

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!

Rebekah Henze
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… Read more »
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… Read more »

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!


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.


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 !


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


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


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 🙂

Terri Hayes
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… Read more »
Callan Reed
Brandon, 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… Read more »
As an interpreting student who is obsessed with organization these article is just what i was looking for! I am always trying to find new apps that will help with productivity and organization. One of my biggest concerns with becoming an interpreter is how to plan my time accordingly and the seemingly scary process of billing. Knowing that there are apps like Sign N Send, Print Central, Expensivity, and Leave now a lot of this anxiety is alleviated. Thank you for writing about to make organization a breeze for the iPhone savvy people. I would love to know what other… Read more »

[…] make! In 2013, StreetLeverage featured Leave Now, Google Maps, Evernote, Expensify and Bump as must-have apps. In the years since that post, daily life for even the most tech-averse sign language interpreter […]

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