What are the steps to becoming a Sign Language Interpreter?

What are the steps to becoming a Sign Language Interpreter? Topic: What are the steps to becoming a Sign Language Interpreter?
June 26, 2019 / By Amaryllis
Question: I am very interested in ASL and the Deaf community so I would like to pursue a career in that area, but I have no idea where to start! I would like to know what College courses are needed, and how I get a license to be qualified. I have heard that I need a BA in English which makes sense, but I still would like some step-by-step help. And I would prefer to work with deaf children, so I do not know if that would change my classes needed. Thank you SO MUCH!!!
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Best Answers: What are the steps to becoming a Sign Language Interpreter?

Wallis Wallis | 9 days ago
What Nick said is true-- IF you want to be a Terp. (Terping can be VERY grueling. I don't know how anyone does it. I never could. Thank you, thank you, all Terps!) But that does not really sound like what you are looking for. BA in English? That's a new one. I have never heard of that requirement before. What most people earn, failing a Terp license, in my experience, is an AA or a BA in Deaf Education. If you want to work with Deaf children, you don't have to be a licensed Terp. (At least not right now. That is always subject to change, of course. [Many of the terping regulations are slated to become more stringent soon-- 2011 or 2012.]) People who teach Deaf children are teachers. People in the medical field are Doctours, Nurse Practitioners, Audiologists, Speech Therapists, and so forth. In fact, I have never heard of a licensed Terp teaching children. Not to say that they can't. It's just that teaching and terping are generally two different career paths. I know one lady who is a teacher, who just got her Terp license, but she does not terp in the classroom. She freelances. I have MANY friends who work at grammar schools with Deaf programmes. They are not licensed Terps. They are Special Ed teachers and/or Aides who happen to Sign pretty well. They do not use ASL in the classroom, anyway. They use Signed English-- to teach English to Deaf children. I know as I have visited them at work and helped out. I know several ladies who are "educational Terps". They tell me that they only Signing certificates-- not licenses. (They have to re-test and re-certify regularly and keep-up their skills.) I know at least two who have told me that they no college degrees at all. They are restricted to terping in primary classrooms. These are all older people. I don't know if any of them are "grandfathered in". Everything can vary by state-- or even by city. Always keep that in mind. You said that you are interested in ASL and the Deaf Community, but I don't know if you have had any exposure. (You did capitalize Deaf, so that shows that you have had some experience.) Do you know what ASL really is? (It is not English! ASL has its own grammar and structure. We do not simply trade Signs for English words. We are not Signing exactly what English speakers are saying.) And not all signing is ASL. Do you Sign already? (You did not say.) Before you set-about to learn a language, which takes a LOT of work and commitment, and many years to master, before you make any commitments to a career, I would check-out the Deaf language and culture a bit to see if you even like them. (And to see if you have a natural proclivity for mastering ASL. [Some people learn languages fairly easily; some do not.]) ASL, and terping in particular, are not easy disciplines. Bear in mind that Deaf children are not always easy to work with! They can be exhausting. Are you sure that you want to spend your days with them? Working with Deafs isn't right for everyone. Go try it out and see. Call local mainstream grammar schools, and ask about Deaf programmes for children. Get permission to go and visit the classroom. Spend several full days in different classrooms. Discuss the hiring req's with department heads and the various school boards. Maybe you could start as a volunteer right away whereby you could begin to get a lay of the land. Some schools are desperate for help. Volunteering is a great way to get your foot in the door, test the waters, start to find-out what the language and culture are about, and network. In so doing, you would meet people who can give you informed guidance. Call community colleges and universities. Check their programmes and requirements on-line. Be sure to check Gallaudet and CSUN. Even if you do not go there, they can give you a lot of good information. http://aaweb.gallaudet.edu/About.xml http://www.csun.edu/ Check the RID website. http://rid.org/ Read lots of TEXT books on the subject-- especially, "So you Want to be an Interpreter", by Humphrey. (Bear in mind that many "sign" books are not reliable sources of information. Make sure that you are reading about ASL, a proper language, by people who are credentialed to talk about it.) If you want to know about any field, talk to people who are in that field and people who teach in that field. They are the experts. See if you can find a Terp who will let you shadow him/her. You might be able to start to find some Deafs and Terps in your area through schools, churches, clubs, and/or deafcoffee. Then ask around, and meet more people. Some people will be ready and able to guide you. Google Deaf events in your area. ASL + "your city" will bring better results than will "Sign Language". (Insiders say ASL.) http://deafcoffee.com/
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Wallis Originally Answered: Which language should I take in high school-Spanish or American Sign Language?
That's a toughy! Both languages have beauty all their own, I think, which makes it hard to decide. I've studied ASL in college, and loved it, though I didn't get very far into it before I had to leave school. I'm working on Spanish now, and not very good with it, but it's something I'm determined to do, and actually enjoy learning, despite my frustrations. Spanish would be more common, and especially beneficial if you are considering a career within the business or education realm...but ASL would be more benefit to you if you plan to go to college for special education or hearing and speech pathology/sciences. Just remember, many companies and organizations find you to be more of an asset for each language you know, so if you can find a way to at least gain conversational skills in as many as you can, you are better off. Remember that, whichever you choose, you can continue into college while learning the other, or you can drop the one and start with the other. I know you can't do that in your high school, but college is more flexible about this. One thing I found out is that, if you choose Spanish for four years, it will fulfill your language requirements at most colleges. So, if you are considering taking just the high school level and dropping in college, your requirement would be fulfilled. On the other hand, two years of ASL would be less likely to fulfill the requirement if taken at a high school level. I found this out after being told that any foreign language study of 2 or more years would fulfill the requirement, so I took 3 years of French. Well, my senior year rolled around, they said the 3 years only fulfilled half the requirement, and demanded that I take Spanish at an intermediate level because another year of French wouldn't fulfill the language requirement. After speaking to other colleges, I found out that this was true of many of them (an ASL was not deemed part of the required language fulfillment at all, but I believe many schools are changing this standard and now count it). I can't tell you what to do, but rather what I would do, and that would be to start with Spanish in high school...work on learning ASL in your spare time (I think ASL has been easier to learn on my own than Spanish is), if you choose to...and then in college, take both. That way, you already have a "leg up" in ASL and Spanish. :) Whatever you decide, I wish you luck!

Rudolph Rudolph
Then you and I are in the same boat! First things first: learn ASL if you haven't done so already. Get good at it. Really good. Hang out at your local Deaf Club, and meet people. If your local community college has an Intro to ASL course, take it. Do some volunteer work and get into the community. Getting into Interpreter Training Programs (ITP's) is really competitive. There is usually some sort of screening process involving interviews in both English and ASL. As a result, you have to be comfortable in both languages. Not only that, but there is usually the inevitable question, "Why do you want to be an interpreter?" Make sure you're clear on that. Read anything by Harlan Lane or Carol Padden & Tom Humphries. ITP's are 2 or 3 years long at a minimum and are very rigorous. You'll take classes in Ethics, Professionalism, Linguistics, and Business, at a bare minimum. The standards are high. Once you graduate, you'll need to join your local chapter of RID or AVLIC and maintain good standing for as long as you want to interpret. Interpreters are required to continually upgrade their skills. Working with kids in any capacity is always awesome. Check out your local Deaf Club or Deaf Association - there may be volunteer opportunities available to work with local Deaf youth. Good luck!
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Mortimer Mortimer
Hi! I would agree that the first step would be to learn the language! Socialize and get involved! To be an interpreter you really have to have a good grasp on both ASL and English. Interpreters also have to have a good grasp on all the variations of ASL/Signed English/Contact Signing that you will come across! My first suggestion would be to contact the local chapter of RID (Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf). Easiest way to find them would be a google search with the largest city near you and RID (or spell it out). They would be able to help you decipher local laws governing interpreters. For example, here in IL most interpreters are required to be licensed in the state. Educational (K-12) Interpreters are not. However, they are required to take another test and pass with a specific level (EIPA test). In other states ALL interpreters must be licensed, in some states there are NO licensing requirements and no use of the EIPA. RID is a national organization for interpreters that also offers certification. Currently, to take the certification tests a minimum requirement of an Associate's Degree is required. In a few years that will change to a Bachelor's Degree. The degree doesn't have to be in English, or Deaf Ed. It could be in basketweaving if you wanted! ;) RID certification is not a requirement, but again in many states it is a valuable thing to have. In other states, they feel their state's test is more important. If you find a 4-year degree in Interpreting, that seems to make the most sense to me. For a pretty good list of programs offering Interpreter Training Programs, go to RID's page www.rid.org On the main page on the left a little way down is a menu. There should be a link there. Again, your local chapter would be a good resource because they would be able to give you an idea of interpreting in your area (geographical) as well as your area (interest)! Hope that helps!
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Kelcey Kelcey
While the only poster is most likely right approximately the RID specifications, the moment aspect in their reply is just a little off to me. Depending on what state you are living in, you must investigate your state's specifications to paintings as an interpreter. Some states have specifications, others do not. For instance, in IL we now have a license that's situated on credentials. To be credentialed you do NOT want certification via RID. So, in case you go a state abilities scan with particular skillability stages you most likely can paintings. Also, I presently keep each the CI and CT from RID (below the prior checking out procedure). I can paintings in authorized, clinical, industry, schools, BUT I CANNOT paintings in academic settings ok-12! I do not have the right scan below my belt. (EIPA) So, you have got to seem at your state and notice what's going to qualify you to paintings. After all that's stated and performed...move to a university, study the language, then move via an interpreter coaching application (ITP). If there's a application close you that presents a BA in Interpreting, GO FOR IT! If now not, seem for an ITP that presents an Associate's. If that is now not to be had seem for an ITP delivering a certificates and take categories for for you Associate's whilst. Good success!
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Kelcey Originally Answered: Sign Language Among Great Apes?
Science can be involved. You have to be careful that you are not assuming the apes understand something and are not simply copying gestures as has been argued. For me the evidence points to the apes being able to learn some language. It is important to use double blind studies to inject more science into it otherwise any conclusions are pretty subjective IMO.

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