NTID/RIT Lands $983k To Study Interpreting




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Characteristics of sign language interpreters that foster academic success, and how to eliminate communication and technical barriers are the subjects of innovative research that has landed the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology (NTID/RIT) $983,000 in federal funds.

The National Science Foundation awarded NTID/RIT $883,883 to study barriers to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education among deaf and hard-of-hearing students. Last year, NSF awarded NTID/RIT $780,000 to examine factors thought to influence deaf students' learning through sign language, and explore alternate technologies for communicating STEM information in the classroom, to offset a shortage of qualified interpreters. Both are Research on Learning and Education (ROLE) grants.

In addition, the National Institutes of Health recently awarded NTID Professor Marc Marschark, a coveted $100,000 Shannon Award from its National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. This study will explore the cognitive and linguistic changes in people who train to become sign language interpreters.

Employing more than 100 full-time interpreters on campus, NTID is the historical leader in American Sign Language (ASL) and interpreting. Since establishing the world's first interpreter education program in 1969, NTID continually addresses the nation's need for more qualified interpreters: NTID/RIT has developed a bachelor's program, produced a series of educational interpreting videotapes; developed a one-of-a-kind ASL Dictionary and Inflection Guide on CD to assist student interpreters and other ASL students; developed C-Print Pro, a speech to text software used in schools nationwide; develops and hosts interpreter training sessions locally and regionally; and provides yearly, intensive ASL summer classes to the country's educators.

“With the growth of interpreter education programs, and the nationwide shortage of sign language interpreters, the needs are greater than ever to make most effective and efficient use of this precious resource," said Marschark, who is leading the efforts with all three projects.

For more information: www.ntid.rit.edu/interpretingresearch.

The first and largest technological college in the world for deaf and hard-of-hearing students, NTID, one of eight colleges within RIT, offers educational programs and access and support services to the 1,100 students from around the world who study, live and socialize with 14,000 hearing students on RIT’s Rochester, N.Y., campus.

Web address: www.rit.edu/NTID.