ASL-English Interpretation Bachelor of Science Degree

Seamlessly facilitate communication and interaction between deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing people in educational, medical, and community settings.


100%

Outcome Rate of RIT Graduates


Overview

The ASL-English interpretation major prepares sign language interpreters for work in settings where deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing people interact and communicate. This degree allows students to develop foundation skills for general interpreting, with opportunities to explore specialized fields such as those in educational and medical settings, and/or community interpreting.

The program is accredited through the Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education and is one of only 16 accredited bachelor’s degree interpreting programs in the United States.

The bachelor of science degree program in American Sign Language (ASL)–English interpretation provides specialized preparation for you to develop interpreting skills as well as practical experience and course work. The program is designed to provide graduates with a solid foundation on which to develop the skills needed to pass the National Interpreter Certification exam offered through the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf or the Educational Interpreting Performance Assessment.

Interpreting students enjoy small class sizes and one-on-one discussions and advisement with knowledgeable faculty. By keeping classes small, our instructors are able to focus on you, building your strengths and developing your skills. Faculty and staff members work with you on all aspects of interpreting. As an interpreting student, you will have practicum experiences which provide the opportunity to work with a professional interpreter acting as a mentor in a college, school, or in the community. These practicums give you real-world experiences as an interpreter. There is no better place to prepare for a career in sign language interpreting than at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID).

To succeed in this program, students must be able to understand a speaker who is behind them; understand a speaker who is far away; focus on what a speaker is saying in a noisy room; and understand recorded voices through headphones. To see a list of the major skills and abilities needed to study sign language interpreting, see “Is Interpreting the Career for Me".

Why should you pursue your interpreting degree at RIT/NTID?

  • More than 1,100 Deaf and hard-of-hearing students live, study and socialize on the RIT campus with more than 8,000 hearing students, providing interpreting students like you with excellent opportunities to interact with students and enhance your language and interpreting skills as well as your experience with Deaf culture.
  • The faculty of NTID’s Department of American Sign Language and Interpreting Education are nationally respected interpreter educators. All of our American Sign Language classes are taught by Deaf faculty members who are certified by the American Sign Language Teachers Association, and all of our interpreting instructors are certified as sign language interpreters by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf and are active in the Conference of Interpreter Trainers.
  • Our labs are state-of-the-art facilities with a wealth of interpreting and sign language materials.
  • RIT/NTID receives special federal support for students in the interpreting program, you pay less than one-half of RIT’s regular tuition rate.
  • You have access to more than 100 interpreters on campus and more than 300 off campus in the Rochester community.
  • Rochester has one of the largest concentrations of Deaf and hard-of-hearing residents in the United States. As an interpreting student at RIT/NTID, there are many opportunities for you to interact with Deaf and hard-of-hearing people, including numerous Deaf student clubs and sports, the Rochester Recreation Club for the Deaf, Deaf theater and much more. Deaf culture programs also are held throughout the year on campus and at various venues in the community.
  • Rochester is home to a local chapter of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, which offers many skill development workshops.

Accelerated 4+1 MBA

An accelerated 4+1 MBA option is available to students enrolled in any of RIT’s undergraduate programs. RIT’s Combined Accelerated Pathways can help you prepare for your future faster by enabling you to earn both a bachelor’s and an MBA in as little as five years of study.

Industries


  • K-12 Education

  • Non-Profit

  • Other Education

  • Higher Education

  • Government (Local, State, Federal)

  • Health Care

  • Other Industries

Careers and Salary Info

Typical Job Titles

Sign Language Interpreter

Salary and Career Information for ASL-English Interpretation BS

Curriculum for ASL-English Interpretation BS

ASL-English Interpretation, BS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
INTP-125
General Education – Elective: American Sign Language II
In this course, students will develop ASL receptive and expressive skills needed to converse about familiar topics using series of discrete sentences. At the end of the semester, students will achieve effective communication by using vocabulary, grammar, and cultural protocols at a Novice-High level as defined by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Activities include delivering monologues and lab exercises that provide extensive hands-on practice using a variety of media. Students are expected to engage with members of the Deaf community in order to learn about Deaf co-culture in the United States. (Prerequisites: MLAS-201 or equivalent course with a minimum grade of C and undergraduate standing in ASLINT-BS.) Lec/Lab 5 (Fall).
4
INTP-126
General Education – Elective: American Sign Language III
In this course, students will develop ASL receptive and expressive skills needed to communicate discrete paragraphs composed of connected sentences. At the end of semester, students will achieve effective communication by using vocabulary, grammar, and cultural protocols for conveying details about familiar topics at an Intermediate-Low level as defined by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Activities include delivering presentations and lab exercises that provide extensive hands-on practice using a variety of media. Students are expected to engage with members of the Deaf community in order to learn about Deaf co-culture in the United States. (Prerequisites: INTP-125 with a C or better or equivalent course and undergraduate standing in ASLINT-BS.) Lec/Lab 5 (Spring).
4
INTP-210
Introduction to the Field of Interpreting
This survey course provides an introduction to the profession of sign language interpreting. Course content includes an overview of the history of the profession and professional organizations, interpreter role metaphors, the philosophy of practice within the field, and various work settings and protocols. Additionally, demand control schema is introduced as a critical analysis framework to uphold the values which serve the Deaf community and the linguistic and cultural values established in the field. (This course is restricted to ASLINT-BS Major students.) Lecture 3 (Fall).
3
YOPS-10
RIT 365: RIT Connections
RIT 365 students participate in experiential learning opportunities designed to launch them into their career at RIT, support them in making multiple and varied connections across the university, and immerse them in processes of competency development. Students will plan for and reflect on their first-year experiences, receive feedback, and develop a personal plan for future action in order to develop foundational self-awareness and recognize broad-based professional competencies. Lecture 1 (Fall, Spring).
0
 
General Education – Elective
3
 
General Education – Ethical Perspective
3
 
General Education – Global Perspective
3
 
General Education – Social Perspective
3
 
General Education – Mathematical Perspective A
3
 
General Education – Mathematical Perspective B
3
 
General Education – First-Year Writing (WI)
3
Second Year
INTP-215
Processing Skills Development
The act of interpretation is a complex cognitive challenge. Isolating and mastering specific subtasks of the interpreting process is critical for the synthesis of these subskills in the process of translation and interpretation. This course is an introduction to the cognitive processing skills necessary for translation, consecutive interpretation, and simultaneous interpretation. The course includes an overview of theoretical models of translation and interpretation, the development of basic processing subskills that provide a foundation for translation and interpretation, and practice activities for the integration of these tasks in an 8-step discourse analysis process for translation and consecutive interpreting. Course content includes interpreting and translation theory, message analysis, visualization, shadowing, paraphrasing, dual task training, and text analysis. (Prerequisites: INTP-225 or equivalent course with a minimum grade of C and undergraduate standing in ASLINT-BS.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
3
INTP-225
American Sign Language IV
In this course, students will develop ASL receptive and expressive skills needed to communicate discrete paragraphs using complex connected sentences. At the end of the semester, students will achieve effective communication by using vocabulary, grammar, and cultural protocols for conveying details about less familiar topics at an Intermediate-Mid level as defined by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Activities include delivering presentations and lab exercises that provide extensive hands-on practice using a variety of media. Students are expected to engage with members of the Deaf community in order to learn about Deaf co-culture in the United States. (Prerequisites: INTP-126 or equivalent course with a minimum grade of C and undergraduate standing in ASLINT-BS.) Lec/Lab 4 (Fall).
3
INTP-226
American Sign Language V
In this course, students will develop ASL receptive and expressive skills needed to communicate series of connected paragraphs using complex connected sentences. At the end of the semester, students will achieve effective communication by using vocabulary, grammar, and cultural protocols for conveying details about less familiar topics at an Intermediate-High level as defined by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Activities include delivering presentations and lab exercises that provide extensive hands-on practice using a variety of media. Students are expected to engage with members of the Deaf community in order to learn about Deaf co-culture in the United States. (Prerequisites: INTP-225 or equivalent course with a minimum grade of C and undergraduate standing in ASLINT-BS.) Lec/Lab 4 (Spring).
3
MLAS-351
General Education – Elective: Linguistics of American Sign Language
Students in this course will be introduced to the study of American Sign Language in terms of its linguistic structure and use. In particular, students will learn to analyze the basic features of ASL phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics/discourse In addition, research related to variation in ASL and acquisition of ASL will also be reviewed. Please note fluency in ASL is required for this course, as instruction is in ASL (an interpreter will not be provided). Seminar 3 (Fall, Spring).
3
 
General Education – Elective: Deaf Cultural Studies Elective †
3
 
General Education – Elective
3
 
General Education – Artistic Perspective
3
 
General Education – Natural Science Inquiry Perspective ‡
4
 
General Education – Scientific Principles Perspective
3
 
Open Elective
3
Third Year
INTP-310
Interpreting I
This course introduces the English-to-ASL and ASL-to-English interpreting process with a focus on text analysis and consecutive production of an equivalent target language message. Compression and expansion strategies are introduced. Students develop interpreting management strategies and diagnostic assessment skills. Students interpret monologic and dialogic inquiry and narrative text formats while learning the interpretation process. Students also learn and integrate the features of biomechanics for interpreters to practice safe work habits. (Prerequisites: INTP-215 and INTP-226 or equivalent courses with a minimum grade of C.) Lecture 3 (Fall).
3
INTP-315
Practical and Ethical Applications
This course presents the underlying principles of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf Code of Professional Conduct and other ethical content material, including the four core principles of service professions and how these principles apply to practice settings. This course exposes students to actual interpreting jobs and practitioners, providing students an opportunity to explore how professional interpreters weigh and balance these principles in their daily work and how Deaf and hearing consumers perceive interpreters’ decision-making skills. The course also addresses the distinction between normative and descriptive ethics and their impact on interpreters’ decision-making. Students will have the opportunity to explore reflective practice techniques as a means to develop ethical judgment skills, to gain critical insight into the task of self-regulation, and as a technique to engage in self-care. The ethical constructs of demand control schema will be used as the framework for decision making. Etiquette and protocols specific to each setting will be discussed. Settings include: K-12, post-secondary, religious, healthcare, mental health, DeafBlind, performing arts, legal, VRS, VRI, and business and industry. (Prerequisites: INTP-210 or equivalent course and undergraduate standing in ASLINT-BS.) Lab 2, Lecture 2 (Fall).
3
INTP-325
American Sign Language VI
In this course, students will develop ASL skills needed to create narratives composed of an introduction, main points, supporting points, transitions, and a closing. At the end of the semester, students will achieve effective communication by using vocabulary, grammar, translation skills, and cultural protocols for conveying details about unfamiliar topics at an Advanced-Low level as defined by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Activities include delivering presentations, storytelling, and lab exercises that provide extensive hands-on practice using a variety of media. Students are expected to engage with members of the Deaf community in order to learn about Deaf co-culture in the United States. (Prerequisites: INTP-226 or equivalent course with a minimum grade of C or better and undergraduate standing in ASLINT-BS.) Lec/Lab 4 (Fall).
3
INTP-326
American Sign Language VII
In this course, students will develop ASL skills needed to create complex narratives composed of an introduction, main points, supporting points, transitions, and a closing. At the end of the semester, students will achieve effective communication by using grammar, translation skills, and cultural protocols for conveying details about abstract concepts at an Advanced-Mid level as defined by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Activities include delivering presentations, storytelling, and lab exercises that provide extensive hands-on practice using a variety of media. Students are expected to engage with members of the Deaf community in order to learn about Deaf co-culture in the United States. (Prerequisites: INTP-325 or equivalent course with a minimum grade of C and undergraduate standing in ASLINT-BS.) Lec/Lab 4 (Spring).
3
INTP-335
Interpreting II: English to ASL
Students will develop the ability to produce an equivalent simultaneous ASL message from an English source message. This course integrates inquiry and expository texts in both dialogic and monologic formats. Specific discipline areas include interpreting in healthcare, employment, and finance settings. Within those discipline areas, students will have the opportunity to interpret in authentic environments with both Deaf and hearing consumers. Students will continue to develop text analysis skills, applying them to translating and simultaneous interpreting. Students are exposed to self-employment business practices within the interpreting field. Biomechanics and self-care issues will continue to be discussed. (Prerequisites: INTP-310 and INTP-325 or equivalent course with a minimum grade of C and undergraduate standing in ASLINT-BS.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
3
INTP-336
Interpreting II: ASL to English
Students will develop the ability to produce an equivalent simultaneous English message from an ASL source message. This course integrates inquiry and expository texts in both dialogic and monologic formats. Specific discipline areas include interpreting in healthcare, employment, and finance settings. Within those discipline areas, students will have the opportunity to experience interpreting in authentic environments with both Deaf and hearing consumers. Students will continue to develop text analysis skills, applying them to translating and simultaneous interpreting. Additionally, students will develop the ability to apply the principles of diagnostic feedback. (Prerequisites: INTP-310 and INTP-325 or equivalent course with a minimum grade of C and undergraduate standing in ASLINT-BS.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
3
 
General Education – Immersion 1
3
 
General Education – Elective
3
 
Open Elective
6
Fourth Year
INTP-350
Practicum and Seminar I
This course combines an introductory practicum experience in the field of ASL-English interpretation with a seminar component to allow senior-level students to engage in reflective practice as they transition into the interpreting profession. Students will undertake field experiences that provide them with firsthand knowledge and familiarity with current topics that impact professional sign language interpreters and the Deaf community. Practicum will also give students the opportunity to gain firsthand experience under the immediate supervision of a professional interpreter, who functions as each student’s mentor. The practicum experience will involve activities such as observing a mentor and other interpreters at work; interpreting under the supervision of a mentor; and weekly meetings with a mentor to discuss the practicum experience and to receive professional feedback. Building upon students’ practicum experiences, students will use the constructs of Demand Control Schema to guide their seminar discussions. Students will meet together weekly with their classmates to share observations and experiences gained from the practicum placement. Seminar topics derived from students' field experience will focus on language issues in interpretation, ethical decision making, application of the Code of Professional Conduct, making interpretation choices, and implementing successful business practices as a professional interpreter. Students must complete a minimum of 100 hours of field experience and related activities. (Prerequisites: INTP-315 and INTP-335 and INTP-336 or equivalent courses with a minimum grade of C.) Seminar 2 (Fall, Spring).
3
INTP-435
Interpreting III: English to ASL
In this course, students will advance their skills in simultaneously producing equivalent ASL messages from English source texts. Monologic expository texts on specific topic areas will be the focus of this course. A significant portion of the interpretation work in this course will take place utilizing speakers and audience members in authentic environments. Students will learn to manage the physical setting (logistics) and to select and use appropriate technology when applicable. Students will continue to develop their English and ASL vocabulary and interpreting analysis skills; in addition, they will develop team interpreting skills and increase stamina. (Prerequisites: INTP-335 and INTP-326 or equivalent course with a minimum grade of C and undergraduate standing in ASLINT-BS.) Lecture 3 (Fall).
3
INTP-436
Interpreting III: ASL to English
In this course students will advance their skills in simultaneously interpreting from ASL to English. Monologues and expository texts on specific topic areas will be the focus of this course. A significant portion of the interpretation work in this course will take place utilizing speakers and audience members in authentic environments. Students will learn to manage the physical setting (logistics) and to select and use appropriate technology when applicable. Students will continue to hone their English and ASL vocabulary and interpretation analysis skills; in addition, they will develop team interpreting skills and increase stamina. (Prerequisites: INTP-336 and INTP-326 or equivalent course with a minimum grade of C and undergraduate standing in ASLINT-BS.) Lecture 3 (Fall).
3
INTP-455
Practicum II
This course continues the practicum experience for senior-level ASL-English interpretation students that was initiated in the Practicum & Seminar I course. Students will continue to undertake field experiences that provide them with firsthand knowledge and familiarity with current topics and issues that impact professional sign language interpreters and the Deaf community. Students will benefit by gaining firsthand experience, supervision, and feedback from mentors. Students must complete a minimum of 205 hours of field experience and related activities. (Prerequisites: INTP-350 and INTP-435 and INTP-436 or equivalent courses with a minimum grade of C. This course is restricted to students with at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA. Co-requisite: INTP-456 or equivalent course.) Seminar (Fall, Spring).
4
INTP-456
Seminar II
This course is a culminating seminar experience in which students will engage in reflective practice as they transition into the interpreting profession. Building upon students’ practicum experiences, this course provides an opportunity to discuss current topics and issues that impact professional sign language interpreters and the Deaf community. Using the constructs of Demand Control Schema to guide discussions, students will meet together weekly to share observations and experiences gained from the practicum placement. Class topics derived from students' field experience will focus on language issues in interpretation, ethical decision making, application of the Code of Professional Conduct, making interpretation choices, and implementing successful business practices as a professional interpreter. Students will maintain an electronic portfolio showcasing their knowledge and skills learned from the interpreting program. (Prerequisites: INTP-350 and INTP-435 and INTP-436 or equivalent courses with a minimum grade of C. This course is restricted to students with at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA. Co-requisite: INTP-455 or equivalent course.) Seminar 2 (Fall, Spring).
2
INTP-460
Issues in Interpreting (WI-PR)
This capstone course offers students an opportunity to integrate content areas in the program curriculum and investigate current issues and controversies in the field of interpreting. The course content and activities will vary depending on current issues, literature developments, and students’ interests, but students will be given guiding research tools through research development with a critical approach to interpreting-related issues. (Prerequisites: INTP-335 and INTP-336 or equivalent courses.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
3
 
Open Elective
3
 
Professional Elective
3
 
General Education – Immersion 2 
3
 
General Education – Immersion 3
3
Total Semester Credit Hours
123

Please see General Education Curriculum (GE) for more information.

(WI-PR) refers to writing intensive course within the major.

Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information. Students completing bachelor's degrees are required to complete two different Wellness courses.

† Deaf Cultural Studies courses include: American Sign Language Literature (MLAS-352), Deaf Art & Cinema (FNRT-440), Deaf Culture in America (SOCI-240), American Deaf History (HIST-230), Deaf People in Global Perspective (HIST-231), Deafness and Technology (HIST-330), Diversity in the Deaf Community (HIST-333), Oppression in the Lives of Deaf People (HIST-334), Women and the Deaf Community (HIST-335).

‡ Students will satisfy this requirement by taking a 4-credit hour lab science course. Students may select one of the lab science courses listed below to fulfill this requirement. Both the lecture and the laboratory sections must be taken. Human Biology I (MEDG-101) and Human Biology Lab I (MEDG-103), Human Biology II (MEDG-102) and Human Biology Lab II (MEDG-104), Field Biology (BIOG-110), General Biology I (BIOL-101) and General Biology Lab I (BIOL-103), General Biology II (BIOL-102) and General Biology Lab II (BIOL-104), Introductory Biology I (BIOL-121), Introductory Biology II (BIOL-122), General-Organic-Biochemistry I (CHMG-111), College Physics I (PHYS-111), College Physics II (PHYS-112).

Admission Requirements

Freshman Admission

For all bachelor’s degree programs, a strong performance in a college preparatory program is expected. Generally, this includes 4 years of English, 3-4 years of mathematics, 2-3 years of science, and 3 years of social studies and/or history.

Specific math and science requirements and other recommendations

  • 4 years of English (minimum B average)
  • 3 years of math and science required
  • 2 years of a foreign language recommended
  • Must demonstrate beginning ASL competency equivalent to ASL I

For those applicants who have had college experience, college transcripts should document a GPA of 3.0 or better, with evidence of very good performance in English courses. A writing sample will be judged on vocabulary, grammar, structure, style, and creativity.

Transfer Admission

Transfer course recommendations without associate degree

Transfer requirements vary by program

Appropriate associate degree programs for transfer

Transfer requirements vary by program.

Please note: In addition to RIT’s general admissions procedures, the ASL-English interpretation major requires applicants to complete additional admission materials from the NTID Admissions Office.

Learn about admissions, cost, and financial aid 

Accreditation

The BS degree in ASL-English Interpretation is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education.

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