ASL-English Interpretation Bachelor of science degree

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Overview

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


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 bachelor of science (BS) 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.

Industries


  • K-12 Education

  • Non-Profit

  • Other Education

  • Higher Education

  • Government (Local, State, Federal)

  • Health Care

  • Other Industries

Typical Job Titles

Sign Language Interpreter

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Curriculum

ASL-English Interpretation, BS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
INTP-125
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 based on American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL) standards. 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 (U.S.). To progress to the next course in the series (INTP-126 American Sign Language III), ASL-English Interpretation students must complete this course with a minimum grade of C or better.
4
INTP-126
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 based on American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL) standards. 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 (U.S.). To progress to the next course in the series (INTP-225 ASL IV) ASL-English Interpretation students must complete this course with a minimum grade of C.
4
YOPS-10
RIT 365: RIT Connections
0
 
LAS Elective
3
 
LAS Perspective 1 (ethical)
3
 
LAS Perspective 2 (artistic)
3
 
LAS Perspective 3 (global)
3
 
LAS Perspective 4 (social)
3
 
LAS Perspective 7A (mathematical)
3
 
LAS Perspective 7B (mathematical)
3
 
First Year Writing (WI)
3
 
Wellness Education*
0
Second Year
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. To progress to INTP-220, Discourse Analysis, students must complete this course with a minimum grade of C.
3
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. To progress to INTP-310 Interpreting I, students must complete this course with a grade of C or better.
3
INTP-220
Discourse Analysis
This course presents an introductory look at the interpreter as a bicultural/bilingual mediator, at the center of communicative activity. The interpreter's success requires the analysis of how communication (spoken, written, signed) is structured so that it is socially appropriate and linguistically accurate. This course includes an introduction to significant linguistic features and the analysis of conversational exchanges in English and ASL, focusing on the practical application of analyzing discourse.
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 based on American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL) standards. 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 (U.S.). To progress to the next course in the series (INTP-215, INTP-220, and INTP-226) ASL-English Interpretation students must complete this course with a minimum grade of C.
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 based on American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL) standards. 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 (U.S.). To progress to the next courses in the series (INTP-325 American Sign Language VI, and INTP-310 Interpreting I), ASL-English Interpretation students must complete this course with a minimum grade of C or better.
3
MLAS-351
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. Instruction is in ASL (an interpreter will not be provided).
3
 
Deaf Cultural Studies Elective†
3
 
LAS Elective
3
 
LAS Perspective 5‡ (natural science inquiry)
4
 
LAS Perspective 6 (scientific principles)
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. To progress to INTP-335 Interpreting II: English to ASL and INTP-336 Interpreting II: ASL to English, students must complete this course with a minimum grade of C.
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, as well as other ethical content material. This content includes the four core principles of service professions and addressing 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 will also address the distinction between normative and descriptive ethics, and their impact on interpreter’s 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. To progress to INTP-350 Practicum and Seminar I, students must complete this course with a minimum grade of C.
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 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 based on American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL) standards. 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 (U.S.). To progress to the next courses in the series (INTP-326 American Sign Language VII, INTP-335 Interpreting II English to ASL, and INTP-336 Interpreting II ASL to English), ASL-English Interpretation students must complete this course with a minimum grade of C or better.
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 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 based on American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL) standards. 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 (U.S.). To progress to the next courses in the series (INTP-435 Interpreting III: English to ASL, and INTP-436 Interpreting III: ASL to English), ASL-English Interpretation students must complete this course with a minimum grade of C or better.
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 are exposed to self-employment business practices within the interpreting field. Students will continue to develop text analysis skills applying them to translating and simultaneous interpreting. Biomechanics and self-care issues will continue to be discussed. To progress to INTP-435 Interpreting III: English to ASL and INTP 350 Practicum & Seminar I, students must complete this course with a minimum grade of C.
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, finance, and technology 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. To progress to INTP-436 Interpreting III: ASL to English and INTP-350 Practicum & Seminar I, students must complete this course with a minimum grade of C.
3
 
Professional Elective
3
 
LAS Immersion 1
3
 
LAS Elective
3
 
Free Elective
3
 
Wellness Education*
0
Fourth Year
INTP-350
Practicum and Seminar I
The students experience a practicum placement under the immediate supervision of a professional interpreter, who functions as the students’ mentor, and the seminar instructor who functions as the students’ supervising instructor. The practicum will involve such activities as: observing the mentor and a variety of other interpreters at work; preparing videos for mentor critique; interpreting under the supervision of the mentor; and meeting weekly with the mentor to discuss the practicum experience. Additionally, practicum students will meet together, weekly, to share observations and experiences gained from the practicum placement. Class discussions focus on language issues in interpretation, application of the Code of Professional Conduct, reflective practice/supervision applying the constructs of demand control schema, and business practices. Over the course of Practicum I & II, students are required to do a minimum of 5 hours of observation in the VRS setting, as well as 5 hours of observations in 3 out of 4 of the following settings: K-12, Post-Secondary, Community, & Medical settings. Course requires completing a minimum of 150 hours during practicum. Students must complete this course with a minimum grade of C.
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, interpreting analysis skills, develop team interpreting skills and increase stamina. To progress to INTP-440 Interpreting IV: Adapting to Diverse Consumers and INTP-450 Practicum and Seminar II, students must complete this course with a minimum grade of C.
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, interpretation analysis skills, develop team interpreting skills and increase stamina. To progress to INTP-440 Interpreting IV: Adapting to Diverse Consumers and INTP-450 Practicum & Seminar II, students must complete this course with a minimum grade of C.
3
INTP-440
Interpreting IV: Adapting to Diverse Consumers
This course addresses the significant language variation within the Deaf community and its impact on the interpreting process. This course provides students the opportunity to use different methods of meaning transfer in authentic live interpreting contexts and in other course activities. Topics include language variation within the deaf community, transliteration, interpreting for DeafBlind consumers, and working with Deaf interpreters. Students will learn strategies to adapt to the language/interpreting needs and preferences of various consumers. These skills will be achieved through both situated and service learning.
3
INTP-450
Practicum and Seminar II
The students experience a second practicum placement under the immediate supervision of a professional interpreter, who functions as the students’ mentor, and the seminar instructor who functions as the students’ supervising instructor. The practicum includes activities, such as: observing the mentor and a variety of other interpreters at work; preparing videos for mentor critique; interpreting under the supervision of the mentor; and meeting weekly with the mentor to discuss the practicum experience. Additionally, practicum students will meet together, weekly, to share observations and experiences gained from the practicum placement. Class discussions focus on language issues in interpretation, application of the Code of Professional Conduct, reflective practice/supervision applying the constructs of demand control schema, and business practices. During Practicum I & II, students are required to do a minimum of 5 hours of observation in the VRS setting, as well as 5 hours of observations in 3 out of 4 of the following settings: K-12, Post-Secondary, Community, & Medical settings. Course requires a minimum of 150 hours. Students must complete this course with a minimum grade of C.
3
INTP-460
Issues in Interpreting (WI)
This course offers students an opportunity to integrate content areas in the curriculum through the examination and discussion of issues in the field of interpreting. While the course content and focus will vary depending on current issues and student interest, it will direct attention toward an important issue facing the interpreting profession and will provide an advanced experience of problem solving and value clarification. Students will develop and demonstrate their ability to define a research topic, gather and evaluate scholarly evidence, and present their findings in a paper and presentation.
3
 
Free Elective
3
 
Professional Elective
3
 
LAS Immersion 2 (artistic)
3
 
LAS Immersion 3 (global)
3
Total Semester Credit Hours
123

Please see General Education Curriculum-Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) for more information.

(WI) 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 and financial aid