American Sign Language

Frequently Asked Questions

ASL/EIP Frequently Asked Questions

ASL/English Interpreting Program

Q: I am interested in the ASL/English Interpreting program. Where can I get more information?
A: We will be happy to meet with you.  Any questions not answered on the website should be referred to the Director at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Q: I don’t know ASL, but I want to be an interpreter, where should I be enrolled?
A: IUPUI’s program in ASL/EI does not include any language classes. However, IUPUI does offer six levels of ASL instruction taught by native users of the language. These courses are classes only, independent experiences with the Deaf community will be necessary for you to succeed as an interpreter.

Vincennes University offers a two year AA degree in ASL Studies. Their campus is housed on the campus with the Deaf School and will offer you full emersion into the language. IUPUI and VU have an 2+2 arrangment. This means, students can attend VU to earn an AA degree in ASL Studies, then transfer over to IUPUI to complete a BS degree in ASL/English Interpreting.  At VU, while completing several courses required for a Liberal Arts degree, students also develop language proficiency and take classes in Deaf culture and ASL grammar and linguistics…all of which transfer to IUPUI.  For more information on VU’s program, call 317-923-2305 or email the Director, Ann Reifel, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

 

Q: I was told if I didn’t know ASL and wanted to become an interpreter, I would have to take classes at Vincennes University.  I’m confused.  Doesn’t IUPUI offer all the classes I need?
A: Students wishing to earn a BS degree or Certificate at IUPUI have two choices:

IUPUI now offers all the classes a student needs to complete either the BS degree or the Certificate in ASL/English Interpreting.  Students are no longer required to attend VU prior to being admitted to IUPUI’s program.  The ASL/English Interpreting Program at IUPUI is also set up jointly with the Vincennes University ASL Studies Program in a 2+2 arrangement.  This means, students can attend VU to earn an AA degree in ASL Studies, then transfer over to IUPUI to complete a BS degree in ASL/English Interpreting.  At VU, while completing several courses required for a Liberal Arts degree, students also develop language proficiency and take classes in Deaf culture and ASL grammar and linguistics…all of which transfer to IUPUI.  For more information on VU’s program, call 317-923-2305 or email the Director, Ann Reifel, at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Q: I am thinking of transferring to IUPUI from another university where I have taken some ASL and interpreting classes.  Do I need to start over, or can I receive credit for the work I have already done?
A: You should arrange to meet with the Director to discuss your goals and have your skills and background assessed.  A placement evaluation will be used to determine your language proficiency.  Be prepared to provide the Director with a DVD of your signing skills and examples of interpreting.  Transfer students with little background in ASL will be encouraged to enroll in ASL classes at IUPUI or VU.

Q: ASL is my first language and/or I use ASL regularly with family members or friends.  Do I need to take ASL classes, or can I proceed directly to interpreting classes?
A: A placement evaluation will help to determine the appropriate classes for you.  Even students who are fairly fluent in ASL may find that studying the language formally gives them an awareness and understanding of differences and similarities between ASL and English that helps them to become better interpreters. Contact the Director to get more information.

Q: Is the coursework in the program enough to prepare me to be an interpreter?
A: Our mission is to prepare students to become entry-level, community interpreters with analytical skills, a breadth of knowledge and the ability to assess and synthesize diverse and complex aspects of human language behavior in contemporary society. Your coursework will provide you with basic interpreting skills.  In addition, it is important for you to find ways to use ASL in natural settings.  The more you interact with members of the Deaf community, the sooner you will be able to develop the level of competency needed to be a skilled interpreter.  Use of ASL solely in the classroom is unlikely to result in the fluency you will need, so we encourage students to use their language skills in additional contexts.

Q:  If I complete a degree in ASL/English Interpreting, will I be certified to interpret?
A:  Certification at the national level requires an exam administered by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.  Most students are able to pass the written portion of this exam before graduating.  The performance and interview portions of the exam usually require additional experience in the field.  The amount of time will vary from individual to individual.

Q: I have RID certification in interpreting and have been interpreting for a long time. I would like to pursue a bachelor degree in ASL/English interpreting.  Does IUPUI have something to meet my needs?               
A:  If you are interested in a full degree please contact the department to discuss your specific situation. Some students have decided to complete their degree in General Studies or some other major, taking interpreting classes as electives. We also offer an interpreting certificate for those who have already completed a baccalaureate degree in any field.

Q: Can I minor in ASL/EI at IUPUI?
A: No.  The Interpreting Program does not have a minor in place at this time, however, we are exploring the possibility.

Q: Do you offer an M.A. in ASL/EI?
A: At this time we do not offer a master’s degree program at IUPUI in interpreting.  The classes we offer are at the undergraduate level.

Q:  Is it possible to take interpreting classes in the summer?
A: We offer two interpreting classes during the summer session: ASL I409 Topics in Interpreting is offered during Summer 1 and Performing Arts Interpreting is offered during Summer 2.

Q:  Is it possible to take interpreting classes in the summer?
A: We offer two interpreting classes during the summer session: ASL I409 Topics in Interpreting is offered during Summer 1 and Performing Arts Interpreting is offered during Summer 2.
Generally, there are no interpreting courses offered in the summer. However, from time to time, we might offer specialized courses such as ASL I409 Topics in Interpreting with a concentration in a specialized area such as Performing Arts Interpreting, Medical Interpreting, etc. 

Certificate in Interpreting Program

Q: What is the difference between RID certification and the Interpreting Certificate at IUPUI?
A: IUPUI’s Interpreting Certificate is comprised of the 35 core credit hours needed to complete the major portion of ASL/EI baccalaureate degree. The certificate is offered for those who are not interested in the degree but would like to work on their interpreting skills. RID certification however is offered through the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. IUPUI’s aim is to prepare student to sit for their national certification. If you would like more info about RID certification you can access it here: http://www.rid.org/education/testing/index.cfm 

Q: I already have a bachelor’s degree, but it is not in ASL.  Am I eligible for the certificate program?           
A:  The certificate program is for students who already posses a bachelor’s degree in any field. If you already have your B.A. you can earn your certificate by completing our core interpreting classes at IUPUI.  Students without adequate background in linguistics, grammar or Deaf culture will need to take related classes prior to graduating.

Q: How long will it take to complete the certificate program if I am a part time student?
A: The courses are offered in a two-year cycle.  If you are accepted into the Certificate Program, you should be able to complete the requirements in two years.

American Sign Language Classes

Q: I am interested in taking ASL classes.  Does IUPUI offer them?
A: Yes, we currently offer six classes in ASL:

  •   ASL A131, Beginning Intensive ASL I (4 credits);
  • ASL A132, Beginning Intensive ASL II (4 credits);
  • ASL A211 Second Year ASL I (3 credits);
  • ASL A212 Second Year ASL II (3 credits);
  • ASL A311 Third Year ASL I (3 credits);
  • ASL A312 Third Year ASL II (3 credits).
  • ASL A215 Advanced Fingerspelling and Numbering Systems (3 credits)

Q: Do I need to know basic sign language before I can register for ASL A131?
A: No.  You do not need to know any sign language to register for ASL A131.

Q: I know basic ASL.  Can I test out of ASL A131?
A: You can be given a placement evaluation in order to determine the class that will be best for you.  Contact the Coordinator of ASL classes for more information.

Q: Can ASL be used to fulfill the foreign language requirement at IUPUI?
A: Yes.