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Program in American Sign Language / English Interpreting

Screening and Application Process for ASL/English Interpreting

The Screening/Application Process for Fall 2017 admittance into the ASL/English Interpreting Program has begun.  Deadline for submission of application materials is February 24, 2017.  Check out the ASL/EI website for more details on the application materials.  For more information, contact the Director, Janet Acevedo, at 274-4025 or jacevedo@iupui.edu.

Mission Statement:

The Bachelor of Science program in American Sign Language/English Interpreting strives to prepare students to enter the profession of interpreting upon graduation.

Certificate Program

For students who already possess a bachelor’s degree, a certificate program is offered. The certificate program consists of eleven core interpreting courses.

The Program

The program in American Sign Language / English Interpreting is designed to prepare students to become entry-level community interpreters who possess:

  • Analytical skills
  • A wide breadth of knowledge
  • An ability to combine and synthesize the diverse and complex aspects of human language behavior in contemporary society

Interpreting for people who do not speak a common language is a linguistic and social act of communication.  An interpreter relays messages and manages the process of talking back-and-forth for two people who speak different languages.  An interpreter’s role is an engaged one, aimed at an overall understanding of the entire communicative situation, requiring fluency in the languages, the ability to know how meaning is constructed, and skills in managing the cross-cultural flow of talk.

The curriculum sequence is designed to teach interpreting as a face-to-face process that is conversational in nature and prepares students as community interpreters in medical, legal, social welfare, and educational settings.  Completing the BS degree does not mean a graduate is a certified interpreter.  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.

Students who plan to enter this program are expected to have a high level of proficiency in ASL.  In addition, knowledge of the Deaf Community and linguistics is required to benefit from the core classes in the Interpreting major.  All students interested in the program in ASL/EI must submit an application and undergo a screening process in order to be admitted into the major.

American Sign Language Classes

IUPUI currently offers six classes in ASL.  All sections of these classes are taught by native users of the language.  If you are interested in taking ASL because your goal is to become an interpreter, you need to speak with the Director of the program in ASL/EI regarding the classes you should be taking.

In addition, we have a 2 + 2 arrangement with Vincennes University’s American Sign Language Studies Program, located on the campus of the Indiana School for the Deaf in Indianapolis.  At VU, students can take classes in American Sign Language proficiency, linguistics and Deaf culture, in addition to satisfying some of the liberal arts requirements to meet both VU’s AA degree in ASL Studies, and IUPUI’s BS degree in ASL/English Interpreting.  Graduates from VU’s program enter IUPUI’s ASL/EIP with relative ease.


Student Consumer Information About this Program

Course Descriptions

ASL/EI Course Descriptions

ENG Z205 Intro to English Language (3 credits)

Introduction to the English language and to the principles and methods of linguistics, this course is designed to be the first course in English linguistics.  The course examines the phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics of English and discusses a range of applications of these basic in areas such ass first- and second-language acquisition and language education.

ASL A219 History and Culture of the American Deaf Community  (3 credits)

This course is designed for students who have completed ASL 211 or a Sign Language Proficiency Interview Placement since this course will be taught in ASL only.  During the course, students will be introduced to American Deaf culture and components of the American Deaf community including history, norms,  rules of social interactions, values, traditions, and dynamics during the 19th and 20th centuries.  Educational, social, and political factors unique to the Deaf community will be explored, as well as community organizations, impact of technology, and emerging issues/trends.

ASL A221 Linguistics of ASL (3 credits)

Assuming a prior knowledge of the tools and terminology used by linguists to describe languages, this course explores how to apply those tools to discover and analyze the linguistic structure of American Sign Language (phonology, morphology, syntax, and discourse).  This course also provides students with regular opportunities to learn from Deaf, fluent ASL users and better understand how the structure of this language differs from a spoken language like English. 

ASL I250 - Introduction to Interpreting (3 credits)

This course provides an overview of the field of ASL/English interpreting. Emphasis is on exploring a progression of philosophical frames in the development of the profession; exploring models of interpreting process; and identifying requisite responsibilities, skills, and aptitudes for interpreters. (Prerequisite: Director’s permission).

ASL I305 - Text Analysis (3 credits)

This course provides students with an introduction to cognitive processing, theories of translation, and models of interpretation. Students will engage in a variety of lab activities designed to isolate various cognitive processes in order to increase student’s ability to focus, concentrate, and analyze a variety of texts. Components of translation will be discussed and practiced in both English and ASL. Students will learn various models of translation and text analysis in order to prepare them for the upcoming interpreting courses. 
In this lecture/lab course, you will analyze spoken and signed texts for both meaning and form. Through lecture, discussion, and small group work, you will develop the knowledge and competencies to compare and contrast the differences between ASL and English texts.
focus on features of language such as prosody, discourse markers, rhythm, accents, variations, cohesive devices, involvement strategies, and others. (Prerequisite: Director’s permission).

ASL L340 - Interpreting Discourse: ASL to English (3 credits)

This course focuses on the analysis of language use in different genres of spoken English so that interpreting students become explicitly aware of the features of language used in everyday life. Students collect, transcribe, and analyze features of conversations, lectures, explanations, interviews, descriptions, and other types of speech genres while reading and discussing theoretical notions underlying language use in English. Students identify features of cohesion, involvement, discourse markers, coherence, structure, rhythm, prosody and others. (Prerequisite: Director’s permission).

ASL L342 - Interpreting Discourse: English to ASL (3 credits)

This course continues the introduction to discourse analysis, focusing on discourse in American Sign Language (ASL). Topics will include general discourse issues such as approaches to analysis, natural data analysis, technology for research in signed languages, and topics specific to ASL, including transcription in ASL, use of space and spatial mapping, involvement strategies, discourse structures and genres, cohesion and coherence, framing, and interaction strategies. One on-going question throughout the course will be the relevance to interpreting. (Prerequisite: Director’s permission).

ASL I361 - Theory & Process of Interpreting I (3 credits)

This is the first course that begins the professional skills preparation for interpreting. In this course, students begin practicing the language skills necessary to interpret, and are evaluated not only in terms of effort but also in terms of quality. Students begin by analyzing texts for purpose, audience, linguistic features and discourse structure. Students are taught discourse mapping, reproducing texts in the same language, and then preparing translations of texts. Emphasis is on creating interpretations that are accurate in content, socially appropriate, and linguistically appropriate. As students learn to analyze, they also learn how to evaluate adequate interpretations as well as continuing to improve their linguistic abilities in both languages. (Prerequisite: Director’s permission).

ASL I363 - Theory & Process of Interpreting II (3 credits)

This is the second course that prepares students for the analytical skills needed to interpret. In this course, students continue their practice with inter-lingual mapping exercises, working with texts whose meaning they have already mastered towards unfamiliar texts. Again, students are evaluated not only in terms of effort but also in terms of quality. Students continue to analyze texts for purpose, audience, linguistic features and discourse structure. The greatest change is from an unlimited to a limited time for preparation and production of texts. Again, emphasis is on creating interpretations that are accurate in content, socially appropriate, and linguistically appropriate. As students produce consecutive interpretations, they also learn how to evaluate adequate interpretations as well as continuing to improve their linguistic abilities in both languages. (Prerequisite: Director’s permission).

ASL I365 - Theory & Process of Interpreting III (3 credits)

This is the third course to prepare students for the professional skills needed to do interpreting. In this course, students continue their practice with mapping exercises, working with texts whose meaning they have already mastered and working towards unfamiliar texts. Again, students are evaluated not only in terms of effort but also in terms of quality. Students continue to analyze texts for purpose, audience, linguistic features and discourse structure. The greatest change is eliminating the pauses in the source text. Emphasis is on creating simultaneous interpretations that are accurate in content, socially appropriate, and linguistically appropriate. As students produce simultaneous interpretations, they also learn how to evaluate adequate interpretations as well as continuing to improve their linguistic abilities in both languages. (Prerequisite: Director’s permission).

ASL I405 - Practicum (6 credits)

This course is an extensive practicum experience . Students will be placed at sites to experience interpreting during the 15 week course. Students will be required to maintain a journal of their experiences and to meet with onsite practicum supervisors and program faculty regularly throughout the semester.

ASL Degree Requirements

Bachelor of Science Degree Requirements

  • 36 hours of coursework in the major
  • Completion of all general education requirements in the School of Liberal Arts
  • 2.7 cumulative GPA
  • 3.0 GPA in core interpreting courses
  • Residence requirements of the School of Liberal Arts and the Program
  • 120 hours of coursework

Certificate Program Requirements

A Certificate in ASL/English Interpreting is available to students who have already completed a baccalaureate degree in any other field.  Contact the Director for further information.

  • 36 hours of coursework in the major
  • 2.7 cumulative GPA
  • 3.0 in core interpreting courses

Minor Requirements (application & checklist)

  • 15 hours of coursework at the 200 level or above;
  • 6 hours must be at the 300 level above;
  • All coursework must be completed with a minimum grade of C;
  • 6 hours must be completed on IUPUI campus;
  • coursework chosen from the courses below:
    • ASL A215 Advanced Fingerspelling and Numbering Systems in ASL
    • ASL A219 The History and Culture of the American Deaf Community
    • ASL A221 Linguistics of ASL
    • ASL A311 Third Year ASL 1
    • ASL A312 Third Year ASL 2
    • ASL I250 Introduction to Interpreting
    • ASL I303 ASL for Interpreters
    • ASL I305 Text Analysis 

Core Courses that are part of the major include:

  • ASL I250 Introduction to Interpreting (3 credits)
  • ASL A219 History and Culture of the American Deaf Community (3 credits)
  • ASL A221 Linguistics of ASL (3 credits)
  • ENG Z205 Introduction to the English Language (3 credits)
  • ASL I305 Text Analysis (3 credits)
  • ASL L340 Interpreting Discourse:  ASL to English (3 credits)
  • ASL L342 Interpreting Discourse:  English to ASL (3 credits)
  • ASL I361 Theory & Process of Interpreting I (3 credits)
  • ASL I363 Theory & Process of Interpreting II (3 credits)
  • ASL I365 Theory & Process of Interpreting III (3 credits)
  • ASL I405 Practicum (6 credits)

Additional Courses that are available to majors include:

  • ASL I303 ASL for Interpreters (3 credits)
  • ASL I367 Performing Arts Interpreting (3 credits)
  • ASL I370 Interpreting in the Healthcare Setting (3 credits)
  • ASL I409 Topics in Interpreting (3 credits)
  • ASL I425 Independent Study in Interpreting (3 credits)

The ASL interpreting program is split into two categories:

Language:

IUPUI offers six classes of ASL language classes taught by native users of the language.  These courses can be used to fulfill the foreign language portion of your general education requirements.   However, they are not required for the ASL/EI major or certificate.

To be accepted into the program in ASL/EI a proficiency in ASL and English is mandatory.  Many interpreting classes are instructed in ASL only.  It is essential that your language fluency exceeds merely the ability to participate in class.  We expect our students to process and express abstract concepts in ASL without hesitation.

Interpreting:

There are 36 credit hours of interpreting classes for the program in American Sign Language/English Interpreting.  There are three paths through the ASL program.  We hope that one of them suits your needs:

 4 Year B.S. ASL/EI Major ASL Certificate   2+2 with Vincennes  University
 This option starts and ends at the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.  It requires that one complete his/her general education requirements(typically Freshmen/Sophomore year) and be accepted as a resident of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.  In addition to the above requirements the program major includes 36 credit hours of coursework.  The certificate is designed for those who have already completed any 4-year bachelor’s degree.  It is comprised of the same 36 credit hours as the core courses of the major.  The Certificate can be earned in 4 semester (2 years).  This final option is for those who have partially or fully completed the 2-year associates degree for ASL Studies through VU.   After transferring to IUPUI, students, will be required to fulfill their Gen Ed requirements through the School of Liberal Arts as well as the 36 hours required for the major.  NOTE: some of the credit hours mentioned  above will have been completed at VU but this will vary between incoming students.

Frequently Asked Questions

regarding American Sign Language and English Interpreting

 

Q: I have previous experience with American Sign Language.  Who do I contact for placement and can I purchase credits for courses skipped with my placement?

  •  Placement:

If you have previous experience (either formal education from another university or used in daily life) with American Sign Language, please contact the ASL Coordinator, Laura Smith at ls29@iupui.edu

  • Special Credits:

If you place into a course above ASL-A131 (either by placement testing or upon the advice of a Program Director or Coordinator) and complete the course with a final grade of “C” or higher, you may obtain special credits at a low fee (generally around $20 per credit hour) for the ASL courses preceding the course taken at IUPUI. 

  • If you have no previous experience in ASL, you will begin with the ASL-A131 language course.

Q: What courses in ASL are offered at IUPUI?

Q: Does ASL fulfill the foreign language requirement at IUPUI?

  • Yes.

Q: Can I minor in American Sign Language?

Q: Can I minor in ASL/English Interpreting?

  • No.  The Interpreting Program is offered as a full program only.

Q: Do you offer an  M.A. in ASL/EI?

  • Not at this time, all courses are at the undergraduate level.

Q: I don’t know ASL, but I want to be an interpreter, where should I be enrolled?

  • IUPUI’s major in ASL/EI does not include language classes, but you can enroll at IUPUI in ASL language classes offered at six levels of instruction, taught by native users. 
  • 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 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, Dr. Cynthia Sanders at csanders@vinu.edu.

Q: What is the application process for entering the ASL/English Interpreting Certificate program at IUPUI?

  • Student must send a letter of intent to the director of the program, Janet Acevedo jacevedo@iupui.edu.
  • Student must have a GPA of at least 2.7 in overall course work.
  • Student must have a GPA of at least 3.0 overall in all ASL and English courses (This includes all ASL and English courses taken).
  • Students must send a recorded 3-5 minute sample of their ASL skills.
  • If student meets these criteria, an interview will be set up with a panel composed of program staff and community members.

Q: Is the coursework in the program enough to prepare me to be an interpreter?

  • Your coursework in ASL/English Interpreting (300-level and above) will provide you with basic interpreting skills.  In addition, it is important for you to find ways to use ASL in natural settings.  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.  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?

  • 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: What is the Certificate in ASL/English Interpreting?

  • IUPUI’s Interpreting Certificate is comprised of 36 core credit hours. This post-baccalaureate certificate is offered for those who have already earned a bachelor's degree and would like to learn interpreting skills.  Fluency in ASL is a prerequisite.

Q: I already have a bachelor’s degree, but it is not in ASL.  Am I eligible for the certificate program? 

  • The certificate program is for students who already possess 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: What is the difference between RID certification and the Interpreting Certificate at IUPUI?

  • RID certification is offered through the Center for Assessment of Sign Language Interpreters (CASLI), a subsidiary of the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.  IUPUI’s aim is to prepare students to sit for their national certification.  If you would like more information about RID or the certification process, check out RID's website at:  http://www.rid.org

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?

  • 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 already completed a baccalaureate degree in any field. 

Q: How long will it take to complete the certificate program if I am a part-time student?

  • 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.

Q: I am interested in the ASL/English Interpreting program.  Where can I get more information?

Any questions not answered on the website should be referred to the Director of ASL/EI, Janet Acevedo, jacevedo@iupui.edu.

There is a great need for highly qualified interpreters in the Indianapolis area, and as such, the major in ASL/English Interpreting is designed to satisfy that need with a rigorous program that will enable graduates to interpret accurately and effectively.  Our faculty includes experienced professional interpreters, educators, researchers and consumers of interpreting services.  They conduct innovative and leading research in signed language and signed language interpreting.

Prior to submitting an application to be admitted into the Program in ASL/EI, students must have completed the following coursework:

American Sign Language (IUPUI courses ASL A131, A132, A211 and A212 or equivalent skills)

Deaf Culture (IUPUI course ASL A219)

Introduction to the English Language (IUPUI course ENG Z205 or ENG Z206)

American Sign Language Linguistics (IUPUI course ASL A221)

Introduction to Interpreting (IUPUI course ASL I250)

Once this coursework is completed (preferably by the Spring semester prior to the Fall a student wishes to begin taking coursework in interpreting), the application to the ASL/EI major requires a screening process to be admiteed into the Program, whether as a degree seeking student or as a post-baccalaureate Certificate seeking student.  The screening/application process occurs during the Spring semester prior to the Fall semester the student wishes to begin taking coursework.

The application process involves:

1) Writing a personal essay or statement regarding your desire to become an interpreter.

2) Reviewing grades you achieved in all your ASL courses and English courses.

3) Reviewing your overall GPA at the time you apply.

4) Submitting a 3-5 minute recording of your signing skills.

Once all these preliminary steps are completed, those who satisfy all the requirements will be assigned a date and time to be interviewed by a panel of experts in the field.  The interview will be conducted in ASL.  After all of the above is completed, students will be informed as to their acceptance into the Program.  Students that are accepted into the Program will be required to attend a "New Student Orientation" in August, during the week prior to the beginning of the Fall semester.