Written by Taylor Hull
The role of an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter is complex and layered. It involves facilitating communication between consumers that do not speak the same language. It is the interpreter’s responsibility to have fluency in both ASL and English, as well as the ability to manage the cross-cultural flow of each conversation. To acquire these skills, individuals hoping to become ASL interpreters are encouraged to enroll in an Interpreting Training Program, commonly referred to as an ITP. The purpose of this program is to prepare students to interpret in a wide variety of settings, such as medical, legal, and political environments.
During my time as an ITP student, I received instruction on various topics, such as English and ASL linguistics, ethical business practices, medical interpreting, and more. These classes laid a foundation for skills and strategies I currently use in the interpreting field. Many of these classes are taught by Deaf instructors who provide an invaluable insight into the language, culture, and perspective of the Deaf community.
During the last year of their interpreting degree, students must participate in Practicum and are required to complete a set amount of observation and interpreting practice hours in a variety of settings. To accomplish this, students are paired with interpreting agencies and mentors (Deaf and/or hearing) who are willing to provide hands-on opportunities and supervise the student’s work.
|Photo by Translation Rules
As a graduate of an ITP, I can tell you the education does not stop the minute you graduate. Interpreting is a complex profession with different demands and variables for each consumer and setting, so new interpreters must wisely assess their skills before accepting each assignment. Navigating through interpreting between two distinct languages, which can also include cultural differences at times, is a daunting task. ITPs function as a training ground for this difficult navigation, providing lessons and perspectives from the Deaf educators who have firsthand experience, as well as the expertise of professional interpreters being passed down to the next generation of ASL interpreters. An Interpreting Training Program provides an important foundation for necessary skills and strategies, but it is the responsibility of each interpreter to continue to educate and challenge themselves.
For more information about interpreting at LTC please call us at 888-456-1626 or visit us online at LTClanguagesolutions.com.