Interpreting, simply stated, is receiving a message in one language and delivering it in another. Not as simple as it sounds, interpreting is a complex process that requires a high degree of linguistic, cognitive and technical skills. Sign language interpreting is a highly specialized field; simply knowing both sign language and English does not qualify a person as an interpreter.
Professional sign language interpreters develop interpreting skills through extensive training and practice over a long period of time. The professional sign language interpreter is able to adjust to a broad range of deaf consumer preferences and/or needs for interpretation. Some deaf individuals use American Sign Language, a natural language with its own grammar and structure that is distinct from English. Others prefer a form of signing that more closely follows the grammar and structure of spoken English. The professional interpreter is expected to work comfortably along this wide spectrum. (Source: RID.org)
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Upon completion of the Associate of Applied Science in American Sign Language Interpreting for the Deaf degree you may find a variety of career opportunities. Career opportunities for interpreters are possible in the fields of education, business, employment, social services, mass media, finance, medical care, mental health, legal aid, law enforcement, religion, recreation, and the arts.
Careers are not limited to interpreting and can be combined with other advanced degrees to provide the necessary training to merge careers. Some opportunities may include: health career, government agency representative, advocate, and teacher.
Many individuals are interested in learning American Sign Language, and yet are not interested in pursuing a degree in interpreting and taking all the required courses in order to become an interpreter. Many find ASL intriguing because it is a complete language which utilizes visual and spatial properties to communicate, in stark contrast to spoken language. Others find learning ASL important in order to improve communication with a Deaf family member, co-worker, or friend.
In addition, many individuals are interested in completing ASL coursework because they are pursing another degree which requires the completion of one or two years of a second (or foreign) language. Moreover, learning ASL is strongly urged for those pursing degrees in fields where occasional contact with Deaf individuals is likely (education, nursing, social work, etc.). In the Dayton area alone, students from the University of Dayton, Wright State University, Edison Community College, as well as many local high schools come to Sinclair Community College for ASL coursework in order to satisfy their second language requirement at their home college, university, or local high school. In addition, if a student has already completed some ASL instruction at his or her high school, or has had contact with the Deaf community through family or other avenues, he or she may take a proficiency test for one or both of the first two Beginning ASL courses (ASL 1111 and ASL 1112). A proficiency test can be scheduled through the academic advising department at Sinclair.