Interpreter Training Program
College Of Education
Becoming an interpreter is very often a passion unlike the selection of other majors and careers. People are often driven to become interpreters!!! For some, it is the beauty of the language or the aesthetic grace of an interpretation. For others, it is the love of languages and parsing meaning from communication. And still for others, it is about service to the community and humankind! Whatever the reason behind the selection of interpreting as a major course of study or career, there are steps to take to ensure that the transition to student of interpreting and eventually qualified Sign Language interpreter are taken with the fewest obstacles possible.
The first and foremost is the understanding that interpreting requires competency in at least two languages. In this case: American Sign Language and English. As such, to enter the program requires competency in ASL at a certain level. This cannot be acquired only through the classroom environment. Mastering a language requires using it with native speakers. Just as learners of French go to France to gain exposure to the language and culture, so too do learners of ASL need to be immersed in the culture and language of Deaf people. This means that while other students in other majors have completed their homework and have time to spare, students in the ITP are attending events to immerse themselves in the language and the culture, which is part of the mastering process. Troy University provides numerous opportunities for students to gain this exposure and in partnership with the other stakeholders, students are encouraged to participate in as many events as possible.
After having shown competency at a minimum level (Intermediate Plus on the Sign Language Proficiency Interview), students are then accepted into the Interpreter Training Program and begin the rigors of still acquiring and mastering ASL at deeper levels while simultaneously beginning to understand the complexities of interpreting. What many believe is simply hearing words and signing them soon is replaced by understanding that communication is messy and complex. Even between two people messages can be misunderstood. When there are cultural and linguistic differences and there is a third person involved as an intermediary, interpreters are responsible for decoding meaning and intention filtered through a person's unique worldview, then filtering it through their own understanding of the world, and re-encoding it into a language that attempts to maintain a dynamic equivalence to the source message. All of this is done simultaneously while still receiving additional information, with possibly more than one speaker, and with very complex information that very often is not information that the interpreter has mastered or a level of familiarity equivalent to those speaking.
For anyone who believes the process is easy, this field is not for them!!! It is challenging and stimulating to make communication happen successfully and effectively between two people who very often have no idea what interpreting is, the complex processes taking place cognitively, or the myriad decisions that the interpreter is having to make within the span of any interpreted event. More often than not, participants in interpreted events have little to no understanding of their communication partner's culture and language or that there are differences from their own. The truest measure, therefore, of an effective interpretation is that the communication partners never knew the process was so complex but that their messages were conveyed and their intentions accomplished!
If you have an aptitude for languages and are fascinated with the meanings people are attempting to convey, stated or more often unstated, the field of Sign Language Interpretation may be right for you!!! The next step is to apply at www.troy.edu and start the process of enrolling in either the on-campus courses at Troy, AL, online through the eCampus programming, or a blended approach for those who live geographically proximal and wish to take some courses online and some on-campus. If you need any further information on interpreting, you can check out http://www.discoverinterpreting.org.
Become our friend on Troy ITP's FaceBook page too! Contact us for more information and we'll be happy to put you on the path toward an exciting, challenging, and very rewarding career of interpreting!!!
About the Interpreter Training Program
The Interpreter Training Program (ITP) at Troy University is a four-year Bachelors of Science degree program that offers students an opportunity to pursue a career in interpreting. Interpreting, as a profession, facilitates communication between individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing using American Sign Language (ASL) or a form of visual language and spoken English. For more references about the interpreting profession, please refer to the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf website (www.rid.org) and Discover Interpreting at www.discoverinterpreting.org.
Troy University's ITP also offers an ASL Minor. A Minor in American Sign Language can be a benefit for any major: nursing, psychology, education, and criminal justice, to name a few. Students will become more marketable with ASL included in their skills.
The Interpreter Training Program courses can be taken either on-campus, online, or a combination of the two. On-campus courses offer a classroom setting in addition to a language lab that utilizes video cameras, videophones, DVD players, and computers. This lab affords students the opportunity to develop and practice American Sign Language (ASL) skills as well as ASL-to-English and English-to-ASL interpreting. Troy University's distance learning program, eTroy, offers the Interpreter Training Program online to allow students to receive the same benefits of the program as students attending on-campus at Troy. Currently, Troy University is the only university in Alabama to offer a Bachelor's degree in Interpreting.
While interpreters are a key part of communication for individuals, they are also viewed as part of a culture: the cultural experiences of Deaf, Hard-of-Hearing, and Deaf-Blind communities. Students often start out with a basic knowledge of American Sign Language and expand their knowledge as they develop, personally and professionally. Prospective interpreters will find themselves participating within the community that they work in.
Partners and sponsors of the Interpreter Training Program include:
- Alabama Dual Party Relay Board
- Alabama Department of Education
- Alabama Department of Mental Health
- Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services
- Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind
Learn more about the Interpreter Training program