ASL/English Interpreting

pcc.edu/programs/sign-language/

Career and Program Description

Professional sign language interpreters work in a variety of settings such as education, social service, religion, government, business, performing arts, mental health, medical, legal, video relay and law enforcement. Interpreters may specialize in one area or may work in private practice in a variety of settings. Currently, the demand for services exceeds the supply of qualified interpreters nationwide.

The ASL/English Interpreting Program is a two-year, intensive program that prepares graduates for entry-level ASL-English interpreting work, with a strong foundation in Deaf culture, interpreting skills, and ethical practices.  Many of the graduates of this program are hired into entry level positions in educational and video relay settings. The program believes in teaching language through immersion and interpreting competencies through application. The primary language of instruction is American Sign Language. 

A transfer agreement between PCC and Portland State University allows students to apply credits earned in ASL/English Interpretation AAS degree or Deaf Cultural Studies Certificate toward a bachelor degree in any major at Portland State University. For more information, contact Portland State University.

Degree and Certificates Offered

Associate of Applied Science Degree

ASL/English Interpreting

One-Year Certificate

Deaf Cultural Studies

Academic Prerequisites

  1. This is a limited entry program. Students must submit an application.
  2. Complete WR 121 with a letter grade of "C" or better prior to entering the program.
  3. Complete ASL 240 with a letter grade of "C" or better prior to entering the program. Students taking any prerequisites classes during the summer prior to enrollment may be tentatively accepted based on their progress in the course at midterm, with final acceptance pending successful completion of the course.
    1. ASL 240 is a lecture course listed under American Sign Language in the college schedule and serves as a prerequisite course.
  4. Complete ASL 101, ASL 102, ASL 103, and ASL 201, ASL 202, ASL 203 or ASL 150, ASL 151, ASL 250, ASL 251 with a letter grade of "C" or better prior to entering the program.
  5. Demonstrate American Sign Language and other basic skill and knowledge competencies through the department-administered assessment given in the spring.

Applications are due the last Friday in March. Applicants will be given a language assessment in the spring. Student must pass the language assessment and complete all prerequisites prior to entering the program. Minimum entrance requirements are intermediate level for ASL and superior level for English. Candidates with higher language competencies will be awarded seats before those with lower language competencies.

Academic Requirements

  • The AAS is a full-time six term program for students interested in sign language interpretation as a career. A maximum of 25 students will be accepted annually starting in the fall term. There are six practicum courses which place students in contact with Deaf people, employers and professional interpreters. Students must pass a benchmark assessment before being placed in an internship. Graduation is dependent upon entrance into and successful completion of an internship under the direction of a professional interpreter who acts as a mentor.
  • Students must receive passing grades as determined by program policy to maintain student status in the program. Students are required to take either ITP 283 or ITP 284 for graduation for the Associate of Applied Science Degree.
  • Note: All ITP courses are open to professionals working in fields serving Deaf people. This is subject to course availability, class size, and program permission based on prerequisite skill and knowledge. Please contact the department chair to discuss the suitability and appropriate placement.
  • Because interpreters work in a variety of settings, students are encouraged to broaden their general knowledge in a variety of areas. For those planning to work in K-12 or post-secondary education, background in English, writing and literature, history, science, social studies, math, and basic computer use is essential. ASL/English Interpreting students may find the following electives helpful: COMM 111 and TA 144.
  • Students in the ASL/English Interpreting Program, who find that interpreting is not an appropriate goal for them, may transfer to the Deaf Studies program. Coursework for the Deaf Cultural Studies certificate closely parallels that of the ASL/English Interpreting, with the omission of some of the hands on interpreting courses. The Deaf Cultural Studies certificate does not qualify students to work as interpreters, but may be helpful to those who work with Deaf people in fields such as education, advocacy, or working in an agency that serves Deaf people. Deaf Cultural Studies is a certificate program and does not lead to an associate degree.

Non-Academic Prerequisites

  • None

Non-Academic Requirements

  • Criminal history background checks will be mandatory. Satisfactory background checks are needed to qualify for field placements within the ASL/English Interpreting Program. The cost for the criminal history background check is the responsibility of the student.

ASL/English Interpreting Program

Minimum 94 credits. Students must also meet Associate Degree Comprehensive Requirements and Associate of Applied Science Requirements. Students must complete a total of sixteen credits of General Education. Some courses specified within the program may be used as General Education. Math/computation competency is met through the courses in the program of study indicated with a § symbol. Students should consult with program advisors for course planning.

Course of Study

The coursework listed below is required. The following is an example of a term-by-term breakdown.

Plan of Study Grid
First TermCredits
ITP 111 Advanced ASL 4
ITP 122 Discourse Analysis 2
ITP 180 Field Experience I: Applied ASL 2
ITP 264 Introduction to the Profession 2
ITP 270 Foundations of Interpreting I 4
Second Term
ITP 123 Intercultural Communication for Interpreters 4
ITP 181 Field Experience II: Applied ASL 1
ITP 228 Decision-Making Models 2
ITP 230 ASL Linguistics I 3
ITP 271 Foundations of Interpreting II 4
Third Term
ITP 112 ASL Development for Interpreters I 3
ITP 231 ASL Linguistics II 3
ITP 265 Introduction to Ethical Practices in Interpreting 3
ITP 272 Foundations of Interpreting III 4
ITP 279 Practicum I § 2
Fourth Term
ITP 113 ASL Development for Interpreters II 3
ITP 220 Consumer-Driven Interpreting 2
ITP 266 Ethical Practices in Specialized Settings 2
ITP 273 Interpreting in Specialized Settings I § 4
ITP 281 Practicum II § 2
General Education: 1 Course
Fifth Term
ITP 211 ASL Development for Interpreters III 2
ITP 221 English Development for Interpreters I § 2
ITP 267 Ethical Practices in K-12 Settings 2
ITP 274 Interpreting in K-12 Settings 4
ITP 283 Internship I § 3
General Education: 1 Course
Sixth Term
ITP 213 ASL Literature for Interpreters 2
ITP 251 Interpreting in Specialized Settings II § 4
ITP 268 Ethical Business Practices for Interpreters § 2
ITP 278 English Development for Interpreters II § 2
ASL/English Interpreting Electives 3
General Education: 2 Courses
 Total Credits94
§

Course cannot be substituted for another course.

ASL/English Interpreting Electives 

ITP 284Internship II3
ITP 286Practicum III3

Deaf Cultural Studies One-Year Certificate

Minimum 46 credits. Students must meet certificate requirements.

Course of Study

The coursework listed below is required. The following is an example of a term-by-term breakdown.

Plan of Study Grid
First TermCredits
ITP 111 Advanced ASL 4
ITP 122 Discourse Analysis 2
ITP 180 Field Experience I: Applied ASL 2
Deaf Studies Electives 8
Second Term
ITP 123 Intercultural Communication for Interpreters 4
ITP 181 Field Experience II: Applied ASL 1
ITP 228 Decision-Making Models 2
ITP 230 ASL Linguistics I 3
Deaf Studies Electives 4
Third Term
ITP 213 ASL Literature for Interpreters 2
ITP 231 ASL Linguistics II 3
ITP 265 Introduction to Ethical Practices in Interpreting 3
Deaf Studies Electives 8
 Total Credits46

Deaf Studies Electives

AD 104Multicultural Counseling3
ASL 240Introduction to the Deaf Community4
ATH 103Introduction to Cultural Anthropology4
ATH 209Culture, Change, and the Individual4
ATH 232Indigenous Cultures and Communities of U.S. and Canada4
BA 208Introduction to Nonprofits & Philanthropy4
CG 191Exploring Identity and Diversity for College Success4
CHLA 202Intro to Chicanx/Latinx Studies: Contemporary Issues4
CJA 101Cultural Diversity in Criminal Justice Professions3
COMM 140Introduction to Intercultural Communication4
COMM 214Interpersonal Communication: Process and Theory4
COMM 227Nonverbal Communication4
COMM 237Gender and Communication4
EC 216Labor Markets: Economics of Gender, Race, and Work4
ECE 120Introduction to Early Education and Family Studies3
ECE 124Multicultural Practices: Exploring Our Views3
ES 101Introduction to Ethnic Studies4
HEC 226Child Development4
HUM 214
HUM 221Leadership Development4
HUS 101Introduction to Human Services3
HUS 121Family and Human Systems3
MTH 105Math in Society4
PHL 202Ethics4
PS 211Peace and Conflict4
PSY 101Psychology and Human Relations4
PSY 215Human Development4
PSY 216Social Psychology4
PSY 236Psychology of Adult Development and Aging4
PSY 240Personal Awareness and Growth4
SJ 210Social Justice: Theory & Practice4
SOC 205Social Change4
SOC 206Social Problems4
SOC 211Peace and Conflict Studies4
SOC 213Diversity in the United States4
SOC 214AIllumination Project I: Interactive Social Justice Theater4
SOC 214BIllumination Project II: Interactive Social Justice Theater4
SOC 215Social Movements4
WS 101Women's Studies4
WS 202Women, Activism and Social Change4
WS 210Introduction to Queer Studies4

ITP 111. Advanced ASL. 4 Credits.

Teaches advanced ASL and culturally appropriate communication in Deaf communities. Covers advanced grammatical features, non-manual markers, language skill development, register, and discourse features in ASL. Prerequisite: Admission to the ASL/English Interpretation Program or Deaf Studies Program and department permission.

ITP 112. ASL Development for Interpreters I. 3 Credits.

Focuses on advanced ASL syntax, simultaneous interpreting, and analysis of message equivalency in ASL. Explores specialized vocabulary in ASL related to sciences and mathematics. Prerequisites: Program admission and department permission.

ITP 113. ASL Development for Interpreters II. 3 Credits.

Focuses on advanced ASL syntax, vocabulary, and message equivalency in simultaneous interpretations from English to ASL. Explore a range of specialized topics in ASL interpreting related to science, technology, engineering, and arts. Prerequisites: Program admission and department permission.

ITP 122. Discourse Analysis. 2 Credits.

Analyzes and compares ASL and English discourse. Reviews relevant research and introduces the research process. Prerequisites: Program admission and department permission.

ITP 123. Intercultural Communication for Interpreters. 4 Credits.

Covers intercultural communication and interactions. Discusses ethics, conflicts, power, privilege, oppression, advocacy, social justice, and intercultural dynamics within and outside of Deaf communities. Prerequisites: Program admission and department permission.

ITP 180. Field Experience I: Applied ASL. 2 Credits.

Provides practical experience working in the ASL community. Examines current community needs and explores how students can contribute to the community. Includes volunteering at Deaf organizations, observing professional interpreters, and engaging in professional development. Criminal background check required. Prerequisite: Program admission and department permission. Corequisite: ITP 112, ITP 265.

ITP 181. Field Experience II: Applied ASL. 1 Credit.

Provides practical experience working in the ASL community by developing and implementing a program or event. Includes volunteering at Deaf organizations, observing professional interpreters, and engaging in professional development. Prerequisites: Program admission and department permission.

ITP 211. ASL Development for Interpreters III. 2 Credits.

Focuses on advanced ASL depiction, simultaneous interpreting, and analysis of message equivalency in the context of healthcare interpreting. Prerequisites: Program admission and department permission.

ITP 213. ASL Literature for Interpreters. 2 Credits.

Discusses ASL literature including ASL stories, poetry, and narratives. Includes a discussion of history, use of ASL literature for expression, current research studies, and translating English literature into ASL. Prerequisites: Program admission and department permission.

ITP 220. Consumer-Driven Interpreting. 2 Credits.

Develops the skills necessary for transliterating between spoken English and English-based signing systems. Discusses consumer language preferences found within the Deaf communities. Prerequisites: Program admission and department permission.

ITP 221. English Development for Interpreters I. 2 Credits.

Develops simultaneous interpretation skills from ASL to English. Introduces beginning-level public speaking techniques in spoken English and practices applying these skills to interpreting. Prerequisites: Program admission and department permission.

ITP 228. Decision-Making Models. 2 Credits.

Introduces models of interpreting and decision making. Discusses the underlying process of interpreting and making ethical decisions in relation to interpreting. Prerequisites: Program admission and department permission.

ITP 230. ASL Linguistics I. 3 Credits.

Introduces ASL phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, language use, and the sociolinguistic structure of the language. Explores current research relating to the field. Prerequisite: Program admission and department permission.

ITP 231. ASL Linguistics II. 3 Credits.

Explores ASL syntax, semantics, variation, and historical change within the language. Discusses current research relating to the field. Prerequisite: Program admission and department permission.

ITP 251. Interpreting in Specialized Settings II. 4 Credits.

Introduces interpreting in legal, medical, and mental health settings. Explores the knowledge and skills necessary to interpret in these specialized settings. Prerequisites: Program admission and department permission.

ITP 264. Introduction to the Profession. 2 Credits.

Introduces the foundations of the ASL/English interpreting profession. Includes communication processes, cultural considerations, the role and function of the interpreter, the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, ethical principles, the history of the profession, and the philosophies and practices of interpretation. Prerequisites: Program admission and department permission.

ITP 265. Introduction to Ethical Practices in Interpreting. 3 Credits.

Discusses personal and professional ethics within the lens of the field of interpreting. Introduces self-awareness and cultural intelligence as a foundation for ethical decision making. Prerequisite: Program admission and department permission.

ITP 266. Ethical Practices in Specialized Settings. 2 Credits.

Covers best practices for specialized interpreting settings such as CDI/CHI teams, DeafBlind, VRS, VRI, religious, performing arts, medical, mental health and legal. Outlines qualifications necessary for working in each specific setting. Includes discussion of current research in the field. Prerequisites: Program admission and department permission.

ITP 267. Ethical Practices in K-12 Settings. 2 Credits.

Covers best practices for interpreters in K-12 settings, including roles and responsibilities of interpreters and other members of the educational team, qualifications, characteristics of Deaf learners, theories of language acquisition, legislation, and technology. Includes discussion of current research in the field. Prerequisites: Program admission and department permission.

ITP 268. Ethical Business Practices for Interpreters. 2 Credits.

Covers ethical business practices, marketing, networking and professional resources at national, state, and local levels. Provides practical experience developing tools necessary for working as an independent contractor in the interpreting field. Prerequisites: Program admission and department permission.

ITP 270. Foundations of Interpreting I. 4 Credits.

Introduces the beginning-level skills necessary to achieve dynamic message equivalence in translation and consecutive interpreting between American Sign Language (ASL) and English. Includes an overview of theoretical models representing the interpreting process, logistics involved in interpreting work, and interpreting as a profession. Prerequisite: Program admission and department permission.

ITP 271. Foundations of Interpreting II. 4 Credits.

Reviews translation and consecutive interpreting between ASL and English. Introduces beginning-level simultaneous interpreting and covers self-assessment and peer-review techniques within interpreting. Prerequisite: Program admission and department permission.

ITP 272. Foundations of Interpreting III. 4 Credits.

Explores intermediate-level simultaneous interpretation from ASL to English and from English to ASL. Prerequisite: Program admission and department permission.

ITP 273. Interpreting in Specialized Settings I. 4 Credits.

Introduces interpreting in specialized settings, such as post-secondary and religious settings, and Video Relay Service. Includes specialized terminology, policies, and procedures of each setting. Prerequisites: Program admission and department permission.

ITP 274. Interpreting in K-12 Settings. 4 Credits.

Introduces interpreting in K-12 settings. Covers simultaneous interpreting and transliteration within the K-12 educational system. Prerequisite: Program admission and department permission.

ITP 278. English Development for Interpreters II. 2 Credits.

Develops advanced simultaneous interpretation skills from ASL to English. Incorporates high register public speaking techniques into interpreting. Prerequisites: Program admission and department permission.

ITP 279. Practicum I. 2 Credits.

Focuses on simultaneous interpreting in teams for live presenters in class. Applies knowledge of the interpreting process, message analysis, and ethical considerations while interpreting. Prerequisite: Program admission and department permission.

ITP 281. Practicum II. 2 Credits.

Focuses on practicing simultaneous interpreting in teams in live settings where no consumer is present. Introduces practices such as invoicing, team agreements, and supervision. Applies knowledge of the interpreting process, message analysis, and ethical considerations while interpreting. Prerequisite: Program admission and department permission.

ITP 283. Internship I. 3 Credits.

Applies interpreting skills in college classrooms and community settings to gain practical experience as an interpreter under the supervision and guidance of professional interpreters. Qualifying score on the Benchmark Assessment required. Prerequisites: Program admission and department permission.

ITP 284. Internship II. 3 Credits.

Applies interpreting skills in K-12 settings, Video Relay Services, and community settings to gain practical experience as an interpreter under the supervision and guidance of professional interpreters. Prerequisites: Program admission and department permission.

ITP 286. Practicum III. 3 Credits.

Focuses on practicing advanced simultaneous interpreting in teams in live settings where no consumer is present. Emphasizes the development of skills necessary to qualify for an internship placement. Prerequisites: Program admission and department permission.