Radio Inspire

How To Learn Sign Language

Sign Language Interpreter Training | Waubonsee Community College


[MUSIC] Our curriculum is designed to help
students both learn the language of American Sign Language, and
to become an interpreter. So some of the complexities of this
program are that students are learning a completely new language to them. And then,
when they enter our interpreting program, they’re actually learning to use those
skills, those language skills that they’ve learned,
to be able to interpret in live settings.>>For the associate’s degree,
you need 69 credit hours. And all of the classes are offered
here at our downtown Aurora campus. And we also offer Sign Language I and
II at the Sugar Grove Campus.>>It takes two and
a half years to complete the program. The first year is focusing on
learning basic vocabulary, and also learning deaf culture, and
how deaf people think and feel, and what’s appropriate behavior.>>And then from there,
you have your second year, which is all about how to actually sit and
interpret for a deaf client, and
what it means to be the interpreter. So ethics, and advocacy, and learning. Where do I sit if I am in a classroom, do I sit in the front,
am I supposed to stand? That’s all in the second year,
and it’s a very intense year.>>We started in 1975 and at the time, there weren’t a lot of
interpreting programs around. And so we had many deaf individuals, and
also individuals that were interested in working with the deaf community,
that attended Waubonsee’s programs.>>Our program has remained at
the forefront of the field, because we strive to stay
current in the field. The faculty here are both certified
interpreters, one of us is hearing and one of us is deaf.>>Cassie is a freelance interpreter, and
she has so much experience with that. She’s telling us from experience, and she can pull from those
experiences to tell us. And then Katie is a CDI, she’s a certified
deaf interpreter, which is even cooler. So there’s only a handful of
those in the state of Illinois.>>I think the biggest plus about this
program, are the classes are smaller. So we have a lot of time to pay
attention to individual students and form a rapport with them, and
they’re with us for two years as well.>>With a program like this,
you do need smaller classes, because if you have too
many people in one class, people start trying to sign or
talk over top of each other, and the teachers need to be able to
see everybody and hear everybody.>>Waubonsee’s interpreting
program is top of the line. We have an interpreting lab that
students can participate in, in order to increase their skills and
practice. We have many student activities and
clubs where students can participate.>>We have a ASL club. And we have a Facebook page, and
we try to share our experiences with the deaf community, and
really get involved in the deaf community.>>And we have opportunities
to network with agencies whom we’ve already developed
relationships with. And so when a student participates in
Waubonsee’s interpreting programs, they’re really getting access to all of
those services that they will need to become professionals,
in the field of interpreting.>>We provide them the knowledge to
be able to take that first step, whether they’re going to have a two year
degree and just start their career, or whether they’re gonna go on and
get their bachelor’s degree.>>It’s been a really great experience,
being able to take that with people that, and you just keep going
with the same people.>>And I think that’s what really
separates Waubonsee from the other programs is you’re a family,
when you come to Waubonsee. And if that what you like
then its the place to go. [MUSIC]

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