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Sign Language Interpreting Application Assessment Guidelines

Letters of Recommendation

Although not required, if you have a letter(s) of recommendation from an ASL instructor, we would consider it as part of your application.  Your instructor may send their letter via a video link or file, by fax, email, or regular mail.  Please have them address:  your dedication to the subject of ASL; your school performance; and their opinion regarding your suitability for the interpreting field.  You may upload a scanned copy of the letter, or the file, or a video file of the recommendation.

Application Tasks and Rubric

The Sign Language Interpreting (SLI) application process includes five tasks, each designed to measure a different set of skills. All tasks must be completed for the applicant to be considered. The evaluation system for applicants to the Sign Language Interpreting program was developed originally in American Sign Language. What follows is an English equivalence to that rubric. 

Overall Rating system

  1. This person should absolutely be in the program. I’d want them to interpret with/for me in a few years.
  2. This applicant may be able to successfully complete the program. In the evaluation, gaps in knowledge or ability were noted that can be overcome with their commitment and support from the program.
  3. This person will need intensive mentoring and coaching to develop into an interpreter and acquire the skills needed to be successful in the program. There may be concerns about this applicants’ ability to meet our program’s disposition requirements.

Task 1: Written English essay - Key considerations 

  • What is the substantive content of the response?
  • Can the applicant produce appropriate written English with a time limit? Note: Appropriate English may look different for candidates who are not native English users, and will be Deaf interpreters, and/or trilingual interpreters
  • Are their thoughts coherent and complete?
  • Is the information well-organized?

Task 2: Shadowing/Copy-signing a video in sign language - Key considerations

  • Does the applicant have a sense of the rhythm of the signs?
  • Do they convey the signer’s affect?
  • Do they correctly apply basic parameters of ASL? This includes ability to imitate handshape, movement, location, palm orientation and non-manual markers with at least 75% accuracy.
  • Does the applicant maintain their composure? 

Task 3: Paraphrase an ASL Story in English - Key considerations

  • Does the applicant demonstrate comprehension of key points and themes?
  • Did they differentiate between characters and correctly identify their relationship to events and other characters?
  • Did they catch details?
  • Did they comprehend individual signs and fingerspelled words?

Task 4: Watch English Video and Retell Story - Key considerations

  • Is the applicant able to retain comprehension of key points and/or theme while performing cognitive multitasking?
  • Were any significant details omitted that impacted the message conveyed?
  • Do they convey the tone of the speaker? 
  • Is the retelling produced intelligibly? 

Task 5: Interpreting a Basic Text - Key considerations

  • Does the applicant maintain their composure while attempting to interpret?
  • Do they show conceptual accuracy?
  • How well did they represent key terms before those were defined? 

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