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Why Interpreter Education?
For many people, communicating and connecting with others is done through a visual language, rather than a spoken language. Most culturally Deaf in the United States and Canada use American Sign Language (ASL) as their first language. ASL-English Interpreters fulfill the role of communication facilitation between the Deaf community and the hearing world. Interpreters can be found working in any situation where someone needs to communicate with someone else. This includes: classrooms, medical settings, religious services, and everyday activities.
About the Program
Blue Ridge Community College is one of only four Interpreter Education Programs in North Carolina. It is designed to prepare individuals to work as entry-level Sign Language Interpreters who will provide communication access in interview and interactive settings. Additionally, this curriculum provides in-service training for currently working interpreters who want to enhance their skills. The Interpreter Education Program curriculum includes coursework that covers the acquisition of American Sign Language (ASL). It encompasses ASL grammar, structure, syntax, history, and its sociolinguistic properties. Students will also learn cognitive processing skills needed for interpreting between ASL and English in consecutive and simultaneous settings. Along with learning ASL and how to interpret, students will gain a greater knowledge of the Deaf community through classes as well as real-life interactions with their local Deaf community.
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Graduates will be prepared for entry-level jobs as paraprofessional interpreters. Jobs are available in educational systems or a variety of community settings. Individuals may choose from part-time, full-time, or self-employment/freelance positions, or apply language skills to other human service related areas. Students may also choose to continue their education at a four-year university to further their skill and expand their working opportunities.
After students have completed the Associate of Applied Science degree, they can continue their education at many other four-year universities in North Carolina such as; UNC Greensboro, or Gardner-Webb University to continue their education in ASL, interpreting, or other Deafness-related degrees.