In our last blog, Look into ASL spoke with William Woods University ASL interpreting alumnus Harrison Jones about his experience and advice for future bachelors in American Sign Language interpreting students.
Jones is currently an interpreter specialist with Bridge Interpreting – MERIL. He provides interpreting services in a wide range of settings, including legal, medical, mental health and more.
Jones coordinates various professional development opportunities from the agency, including a mentorship for certified, working interpreters, and workshops and educational trainings for interpreters and businesses. He also worked to develop the Skills Development Program, an internship program for interpreting students.
When Jones was a senior at William Woods, he interned in Minnesota with an agency called ASL Interpreting Services, Dynamic Communications Inc. The Skills Development Program grew out of this experience.
“I was able to take what I learned about making an internship successful and the importance of structure during an internship, and develop a program here in Missouri that matches the rules and regulations we have to follow,” said Jones, “Having students come through the program and then getting to work with them as colleagues and peers is an incredible experience.”
“The most rewarding things about my work are getting to see effective communication take place between a Deaf participant and a hearing person and getting to see students and novice interpreters grasp a concept or skill that they had been attempting to learn.”
Jones says three things surprised him about going into ASL interpreting:
First, he had no idea that it would open doors to so many amazing opportunities and people.
“I got the chance to get connected with interpreters from all over the state and really, all over the country. I was able to make professional connections and personal friends in communities that I didn’t know really existed before coming into the program.”
Second, there was always something to learn.
“The interpreting profession deals with living languages and cultures, and is therefore constantly changing and developing new ideas, and it’s amazing,” says Jones.
Third, it lead to a job that is more fun and a passion than it is work.
“I get to go to work every day and do what I love. I’m able to interact with unique groups of people, experience things that most people never do, and have a great time while doing it.”