5 Keys to making the most of your ASL interpreting degree

William Woods ASL

 ASL interpreting students learn how to get the most out of their degree As you pursue your bachelors in interpretation studies, your professors and advisors will work with you to make sure you have all of the right experiences and study requirements for interpreter certification exams, but there is a lot you can do to get the most out of your time in school.

It’s a time when resources are everywhere, connections can be made easily, and a network of people who have been there before are readily available.

Here are a few ways to make the most of it:

1. Seek help.

Get to know your professors, and ask them questions often. They are experts when it comes to this career path, and they are excited to help you pursue it. Find a mentor interpreter who is working in the area you would like to be.

Leadership coach Dan Gheesling writes that a mentor will help you get started, teach you from experience, build your confidence, and can become a great friend and resource long after you become a certified interpreter.

2. Practice, practice, practice.

“An interpreter must accurately convey messages between two different languages. It is a skill that takes time to develop,” writes the National Association of the Deaf.

You can never practice enough. Becoming an interpreter requires fluency. And it takes years. Watch movies, and interpret the scenes. Find a communication partner. Like any language, the more you speak it, the better you get. Take advantage of every opportunity to practice that’s presented to you.

3. Get involved.

Make use of outside-the-classroom learning opportunities like William Woods’ relationship with the Missouri School for the Deaf, the interpreting lab, Hands Up! club, and so much more.

4. Seek every chance to learn more.

Never say no to an opportunity to get some more experience. Every year, several William Woods University students attend the Missouri Interpreters conference, where they are able to attend workshops and network with other interpreters and students.

The National Association for the Deaf encourages you to “take as many workshops and classes as possible to increase and improve your skills. Practice with Deaf and hard of hearing people often to improve your receptive and expressive skills.”

5. Stay curious.

The more you learn about all kinds of settings you may find yourself interpreting, the more comfortable you will be interpreting in various situations. Consider coursework to understand settings that you may find yourself as an interpreter — criminal justice, social work, performing arts, health areas or legal studies.