The only way to learn a new language to fluency is through a lot of hours of practice and immersion.
Most people studying ASL Interpreting find communication with ASL to already be pretty fun, but returning to the same practice methods can often leave you in a rut. With ASL, the more you can grow your vocabulary and practice interpreting in all kinds of situations and contexts, the better off you are!
Here are five ways to shake it up:
- Take a trip down memory lane.
Interpret your favorite children’s books — both the ones you may know by heart, and the ones you don’t. Just as children’s books tend to help beginning English learners, they can help your interpreting vocabulary in the same way.
- Turn on the tube.
Want to pick up the pace a bit? Try to interpret alongside TV shows or movies in real time. When you don’t know a certain English word in ASL, write it down so you can look it up or ask someone later.
- Quiz yourself.
There are a number of great ASL quizzes available online, including ASL University’s at lifeprint.com.
- Hang out and talk with people fluent in ASL.
As an interpreting student at William Woods, this will happen anyways — as there are experts everywhere. But do make a point to spend time with a conversation partner. Go out of your comfort zone. Make a new friend! It helps you find conversation partners all over the world.
- Catch yourself on camera.
Record a video of your interpreting and watch it. While a mirror is also a great way to practice, sometimes you don’t notice small mistakes until you can remove yourself from the interpreting. Record a video and ask someone else who knows ASL to watch it as well and provide constructive feedback, which is a method often used in the online ASL interpreting program at William Woods.