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Frequently Asked Questions

The program focuses on four major types of classes. The first set of classes in the series is the American Sign Language Courses. Each student will progress through the various levels of language acquisition.

While learning American Sign Language the students also take several courses focusing on Deaf culture and history. Once the language classes are finished, students start taking interpreting courses. These courses run for two years starting with Introduction to Interpreting and ending with Practicum.

In practicum students actually go out with working interpreters in Boston and observe and utilize the skills developed in the program in real life interpreted situations.

 What classes will I be taking? What are they like?

Our professors and staff members have office hours in which they can help you with your questions. Along with the support from professors and staff members, the Interpreting Club at Northeastern University (ICNU) is run by students for students and hosts events throughout the year. Also, there are student organizations that may be of interest.

When you enter Northeastern, you will also be assigned an academic advisor. The academic advisor for all ASL interpreting majors is Michaela Kinlock. She can be contacted via phone at 617.373.8598, or email at m.kinlock@northeastern.edu.

Any other information you might need can be obtained by contacting the appropriate office.

The first step you have to take is to take a language evaluation to see where you should be placed in the program. After that, you will have a meeting with the director to discuss what credits you can transfer and what classes you still need to take. Interpreting classes are not transferable; you will have to take all interpreting classes at NU.

The language evaluation is your first step so that you can be placed in a class that is appropriate for your language level. Please be in touch with Jim Lipsky, ASL Language Coordinator, to make an appointment to take a language placement interview.  He can be reached at j.lipsky@northeastern.edu.

For information about the Deaf and interpreting communities at Northeastern and in the greater Boston area you can contact any of the following groups/agencies:

Join a mailing list with Yahoo groups that will alert you about Deaf community events and keep you in the loop about what is happening in the interpreting and Deaf communities. To join, visit www.groups.yahoo.com and type Mass_Deaf-Terp in the search field.

As a graduate of the program you have many options open to you, there are various mentorship opportunities in Boston and the surrounding areas as well as employment opportunities in many settings.

The Screening process is run through the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH) and is intended to ensure minimal skill for interpreters working in Massachusetts. The screening is split into two parts, interview and performance. The interview part focuses on your communication and decision making skills and the performance part focuses on your interpreting skills working form both voice to sign and sign to voice. For more information and how to apply for the Screening, please contact Janice Cagan-Teuber at MCDHH at janice.cagan-teuber@state.ma.us.

Certification is a higher qualification level. The national Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) provides certification to interpreters in an attempt to ensure a high standard of skill for interpreters nationwide. For information about certification exams, please visit the RID website at www.rid.org.

The co-op program is optional for interpreting majors, but you can participate if you so choose. Some students find is necessary for financial reasons or because they need more time to interact with Deaf people and further acquire the language. It can be a very useful and important experience. There are many places on and off campus where you could find a co-op position.

Interpreting students in the past have held co-op positions at The ASL office at Northeastern, The Disability Resource Center at Northeastern University, The Learning Center for the Deaf and more. The co-op contact for Interpreting and ASL students is Jon Andrew. He can be reached at 617.373.3453. Or you can email Jon at j.andrew@neu.edu.  To learn more about American Sign Language Co-ops, visit our co-op page here.

Prospective students are always welcome to set up a visit. Come meet students, sit in on classes, and Interpreting Club meetings, and ask everyone questions. Feel free to contact us at NUASLProgram@gmail.com and set something up or just stop by if you are on campus.

Deaf professors teach all language classes and an interpreter is provided on the first day of class. After that, you are on your own during class, and the professor will work with you to keep communication flowing. The best way to learn ASL to jump in with both feet. If you need a meeting with your professor you can schedule time during that professor’s office hours and someone will be able to interpret for you.

We offer several options for Combined Majors such as: ASL/ Psychology, ASL/Theatre, ASL/Linguistics and ASL/ Human Services. This way you can be involved with the language and the community while pursuing alternate professional goals. If you would like to set up a meeting with the our program to discuss your options, send an email to NUASLProgram@gmail.com.