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ASL Interpreting: How to refresh my skills to become certified?



-----Original Message-----
From: ███████ █████████ <█████>
Sent: Sun, Oct 30, 20XX 11:36 am
Subject: To become an Interpreter

Good Afternoon, I am a former Sign Language Interpreter for a school system. It has been a long time. I have a two year degree in Interpreting Education. I still have signing skill and can communicate using my skills. However I need to review and work on receptive skills and other needed skills to be able to pass the certified test that is given. I also plan to get involved in Deaf community. My question is which course should I start with?

Thank you.

[name redacted to respect the person's privacy]


Hello :)
You state as a fact that you need to "review and work on receptive skills and other needed skills to be able to pass the certified test that is given."

Is that because you have actually taken and "not passed" the test? Or it is simply your own self-evaluation or someone else's of your chances of passing the test? I don't actually need to know the answer to either of those questions (they are rhetorical) other than to tell you that I recommend taking the test (if you have not yet done so) and either passing or failing and then decide a course of action.

There is absolutely zero shame in not passing a certification test -- yet so many people don't take it for fear of not passing. I recommend you (and any others considering taking such a test) think of it as a formative (not summative) assessment to guide you in your next actions. It is worth looking up the definitions of and a comparison of the meanings of "formative assessment vs. summative assessment" as an attitudinal exercise.

Do go ahead and get involved in the Deaf community and form a number of friendships that involve frequent signed in-person (or online) interactions with a variety of Deaf who have advanced signing skills. Google "ASL socials near me" and "Deaf events near me."

I recommend you go through the ASLU playlist (see the tips in the list below my signature block) from the beginning to the end. Skipping only the instructional videos that cover topics with which you are very familiar. However, suppose you watch a beginning level video for a half an hour and pick up two new signs. Was it worth it? The answer of course depends on your individual goals and needs. As you study more and more advanced materials your will acquire more signs that were new to you prior to studying the advanced material.

I also encourage you to perhaps visit Amazon and do a search for ASL interpreting related materials -- then click on the "used" versions and see if you can at a reasonable price pick up a few books regarding interpreting that might help you fill in some of the cultural and procedural gaps.

If you are looking to take an actual class from ASLU and pay the tuition because you feel that will help you to commit to formal study and provide structure and feedback -- then I'd recommend you start with "ASL 3" as a form of review that will likely provide you with a solid amount of new information as well as sign variations (regional signs, older signs, newer signs, etc.). You may wish to read this page prior to registering:
On that page is a link to the official registration letter. On the registration letter page is a link to the tuition payment page.

Warm regards,
+ Dr. Bill
William G. Vicars, Ed.D.
ASL University (
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