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American Sign Language

American Sign Language (ASL) is a rich, complex language that uses signs made with the hands and other movements, including facial expressions and postures of the body. ASL is the predominant language used by an estimated 500,000 members of the Deaf Community in the United States and parts of Canada. This means, ASL is the third most used language in the United States. Like any spoken language, ASL is a language with its own unique rules of grammar and syntax. The linguistics of ASL are very different from English. As a visual language, the shape, placement, and movement of the hands, as well as facial expressions and body movements, all play important parts in conveying information.

According to the Modern Language Association (MLA), American Sign Language is America’s fastest growing language. MLA data reports, enrollment in ASL courses experienced an 803 % increase since 1998!

According to the ASL Teachers Association (ASLTA), there are approximately 500,000 ASL users in the USA and Canada. Most of them use ASL as their primary language and are members of a rich, vibrant linguistic minority community who share a common set of social beliefs, behaviors, art, literary traditions, history, and values.

Clemson University—with its colleagues at Harvard, Yale, and other premier institutions— is the only four-year public institution in South Carolina that recognizes and offers ASL as world language credit. At Clemson University, you are able to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in World Languages with a concentration in ASL. Or, you can also include ASL as your minor. Whether you are interested in a career as an interpreter, teacher, or in nursing, you can use your ASL skills in nearly any field!

The Clemson University ASL Program faculty have been recognized by the Deaf Community both statewide and nationally for its unique offerings and native-signer services. Clemson University is actively invited to participate in numerous statewide meetings because of its unique relationship with the Deaf Community.


ASL-English Educational Interpreting Program

Background

American Sign Language (ASL) is the primary means of communication amongst individuals who are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing and is the third most-used language in the United States. Federal laws require school districts to provide a “free appropriate public education.” As a result, the number of students who are Deaf attending local schools has soared.

For students to fully participate in classroom activities, they need someone to interpret what they want to say to the teacher and the rest of the class, as well as to interpret what the teacher and other students are saying to them. An Educational Interpreter brings these two groups together and facilitates the child’s participation as an equal member of the class.

This prevailing increase of students attending local school has caused the need for sign language interpreters for educational settings to dramatically escalate. So much so, that it has led to a national, critical shortage of qualified ASL-English interpreters to work in public schools.

Educational interpreting requires individuals who enjoy working with children, are flexible, creative, and possess good manual and mental dexterity. Interpreting requires individuals enjoy working in a variety of settings and situations.

About the Program

The ASL-English Educational Interpreting program is an 18-credit hour undergraduate specialist certificate program designed to prepare students as entry-level interpreters to work with students who are Deaf in K-12 classrooms. Coursework focuses on interpreter processing skills, continued sign vocabulary development, the transfer of meaning between languages, as well as, a specialized focus on interpreting in the educational setting. Many Modern Languages: ASL majors also take this program to become specialists in educational interpreting. Entrance into the program requires demonstration of advanced ASL fluency.

What Courses Do I Need?

*ASL 3000 Fingerspelling and Numbers in ASL. Advanced development of the manual alphabet (fingerspelling) and the numerical system in American Sign Language, with extensive practice in both expressive and receptive skills.

*ASL 3150 Survey of Interpreting in Public Schools. Presents an overview of the ASL/English Interpreting Profession in public schools. Include discussions on the role, function, and aptitudes of educational interpreters, the bilingual and bicultural context, history of interpreting, principles of professional practice, laws that affect educational interpreting; and, analysis of the impact of classroom variables on accessibility and interpretability.

*ASL 3200 ASL-English Interpreting in Elementary Schools I 3(3,0) Introduces students to ASL-English interpreting in the elementary classroom. Includes analysis of the discursive features of elementary classrooms; translation of materials encountered in elementary classrooms; rendering of interpretations of elementary classroom discourse both consecutively and simultaneously; and assessment of the effectiveness of interpreted products. Preq: ASL 3150 or consent of instructor.

*ASL 3250 ASL-English Interpreting in Secondary Schools I 3(3,0) Introduces students to ASL-English interpreting in a high school classroom. Includes: analysis of the discursive features of several high school courses; translation of materials encountered in high school classrooms; rendering interpretations both consecutively and simultaneously; and assessment of the effectiveness of interpreted products. Preq: ASL 3150 or consent of instructor.

*ASL 4200 ASL-English Interpreting in Elementary Schools II 3(3,0) Continuation of ASL 320. Advanced analyses of elementary school curricular discourse; rendering interpretations of elementary school classroom discourse simultaneously; preparation and interpretation of presentations from second language into first language; and assessment of the effectiveness of interpreted products. Preq: ASL 3200 or consent of instructor.

*ASL 4250 ASL-English Interpreting in Secondary Schools II 3(3,0) A continuation of ASL 325. Advanced analyses of high school curricular discourse; rendering interpretations of high school classroom discourse simultaneously; pre-paring and interpreting presentations from second language into first language; and assessment of the effectiveness of interpreted products. Preq: ASL 3250 or consent of instructor.

What You Need To Know

The field of sign language interpreting is growing exponentially. The US Department of Labor projects the growth of interpreter and translator employment to be 23.6 percent between 2006 and 2016, compared to 10.36 percent for ALL occupations combined.

Passing the national Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA) above a 3.5 is an educational interpreter’s ultimate goal. Completion of the Clemson program helps to prepare students for this certification.


ASL Club

A key partner in the ASL Program at Clemson is the ASL Student Club. This student directed organization meets regularly and organizes events, guest lectures, socials and other colloquia bringing together the Deaf Community and Clemson ASL students! The ASL Student Club allows students to practice their ASL skills with native language users! Visit the American Sign Language Club of Clemson University on Facebook

ASL Student Activities

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ASL-English interpreting students provided a translation for the Department of Performing Arts production of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure on 22 February 2018 in the Brooks Theatre.  Pictured here are Jen Florian (senior) and Paige Jordan (senior) translating a part of the performance.

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ASL-English interpreting students provided a translation for the Department of Performing Arts production of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure on 22 February 2018 in the Brooks Theatre.  Pictured here are Kaeley Swofford (junior) and  Jen Florian (senior) translating a scene on opening night.

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Clemson University Educational Interpreting students attending the 2018 South Carolina Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf conference in Hilton Head, South Carolina from 23-25 February 2018.  Amongst interpreters from across South Carolina Pictured here are Rachel Jones (junior), Jen Florian (senior), Kaeley Swofford (junior), Greg Morris (junior), and Paige Jordan (senior) discussing semantics and pragmatics of American Sign Language (ASL).

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Clemson University Educational Interpreting students attending the 2018 South Carolina Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf conference in Hilton Head, South Carolina from 23-25 February 2018.  Pictured here are Savannah Klosowski (senior), Paige Jordan (senior), Lawrence Reed (alumni), Hallie Simmons (alumni), Professor Jason Hurdich (faculty) and Chloe Cardwell (alumni) discussing managing power and privilege as interpreters.

ASL News

Photos from the 2017 joint South Carolina Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (SC RID) and South Carolina American Sign Language Teachers Association (SC ASLTA) conference.  Seven Clemson students attended the conference along with three faculty members.

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Professor Misener Dunn discusses ASL depiction with Clemson students attending the 2017 South Carolina Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf conference.

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Professor Mikey Barrett discusses teaching linguistics with attendees at the 2017 South Carolina American Sign Language Teachers Association conference.

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Dr. Miako Rankin from Gallaudet University details how to best incorporate blending Constructed Action and Constructed Dialogue with Clemson ASL-English Educational Interpreting students.

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Clemson ASL student Paige Jordan, showcases her knowledge of lexical variation in ASL with professional interpreters attending the 2017 South Carolina Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf annual conference.

From 26-30 September, 2016 the Clemson ASL Club will be celebrating Deaf Awareness Week with numerous activities and events throughout the week. 
 

http://www.clemson.edu/caah/departments/languages/events/asl-daw.html

Previous News:

From 26-27 February, 2016, ASL-English Educational Interpreting students attended the annual South Carolina Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf annual conference.  This conference was conducted entirely in American Sign Language with keynote presentations by internationally known Dr. Debra Russell and Nigel Howard on co-interpreting methodologies.  Five current students also networked with several Clemson alumni and interpreters from across Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina at the conference.  Two Clemson alumni were elected to serve on the state Board of Directors for the next two year term.  The ASL-English Educational Interpreting program is designed to teach modern language majors how to interpret between ASL and English in K-12 classrooms for students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.

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