The University of Houston American Sign Language Interpreting (ASLI) program is designed to prepare undergraduates to be fluent in American Sign Language and to develop the skill and knowledge base needed to gain entry-level certification as a professional interpreter.
ASL is now the third most studied foreign language at universities, according to the Modern Language Association. This is reflected in the enrollment at the University of Houston - on average, there are over 300 students enrolled in ASLI courses each semester.
Interpreters facilitate communication between Deaf and Hearing individuals in a vast array of settings. Students that have been successful in this profession possess the following requisite abilities:
- The ability to display typical hearing, vision and speech capabilities, manual dexterity, limb, face and head movements, dual limb coordination, and physical stamina;
- The ability to maintain and display the following cognitive skills: critical thinking, , selective attention, auditory and visual attention, mental stamina, short-term memory retrieval, information ordering, deduction of pattern inference, and fluent delivery of message details;
- Cultural and linguistic knowledge (knowledge and mastery of both spoken and written English, knowledge and fluency in American Sign Language, knowledge and fluency in Pidgin Sign English (PSE), understanding of norms and values of both the English-speaking community and the Deaf community); and
- Professional attributes (such as social perceptiveness, independence, interpersonal skills, adaptability in the workplace, emotional control and stability, problem-solving, conflict resolution, time management, ethical behavior).