American Sign Language Interpreting

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American Sign Language Interpreting at a glance

North Central’s American Sign Language Interpreting major is the only fully self-contained interpreter training degree program among Assemblies of God colleges. You’ll gain knowledge and experience in interpreting, deaf culture, and American Sign Language, preparing you to succeed in a variety of careers. When you graduate with an American Sign Language degree, you’ll be ready to use your linguistic and cultural skills, knowledge of cross-cultural perspectives, and Christian worldview to facilitate communication and understanding between Deaf and non-Deaf people. Learn more about the American Sign Language degree below!

What sets us apart

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Deaf Churches, ministries, and missions

Share your love for Christ in local, national, and global deaf ministries.

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Use your passion for deaf culture to share the Gospel

During your time at North Central, you’ll be encouraged to share your love for Christ and use your American Sign Language interpreting skills to spread the Gospel in deaf churches, ministries, and missions organizations. Here are some possibilities:

Adventist Deaf Ministries
A ministry that offers Bible School resources, evangelism and outreach tools, training and workshops. They also offer simple reading printed materials that can be ordered off their website.

Bible Church Deaf Ministries

Deaf Family Ministry
Established in 1995 and located in Springfield, Virginia. According to their website, “Deaf Family Ministries is an international, nonprofit and Biblically based ministry dedicated to deaf people and their families. Our mission is to provide teaching that wins people to Christ, helps deaf people and their families grow in their relationship with Christ and each other and builds deaf ministries and churches.”

Deaf Institute
A ministry that serves three main areas within the Deaf community: 1) Churches interested in starting Deaf ministry, 2) Deaf adults and children, 3) Parents of deaf children. Several ways they accomplish this is by providing training in Deaf Culture, Sign Language, Interpreting, and more.

Deaf Video Communications of America
This ministry offers a free video lending library of over 200 Christian video tapes that are either captioned or in ASL. They also have skilled personnel and professional equipment to aid anyone in Deaf ministry who desires to make quality, professional video programs.

International Institute of Deaf Services (IIDS)
According to their website, the mission of IIDS is “to train leaders and educators both deaf and hearing, interpreters and workers with the deaf to evangelize, obtain skill development in American Sign Language and Deaf Culture, technology and religious training.”

Silent Blessings
A nonprofit Christian outreach and evangelistic organization consisting of both Deaf and hearing Christians. Their website states: “We come from many walks of life but we all have one thing in common – a love for the Lord Jesus Christ. Because we love Him so much, we want to see ALL men, women, and children come to know and to love Him.” There mission is to bring the hope of Christ to the Deaf community, and they accomplish this by advocating on behalf of Deaf ministries, educating hearing churches about spiritual needs of the Deaf community, and creating ministry resources and materials.

Silent Word Ministries
According to their website, “Silent World Ministries, established in 1966, is a missionary – evangelistic outreach to deaf people, families and churches; writing and printing fundamental Bible materials that can be trusted. Our goal is to win people to Christ, to help build deaf ministries; to establish deaf ministries; to strengthen deaf people into mature Christians with sound Bible literature. We are a fundamental, non-profit, tax-exempt ministry to the deaf.

Bible Translation for Sign Language
Want to find out what Wycliffe Bible Translators and SIL International are doing with Sign Languages in other countries? Want to get involved in the work? Check out this organization.

D.O.O.R. (Deaf Opportunity Out Reach) International
A non-denominational Christian organization whose main purpose is to train and send deaf missionaries all over the world.

Deaf Harvest International
Offers a listing of overseas missionaries to the Deaf.

Deaf Missionaries
Provides a list and contact information of Deaf overseas missionaries.

Deaf Missions
Founded in 1970 and today serves over 50 denominations in more than 50 nations by providing quality resources (ie: Bible in ASL) and programs. Their mission statement is “To effectively minister the gospel of Jesus Christ to deaf people.”

Maharashtra Deaf Fellowship of India
Check out this ministry that exists for the sole purpose of sharing the Gospel with the deaf in India.

National Deaf Culture Fellowship
An Assemblies of God national fellowship for the deaf and hard of hearing population. They offer camps, retreats, conventions and other forms of deaf culture fellowship.

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Deaf organizations and events

We’re active in organizations and attend events for the deaf community.

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Get involved in the deaf community

Our program is active in local and national deaf organizations and we encourage our students to get connected, get involved, and attend events. Here are some resources to help you find organizations and events you might be interested in.

Conference of Interpreter Trainers (CIT)
Provides opportunities for the professional development of interpreter educators. Serves as a vehicle for sharing information among interpreter educators; Promotes high standards in institutions, faculties, programs and curricula for the education of interpreters. Advocates for research relevant to the practice and instruction of interpretation. Encourages collegial relationships with professionals in other related disciplines and organizations.

Minnesota Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division
The following is a sample of what the Minnesota Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division (DHHS) offers to the deaf community. Information regarding each category can be accessed on their website, as well as contact information for further inquiry.

  • Hearing loss and available services
  • Deaf blind services
  • Sensitivity and awareness training
  • Resource and demonstration labs
  • Telephone equipment
  • Community events
  • FAQs
  • Employment

Minnesota Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (MRID)
Minnesota Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (MRID) is a non-profit organization of professional interpreters, consumers, and interested persons, established in Minnesota. According to their website, the MRID’s mission is “to provide state and local forums and an organizational structure for the continued growth and development of the professions of interpretation and transliteration of American Sign Language and English.” The MRID website contains information on membership, committees, Continuing Education workshops, contact information and more.

National Association of the Deaf (NAD)
National Association of the Deaf (NAD) is a private, non-profit organization, established in 1880, whose main mission is “safeguarding the accessibility and civil rights of 28 million deaf and hard of hearing Americans in education, employment, health care, and telecommunications.” As their website maintains, in order to support its mission, the NAD provides programs and activities for the following categories:

  • Grassroots advocacy and empowerment
  • Captioned media
  • Certification of American Sign Language professionals
  • Certification of sign language interpreters
  • Deafness-related information and publications
  • Legal assistance
  • Policy development and research
  • Public awareness
  • Youth leadership development

Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID)
RID advocates for the increased quality, qualifications, and quantity of interpreters through our three main triad of services:

  • Professional Certification through our National Testing System (NTS)
  • Professional development through our Certification Maintenance Program (CMP) and Associate Continuing Education Tracking (ACET)
  • Promoting our Code of Ethics through our Ethical Practices System (EPS)

You may be asking yourself, “Why should I care about RID? What’s the big deal?”

First of all, RID is “the only national, professional organization that represents the needs and concerns of interpreters. RID has a slate of committees on everything from Professional Standards to Legislative Issues. [They] also actively participate in the Council of Organizational Representatives (COR), which provides a forum for public policy issues related to people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. Through COR, RID has taken stands on important issues such as the education of Deaf and Hard of Hearing children and health care reform (http://www.rid.org).”

In other words, if you’re pursuing a career as an interpreter, you will run across the RID frequently. If you become a member of RID (students are welcome!), many benefits will follow. For information on these benefits and how to join, again, visit the RID website.

Twin Cities Deaf community
Here you’ll find a current listing and helpful information on plays, social gatherings, retreats, and other deaf events in the Twin Cities area.

One-of-a-kind program

North Central’s interpreter preparation program is the only degree of its kind.

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Prepare to be an American Sign Language Interpreter in our one-of-a-kind program

North Central’s American Sign Language Interpreting program is the only fully self-contained interpreter training degree program among Assemblies of God colleges.

In the fall of 1969, North Central University launched the NCU Deaf Studies Program including the American Sign Language degree. The vision and purpose was to provide a vehicle whereby Deaf men and women could be prepared to establish indigenous Deaf churches and ministries both at home and abroad. The program started as a three-year diploma program and has grown into its current status-a four-year Bachelor of Arts program. Most recently the program has been reshaped, and now prepares students to work in the field of sign language interpreting offering a major in ASL interpreting and a minor in Deaf Cultural Studies.

Our faculty are experienced, knowledgeable, and passionate about this field. They’re both active in the deaf community and regularly speak at national events and conferences. They’ll be your mentors and guides as you follow your calling to be an example of Christ as a cross- cultural communicator serving the deaf community.

  • Skills

    When you graduate from the American Sign Language Interpreting program, you’ll be prepared with:

    • Interpersonal cross-cultural communication skills
    • An understanding of the significant role of the interpreter as a liaison between two distinct people groups
    • Proficient sign language expressive and receptive skills
    • The skills and knowledge to take the entry-level exam of the certifying body of your choice
    • Basic business skills to help establish your own freelancing business
    • A commitment to ongoing spiritual and professional development
    • Readiness to take the written exam toward national interpreter certification
  • Careers

    American American Sign Language Interpreters are in high-demand, and the field is growing. Here are some resources to help you find careers and job openings.

    Minnesota Work Force Center
    This site is a great tool to discover what jobs are available in the state of Minnesota. The Minnesota Work Force Center is easily accessible and dedicated to finding jobs for people in all fields of work.

    NAD Website
    Visit the NAD website for a current listing of job opportunities around the U.S.

    RID Website
    RID is another great link to obtain a current listing of job openings in the interpreting field.

    Conference of Interpreter Trainers (CIT)
    The Conference of Interpreter Trainers (CIT) offers information regarding employment opportunities for educational interpreters.

    Deaftek.org
    This site provides a current posting of sign language interpreter employment opportunities around the United States.

  • Professional development

    We encourage our students to take every opportunity they can for professional development. Here are some options:

    Digiterp Communications
    workshops for students interested in American Sign Language.

    ITP (Interpreter Training Program) Directory
    The current directory of all the Interpreter Training Programs in the United States.

    Minnesota Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf
    For information on quality interpreting workshops offered in the state of Minnesota, visit this site and click under “Continuing Education.”

  • Supporting programs

    We want you to be well-rounded and well-prepared when you graduate, so you’ll have the opportunity to choose a minor or supporting program so you can explore another area of interest. Here are some possibilities:

    • Alcohol & Drug Counseling
    • Campus Missions
    • Children’s & Family Ministries
    • Deaf Culture Studies
    • Evangelism & Church Planting
    • Intercultural Studies
    • Leadership Development
    • Urban Studies
    • Youth Ministries

    See the full list of minors and supporting programs.

American Sign Language Interpreter Preparation student Annalise Schroeder.
Current Student

Annalise Schroeder '16
New London, WI

"The ASL Interpreting department has, in so many ways, prepared me for my future. There is a strong push to go out into the Deaf community while we are still students, as well as to begin building our network in the interpreting field and establishing ourselves."

North Central alum Mandie Garcia.
Current Student

Mandie Garcia '16
Brea, CA

"My program has helped develop my skills as well as feel prepared and eager to enter my field. Through internships, I have had the opportunity to experience the day-to-day responsibilities of an interpreter. My professors have shown me the realities of the field while teaching me how to engage in it as a Christian."

Learn more about the American Sign Language degree at North Central University

Requirements

All students must complete the General Education Core and Biblical Studies Core. General electives may be added or an optional minor may be selected. You need 124 total credit hours to complete the American Sign Language Interpreter Preparation degree.

Meet one of your professors

Faculty Member William Ross

Contact

wfross@northcentral.edu
612.343.4797
T.J. Jones Library, office 303

William F. Ross III

Associate Professor

What are your areas of expertise?

Research—I feel that teaching and studying the most current trends in our profession enable me to prepare students to be the best they can be!

What do you love about teaching at North Central?

It affords me the opportunity to talk about the great passions in my life: God, ASL Interpreting, and family. I am blessed to work in a place with tremendous colleagues and I am free to talk about God and how our faith is relevant in the marketplace.

What are your favorite classes to teach?

Ethics and Decision Making and Interpreting Theory