Courses in American Sign Language / English Interpreting

Courses may not be offered during every semester. To confirm course offerings for each semester, please use the Course Search.

Want to learn ASL?

The first four ASL classes are the place to start for non-native ASL students. The course sequence (ASL-A 131, ASL-A 132, ASL-A 211, and ASL-A 212) will help prepare you for basic ASL communication, and will also get you on the road to complete the Minor, or, combined with other coursework, to apply for the Interpreting Major or Certificate. If you have not studied ASL before, start with ASL-A 131. If you have experience with ASL or are a transfer student, you’ll start by taking a placement test. The placement test is required of all transfer students and students with ASL skills who have not previously taken an ASL class at IUPUI. Please contact Vera Masters for more information on the placement test. Native speakers of ASL may not take any of these first four courses.

Want to become an interpreter?

There is a great need for highly qualified interpreters in the Indianapolis area and the world beyond, and as such, the major and Certificate in ASL/English Interpreting is designed to satisfy that need with a rigorous program that will enable you, as a graduate, to interpret accurately and effectively.

Our faculty includes experienced professional interpreters, educators, researchers and consumers of interpreting services. The courses provided in this program will prepare you well for entry into this growing field.

Recommended Prerequisites

ENG Z205, Z206, or Director approval (3 credits)

An understanding of the basics of English linguistics is a requirement for acceptance into the program. ENG Z205 or 206 are recommended, however, other classes may be approved at the discretion of the Program Director.

Introductory Courses

ASL-A 131 First Year ASL I (4 cr.) Intensive introductory language sequence of courses. Recommended for students with prior training in American Sign Language or for prospective majors in Interpreting. Emphasis on developing basic conversational skills as well as awareness of deaf culture.

ASL-A 132 First Year ASL II II (4 cr.) P: ASL-A 131 or placement. Continuation of introductory ASL language course. Emphasis on receptive and expressive ASL skills as well as awareness of American Deaf Culture.

ASL-A 211 Second Year American Sign Language I (3 cr.) P: ASL-A 132 or placement. A continuation of training in ASL conversational skills and American Deaf culture.

ASL-A 212 Second Year American Sign Language II (3 cr.) P: ASL-A 211 or placement. A continuation of training in ASL conversational skills and American Deaf culture.

ASL-A 215 Advanced Fingerspell & Number Use in ASL (3 cr.) P: ASL-A 212 or placement. This course is an advanced class in fingerspelling, ASL’s unique number systems and other advanced grammatical features.  Emphasis is on expressive and receptive clarity and accuracy through intensive practice in comprehension and production.

ASL-A 219 History and Culture of the American Deaf Community (3 cr.) This course is designed for students who have completed ASL 211 or a Sign Language Proficiency Interview Placement since this course will be taught in ASL only.   During the course, students will be introduced to American Deaf culture and components of the American Deaf community including history, norms, rules of social interactions, values, traditions, and dynamics during the 19th and 20th centuries.  Educational, social, and political factors unique to the Deaf community will be explored, as well as community organizations, impact of technology, and emerging issues/trends.

ASL-A 221 Linguistics of ASL (3 cr.) This course introduces the scientific study of American Sign Language structure, history, and use.  Topics include American Sign Language and the structure of signs, words, sentences, and meanings; language use in culture and society; language changes over time; language acquisition and process; and structural variations in language.

Advanced Courses

ASL-I 305 Text Analysis (3 cr.) This course provides students with an introduction to cognitive processing, theory of translation, text analysis and models of interpretation.

ASL-I 361 Theory and Process of Interpreting I (3 cr.) P: Director’s permission. This is the first course in the professional skills preparation for interpreting. Students begin by analyzing texts for purpose, audience, linguistic features, and discourse structure. Students are taught discourse mapping and retelling texts in the same language. As students learn to analyze, they also learn how to evaluate adequate renditions.

ASL-I 363 Theory and Process of Interpreting II (3 cr.) P: Director’s permission. This is the second interpreting course that prepares students for the analytical skills needed to interpret. In this course, students continue their practice with inter-lingual mapping exercises. The greatest change is from an unlimited to a limited time for preparation and production of texts.

ASL-I 365 Theory and Process of Interpreting III (3 cr.) P: Director’s permission. This is the third and final course to prepare student to do simultaneous interpreting. In this course, students continue with mapping exercises, working towards interpreting unfamiliar texts, and evaluating interpretations. The greatest challenge is eliminating pausing.

ASL-I 370 Interpreting in the Healthcare Setting (3 cr.) P: ASL A212 or equivalent language skills This course will provide specific information on the interpreter’s role in the Healthcare setting. Emphasis is on exploring the following: requisite responsibilities, skills, and aptitudes for interpreters in the healthcare setting, as well as cultural issues and laws pertinent to healthcare interpreting. Students will develop a working ASL medical vocabulary, procedures and tests as well as a basic understanding of body systems There is also the possibility that students will be able to experience mock situations in the healthcare setting through collaboration with the School of Nursing and/or potentially observe actual healthcare interpreting with the instructor or other qualified interpreters.

ASL-I 405 Practicum (3 cr.) Students must be registered in ASL/EI Program and have program approval from director. An extensive practicum experience. Students will be placed at sites to experience several interpreting settings during the 15-week course. Students will be required to maintain a journal of their experiences and to meet with onsite practicum mentors and program faculty regularly throughout the course.

ASL-I 409 Topics in Interpreting (3 cr.) Focuses on a particular setting or genre, certification preparation, specialized area or discourse in interpreting. Topics may include interpreting medical texts, preparing deaf interpreters, deaf blind interpreting and others. Topics may vary from year to year.  May be repeated up to 4 times (12 credit hours) under different topics.

ASL-I 425 Independent Study (1-6 cr.) Students must be registered in ASL/EI Program and have program approval from director. Individual projects determined in consultation with instructor. Credit varies with scope of project.

ASL-L 340 Interpreting Discourse: ASL to English (3 cr.) This course focuses on the analysis of language use in different genres of spoken English so that interpreting students become explicitly aware of everyday language. Students collect, transcribe, and analyze features of conversations, lectures, explanations, interviews, descriptions, and other types of speech genres while reading and discussing theoretical notions underlying language use in English.

ASL-L 342 Interpreting Discourse: English to ASL (3 cr.) This course continues the introduction to discourse analysis, focusing on discourse in American Sign Language (ASL). Topics will include general discourse issues such as approaches to analysis, natural data analysis, technology for research in signed languages, and topics specific to ASL, including transcription in ASL, use of space and spatial mapping, involvement strategies, discourse structures and genres, cohesion and coherence, framing, and interaction strategies. One ongoing issue throughout the course will be the relevance to interpreting.

ASL-I 303 American Sign Language for Interpreters (3 cr.) This course is designed for students to continue improving their fluency in American Sign Language. Emphasis is on the ability to appropriately compose and produce a variety of discourse genres in ASL such as narratives, explanations, descriptions, expository talks, and others. There is an equal emphasis on comprehension. Students focus on features of language such prosody, markers, cohesive devices, involvement strategies and others.

More Info

For specific courses offered in a specific semester see the Schedule of Classes at Student Central.

Contact Vera Masters, Coordinator of ASL