Sign Language Interpretation

Connecting Language to Sight

“ASL: the eyes listen, the hands speak.”  Anonymous 

Who we are:

Skill, energy, and dedication are at the center of Quincy University’s Sign Language Interpreting major. With the help of QU’s skilled and experienced faculty, students join the in-demand field of professional interpreters. Communicate closely with the deaf community as you learn, connect and grow in understanding of the deaf culture.

When you observe a sign language interpreter at work, it’s easy to recognize the skill, energy, and dedication these professionals bring to their mission of communication. If you value the chance to provide a vital human connection and to grow with an expanding field, Quincy University’s Sign Language Interpretation Degree program is for you.

Sign language interpreters make communication accessible between hearing and Deaf or Hard of Hearing people. Interpreters listen to a spoken message and convert it into a visual message as well as converting the visual message back into a spoken message. A career in interpreting should appeal to those who have a special interest in language and communication and who enjoy working with people. ASL courses may be used to fulfill the foreign language requirement for a BA degree when approved by the specific program.

Expanding Horizons

The Interpreter Training program fully prepared me to have fluent conversations with members of the Deaf community. As a student, I was able to interpret in a wide range of settings such as medical, church, theater, and even on the field at Busch Stadium in St. Louis!
Ashley VanCamp '15, Admissions Counselor

Career Options:

Highly qualified interpreters are in great demand today, and, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field is poised to grow at a rapid pace. The Americans with Disabilities Act mandates full accessibility for people who are Deaf to all organizations serving the public; often that access mandates the service of a professional interpreter. Our graduates work in a variety of professions and settings, such as video relay services, schools, state agencies, workshops, meetings, theaters, hospitals, mental health centers, social workers, courts, businesses, churches, and other organizations. If you are looking for a career that combines extraordinary opportunity with an unparalleled chance to serve others, the field of interpreting offers challenging roles for today and professional growth for a satisfying future.

Active Learning Opportunities:

Quincy’s focus on practical experience in the workplace is a distinct benefit of the learning process. Through our program, you’ll experience at least 150 hours in the field. Interpreting situations are created for students including mock counseling sessions, interviews and legal settings so that students can practice before entering the field.  Under the supervision of a certified professional interpreter, you’ll apply your knowledge and skills in a variety of authentic settings including education, business, and public service agencies.

You’ll also get signing experience in Quincy’s American Sign Language/Interpreting Lab, which is available for individual student use as well as teacher-directed activities. The ASL/Interpreting Lab is equipped with individual work stations, audio/video equipment, and separate videotaping rooms. The Lab features 12 televisions with DVD players. Two computer stations are available for in-class feedback, for research and web-based receptive practice. Your work in the lab, including videotaping your performance, will enhance and strengthen your skills in preparation for the Interpreter’s certification tests.

Students and faculty interact with Deaf Community members on and off campus.   Events are held on campus for the students to learn from native ASL users.  Monthly Deaf Club meetings are attended by students off campus in order to experience the Deaf community.  Students and faculty attend workshops and conferences with the Deaf community and with professional interpreters

Where we are going/ Looking Ahead:

Since July 2012, the Registered Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) began to require an interpreter to hold a Bachelor’s Degree in order to become nationally certified. Quincy University is one of three schools in Illinois to offer a four year degree in Sign Language Interpreting.  Professors are dedicated to help students prepare for certification written and performance tests.

Great Results:

Students complete a portfolio of their interpreting work to show perspective employers.  The students create a DVD or a personal website with samples of their work.  Students have been offered jobs before graduation from schools and agencies.

Possible Career Path Opportunities:

  • Community Interpreter
  • Educational Interpreter
  • Medical Interpreter
  • Mental Health Interpreter
  • Legal Interpreter
  • Deaf-Blind Interpreter
  • Performance Interpreter
  • Conference Interpreter
  • Staff Interpreter
  • Video Relay Interpreter
  • Interpreter Coordinator
  • Para-Educator


Fun Fact: In February 2017, QU Interpreting students teamed with Quincy Community Theater to perform the premier of Disney's Tarzan ASL version.

There’s no application fee when you apply online.

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