Prepare for state-level screening or national Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf certification

  • About this program

    Our Sign Language Interpretation program is the oldest accredited bachelor degree program in the nation. We offer a specialized, in-depth program with a national reputation for quality. The program is guided by the premise that deaf people, as a linguistic minority, possess their own cultural values, literature, history, traditions and social conventions. Interpretation requires bilingual and bicultural competence in spoken English and American Sign Language.

    The Sign Language Interpretation students build a theoretical foundation in ASL/English interpretation and prepare for either state-level interpreter screening or national Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) interpreter certification, depending on students’ skill level and experience.

    Students also develop skills such as sustained powers of concentration, versatility in dealing with a variety of people and content areas, fast-thinking and excellent communication skills in the respective languages. Students seeking to become interpreters receive a foundation in American Sign Language, Deaf culture and the interpretation process.

    Students often choose elective courses in linguistics, sociology, communication and psychology and gain a thorough grounding in the liberal arts through the University’s Discovery program.

    Graduates have a varied and flexible academic base that prepares them for specialty areas in interpretation or related fields of graduate study such as psychology, communication, linguistics, sociology and anthropology. Graduates may pursue careers in ASL/English interpretation, Deaf education, rehabilitation, health care, audiology, social work, counseling and the media.

    For more information contact Jack Hoza, program director, at 603-641-4143 or jack.hoza@unh.edu; or contact the Office of Admissions.

    Accreditation and Recognition

    The Sign Language Program at UNH Manchester has developed a national reputation for quality. In 2007, the program became the first interpreting program in the nation to be accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education (CCIE). In 1999, the program became the first interpreting program in the country to be found in compliance with the National Interpreter Education Standards of the Conference of Interpreter Trainers (CIT). UNH Manchester also houses one of northern New England’s most comprehensive collections of books and media materials on sign language interpretation.

  • Program of Study

    Students must complete 64 credits in the major, 40 credits in the University’s Discovery program and 24 credits in elective courses. Students must complete 64 credits with a grade of C or better. Students who earn less than a C on a particular course may repeat that course only once. Students must achieve a GPA of 2.5 or better in major courses and must pass both ASL 531 and INTR 630 with at least a B- (or successfully demonstrate competence in American Sign Language and consecutive interpretation, respectively). Transfer students must complete a minimum of eight SLI courses at UNH Manchester.

    Course Sequencing

    First Year

    Fall Semester
    ASL 435
    INTR 438
    Inquiry Course
    ENGL 401

    Spring Semester
    ASL 436
    INTR 430
    Quantitative Reasoning Course
    Discovery Course

    Second Year

    Fall Semester
    ASL 531
    INTR 439
    Discovery Course
    Discovery Course

    Spring Semester
    ASL 532
    INTR 540
    INTR 539 or Discovery Course
    Discovery Course

    Third Year

    Fall Semester
    ASL 621
    INTR 630
    Discovery Course
    Elective Course

    Spring Semester
    ASL 622
    INTR 636
    INTR 539 or Discovery Course
    Discovery Course

    Fourth Year

    Fall Semester
    INTR 734
    INTR 732
    Discovery Course
    Elective Course

    Spring Semester
    INTR 735
    Elective Course
    Elective Course
    Elective Course

    Required Courses

    Language Courses
    ASL 435, American Sign Language I
    ASL 436, American Sign Language II
    ASL 531, American Sign Language III
    ASL 532, American Sign Language IV
    ASL 621, Advanced ASL Discourse I
    ASL 622, Advanced ASL Discourse II

    Culture and Linguistic Courses
    INTR 438, A Sociocultural Perspective on the Deaf Community
    INTR 539, Comparative Linguistic Analysis for Interpreter

    Interpreting Courses
    INTR 430, Introduction to Interpretation
    INTR 439, Ethics & Professional Standards for Interpreters
    INTR 540, Principles and Practice of Translation
    INTR 630, Principles and Practice of Consecutive Interpretation
    INTR 636, Principles and Practice of Simultaneous Interpretation
    INTR 732, Simultaneous Interpretation of Discussions, Speeches and Reports
    INTR 734, Field Experience and Seminar I
    INTR 735, Field Experience and Seminar II

  • Capstone

    The Capstone Experience in the Bachelor of Science degree program in Sign Language Interpretation (SLI) is met by the INTR 735 Field Experience and Seminar II course, which is a senior-level course and the last in the sequence of courses required for the major. This course meets the following two criteria of the Capstone Experience for this major (also see the course description below):

    -- The capstone synthesizes and applies disciplinary knowledge and skills.
    -- The capstone demonstrates emerging professional competencies.

    INTR 735. Field Experience and Seminar II

    Gives students the opportunity to gain supervised interpreting experience. Students engage in actual interpreting assignments and receive support and mentorship from professional interpreters, enabling them to integrate knowledge, theoretical understanding, and skills acquired in the interpreting program. Students work closely with on-site supervisors (interpreters) in addition to attending a biweekly seminar with the UNH Manchester field experience coordinator.
    Prereq: INTR 734. 4 cr.

  • Minor

    American Sign Language and Deaf Studies Minor

    To earn a minor in American Sign Language and Deaf Studies, students must complete 24 credits, with no individual grade lower than C-. Students must take the following courses
    ASL 435, American Sign Language I
    ASL 436, American Sign Language II
    INTR 438, A Sociocultural Perspective on the Deaf Community

    Three Elective Courses Chosen from the Following
    ASL 531, American Sign Language III
    ASL 532, American Sign Language IV
    INTR 539, Comparative Linguistic Analysis for Interpreters
    ASL 599, Special Topics in ASL/Deaf Studies
    ASL 621, Advanced ASL Discourse I
    ASL 622, Advanced ASL Discourse II

  • Facilities & Equipment

    American Sign Language Lab

    The video lab allows students to videotape their use of ASL, as well as their ASL/English interpreting work. Given that ASL is a visual language, videotaping is the best way for advanced ASL and interpreting students to practice and receive feedback.

    Relevant videos, computers, and video cameras are housed in the lab for students' ASL and interpreting practice. For example, students sometimes videotape themselves interpreting assigned online videos.

  • Faculty

    staff photo

    Jack Hoza

    Program Director and Professor
    Sign Language Interpretation
    Humanities Division
    University Center
    603-641-4143
    Jack.Hoza@unh.edu

    staff photo

    Patrick F. McCarthy

    Assistant Director of the Sign Language Interpretation Program and Lecturer of American Sign Language.
    Sign Language Interpretation
    Humanities Division
    University Center

    • videophone with interpreter: 866-299-8521
    • voice: 603-641-4168
    • fax: 603-641-4303

    Patrick.McCarthy@unh.edu

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Q: What is Interpretation?
    A: Interpretation refers to the process of conveying thoughts and ideas produced in one language into another language while maintaining the same meaning and dynamic equivalence. The languages in question may be spoken or signed, but the defining characteristic is the live and immediate transmission of meaning, and this meaning is dependent upon the participants, the situation, and the communicative intent of the speakers. Interpretation requires bilingual fluency and bicultural knowledge and sensibilities, as the interpreter must capture and convey nuances of both language and culture.

    The interpreter must be able to move rapidly from one sphere of knowledge to another - from the medical field to politics to education, for example. Interpretation requires sustained powers of concentration, versatility in dealing with a variety of people and content areas, fast-thinking, and excellent communication skills in the respective languages.

    The Sign Language Interpretation Program at UNH Manchester provides students with a strong theoretical foundation as a generalist in ASL/English interpretation and helps prepare students for either state-level interpreter screening or national Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) interpreter certification, depending on students' skill level and experience. Graduates may go on to pursue specialty areas in interpretation or related fields of study.

    Q: I read that the program has been accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education (CCIE). What does that really mean?

    A: The CCIE has the authority to accredit interpreter education programs throughout the United States based on established national interpreter education standards. The program engaged in an extensive Self-Study Review process, in which the program addressed questions related to faculty, curriculum, and institutional support and resources. After reviewing the Self-Study Review, the CCIE sent a team of program reviewers to conduct a site visit, in which the team met with faculty, administration, students, and others to review the relative strengths and weaknesses of the program. At the end of the site visit in 2007, the CCIE determined that the program met the standards for accreditation. The program was the first of only a handful of interpreting programs in the nation to be accredited by CCIE.

    Q: I have heard of some two-year programs in interpretation. Why is your program a four-year program?

    A: Our Program is founded on the premise that the act of interpretation involves bilingual fluency, bicultural sensitivities, and a good understanding of the interpreting process itself. To this end, the program was designed to provide students with a strong foundation and basic competencies in these areas. If you could imagine a program in Spanish/English interpretation, students would need to study Spanish for several years, then study and engage in the practice of interpretation (conveying what others are saying). This is also true of ASL/English interpretation. Therefore, we have found that a four-year program allows students to gain basic competencies in both the theory and practice of interpretation.

    Q: What if I already hold a Bachelor's or Master's degree (or other advanced degree)?

    A: For students who already hold a Bachelor's degree or higher, the Program offers those students a second Bachelor's degree (a Bachelor of Science) in Sign Language Interpretation (SLI). To receive this second Bachelor's, students must meet the requirements for the SLI major (64 credits) and, in addition, must meet the requirements of the University's Discovery, or general education, program. Courses taken for a previous degree may count toward this requirement. Most students with a Bachelor's or Master's degree will find that they either have already met the Discovery requirements of UNH or may need to take a few courses to meet UNH's requirements.

    Q: What if I have previous college coursework or hold an Associate's degree?

    A: Students who have previous college coursework or who already hold an Associate's degree will meet with someone in the Admissions Office to determine the number of transfer credits that they can be awarded for their previous coursework. At that point, the number of transfer credits (for the general education program and elective courses) can be determined; the transfer of ASL, Deaf Studies, and interpretation courses are determined by the SLI Program. All UNH students must have at least 128 credits in order to graduate with a Bachelor's degree. Transfer students and those entering a Bachelor's program with an Associate's degree sometimes find that they exceed the 128 required credits for graduation because of the length of the major (64 credits) and their need to complete the Discovery (general education) requirements of the University.

    Q: Can I complete the program in two or three years if I already have college credits or a college degree?

    A: Students who have previous college coursework or who already hold a degree will find that they will still need three or four years to complete the Program, depending on their previous coursework or experience. The Program is sequenced to focus on ASL/Deaf Studies for the first two and one-half years and to focus on interpretation for the second two and one-half years (with an overlap in between). Students may either complete the program on a full-time basis or a part-time basis.

    Q: I already sign fluently. Can I complete the program much earlier?

    A: For those students who already have some fluency in ASL due to previous coursework, experiences in the Deaf community, or from having Deaf family members, the Program requires an ASL assessment to determine appropriate placement in the Program. This is true for those who are relatively new to ASL as well as those who have been signing all their lives. It is important to note here that the advanced ASL courses (ASL III, ASL IV, and Advanced ASL Discourse) focus on the linguistics of ASL as well as fluency in the language, thus fluency in ASL is not the only criteria for determining placement in the ASL sequence of courses. You may contact Jack Hoza, Program Coordinator, for an ASL assessment.

    Q: If I already hold a degree in interpretation from another institution, can I be admitted to this program?

    A: The Program has had students complete the Program who have already completed a shorter interpreting program elsewhere. Those who have completed a two-year program in interpreting may find that some of the freshman or sophomore level courses (in ASL, Deaf culture, and interpretation) may be waived and that they can benefit from the additional training provided in the upper level courses of the four-year program. Which courses may be waived is determined on a case by case basis. See Jack Hoza, Director of the Program, for more information. For students who already have already completed a program in interpretation or are working interpreters, the Program generally provides enough one-on-one and small group attention to be flexible enough to help meet the goals and needs of more experienced students.

    Q: Do I have to know how to sign before being admitted into the SLI Program?

    A: In short, no. The Program includes six semester courses in American Sign Language (ASL) as part of the major, as well as one course related to Deaf culture. The Program's assumption is that students do not know any ASL when they enter the Program. At the same time, those who have taken coursework in ASL at another institution are encouraged to apply. These students have the opportunity to have ASL courses waived by way of program evaluation. You may contact Jack Hoza, Program Coordinator, for an ASL assessment.

    Q: If I took ASL elsewhere, will UNHM accept my credits?

    A: Credits for language courses are never automatically accepted regardless of where the courses were taken - including UNH-Durham. Students who wish to have any ASL courses waived must make an appointment with Jack Hoza, Program Coordinator, for an assessment to determine the most appropriate placement within the SLI sequence of courses. Note: An ASL assessment is required for anyone who wishes to minor in ASL/Deaf Studies, major in SLI, or take ASL II or above at UNHM.

    Q: I haven't been to college for many years (or have never been to college). Will this count against me?

    A: UNH-Manchester is the University's commuter college located at 400 Commercial Street in Manchester, NH. The college is ideally suited for both traditional college students and those returning to college. You can contact the Admissions Office to discuss the process for admission and for support services for non-traditional students.

    Q: Where do interpreters work?

    A: Interpreters work wherever Deaf and non-Deaf people meet. This includes, for example, work-related meetings and trainings, medical appointments, educational activities, legal situations, board meetings, town hall meetings, performances, and mental health settings. Interpreters in New Hampshire generally are self-employed and get interpreting assignments from a referral agency. Some interpreters also work as a staff interpreter within a social service agency, mental health setting, or school setting. State and federal law requires equal access for those who are Deaf, and the state of New Hampshire requires that interpreters hold an interpreting license to interpret in the community. The demand for interpreting services is high; there is a great need for qualified interpreters in New Hampshire and throughout the country.

    Q: What housing options are available at UNHM?

    A: Being that UNHM is the University's commuter college, it does not have dormitories on its Manchester campus; however, there are some housing options. Current information on housing is available from the Admissions Office.

    Q: Does ASL meet the foreign language requirement at the University?

    A: Yes. ASL meets the foreign language requirement. The ASL courses at UNHM are taught by qualified Deaf teachers (or native signers) who use the immersion approach to teach ASL, using the VISTA: Signing Naturally curriculum as a basis. The focus of these courses is on the visual nature of ASL, the linguistic features of the language, and spoken English is not allowed in ASL courses.

    Q: I just want to learn to sign. Do I have to take the whole interpreting major?

    A: Learning to sign and learning to interpret are two different tasks. Students can take ASL and Deaf Studies courses at UNHM for their own enrichment without pursuing the B.S. in SLI. Please contact Program Director Jack Hoza, Program Coordinator, or the Admissions Office with questions.

    Q: What kinds of events does the SLI Program offer?

    A: The SLI Program offers several opportunities outside the classroom for both ASL students and SLI majors. First, the program offers a series of ASL lectures which are generally free and open to the public. Second, the Program sponsors an ASL Club which is involved in Deaf community events and language enrichment activities. Third, the program provides tutors in ASL and in interpretation for students who wish additional support in those areas. Fourth, the Program occasionally offers special topics courses or workshops in ASL, Deaf studies, and interpretation to focus on particular areas of interest or current issues.

  • Advisory Board

    Sign Language Interpretation (SLI) Program Advisory Board

    Committee Membership (representatives from the following organizations & agencies):

    • New Hampshire Association of the Deaf (NHAD) -- Thomas Minch, President
    • New Hampshire Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (NHRID) -- Lianne Moccia, President
    • Program for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing /Dept. of Ed. (DOE) -- H. Dee Clanton, State Coordinator
    • Northeast Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (NDHHS) -- Susan Wolf-Downes, Director
    • Granite State Independent Living (GSIL) -- Madeline Olio Ruano, Services Coordinator for the Deaf
    • Manchester Deaf & Hard of Hearing Program -- Mike Wallace, Program Coordinator
    • Student representative, UNH Manchester, SLI major -- Jola Leary
    • Graduate representative, UNH Manchester -- Molly Shellenberger
  • Course Sequence

    The following is an example of a course sequence. The sequence may vary depending upon a student's academic history and transfer credits. Students should contact their academic advisor with specific questions.

    First Year

    Fall Semester
    UMST, First Year Seminar
    ASL 435, American Sign Language I
    INTR 438, A Sociocultural Perspective on the Deaf Community
    ENGL 401, First Year Writing
    Discovery Course

    Spring Semester
    ASL 436, American Sign Language II
    INTR 430, Introduction to Interpretation
    Quantitative Reasoning Course
    Discovery Course

    Second Year

    Fall Semester
    ASL 531, American Sign Language III
    INTR 439, Ethics & Professional Standards for Interpreters
    Discovery Course
    Discovery Course

    Spring Semester
    ASL 532, American Sign Language IV
    INTR 540, Principles and Practice of Translation
    INTR 539, Comparative Linguistic Analysis for Interpreters, or a
    Discovery Course
    Discovery Course

    Third Year

    Fall Semester
    ASL 621, Advanced ASL Discourse I
    INTR 630, Principles and Practice of Consecutive
    Interpretation
    Discovery Course
    Elective Course

    Spring Semester
    ASL 622, Advanced ASL Discourse II
    INTR 636, Principles and Practice of Simultaneous
    Interpretation
    INTR 539, Comparative Linguistic Analysis for Interpreters, or a
    Discovery Course
    Elective Course

    Fourth Year

    Fall Semester
    INTR 734, Field Experience and Seminar I
    INTR 732, Simultaneous Interpretation of Discussions,
    Speeches, and Reports
    Elective Course
    Elective Course

    Spring Semester
    INTR 735, Field Experience and Seminar II
    Elective Course
    Elective Course
    Elective Course

  • Student Stories

  • Course Descriptions

    Click on each course title to read the full description. For all courses offered at our campus, click here

      ASL 435 - American Sign Language I

      Introduction to American Sign Language with emphasis on visual receptive and expressive use of language, as well as providing opportunities for other forms for visual communication such as facial expression, mime, and gesture. Participants develop their skills through videotapes, classroom participation, and readings that cover issues important to the Deaf community. A weekly, one-hour language laboratory is required as part of this course. Limited to 15 students. Special fee. No credit if credit has been received for COMM 533.
      Credits: 4

      ASL 436 - American Sign Language II

      Continuation of ASL 435 and expansion on concepts and principles. Focus on more advanced vocabulary and patterns of grammar; use of space and modulation of signs to denote aspects of time and location; and additional information on Deaf culture. A weekly one-hour language laboratory is required as part of this course. Prereq: ASL 435 or program evaluation. Limited to 15 students. No credit if credit has been received for COMM 733.
      Credits: 4

      ASL 531 - American Sign Language III

      Continuation of ASL 436. Expands on the groundwork and grammatical principles established in ASL I and II. Introduces the sociolinguistic aspects of ASL as it functions within the Deaf cultural context. Limited to 15 students. Prereq: ASL 436 or program evaluation.
      Credits: 4

      ASL 532 - American Sign Language IV

      Continuation of ASL 531. Expands on the groundwork and grammatical principles established in ASL I, II and III. Introduces the sociolinguistic aspects of ASL as it functions within the Deaf cultural context. Areas of investigation include use of formal versus informal sign register; sign variation by region, age, and gender; social factors that give rise to code switching; and political and cultural evolution of the U.S. Deaf community. Taught in the target language using the direct experience method. Prereq: ASL 531 or program evaluation. Limited to 15 students.
      Credits: 4

      ASL 599 - Special Topics in American Sign Language/Deaf Studies

      Selected topics related to American Sign Language and deaf studies that vary by semester. Description available in departmental office during preregistration. May be repeated for credit (maximum of 8 credits) if topics differ.
      Credits: 4

      ASL 621 - Advanced American Sign Language Discourse I

      Focuses on the use of ASL discourse in formal as well as informal settings. Students explore the genres of public speaking, artistic expression, formal discussion, interview, and narrative. Development of ASL vocabulary in specialized areas not covered in previous courses. Prereq: ASL 532.
      Credits: 4

      ASL 622 - American Sign Language Discourse II

      In this advanced ASL course, students will advance their ASL proficiency by focusing on vocabulary, syntax, and discourse related to the following topics: 1) biological/medical, 2) financial, 3) technical/mechanical, and 4) cross-cultural comparisons and issues. The cross-cultural topic, in particular, will be a focus throughout the semester. Students work in small assigned groups, on a rotating basis, in which they research and develop speeches on the four topics mentioned above. The class requires both in-class feedback and out-if-class work. Prereq: INTR 438 and ASL 621.
      Credits: 4

      INTR 430 - Introduction to Interpretation

      A survey of traditional and contemporary perspectives on interpretation and interpreters; introduces the cognitive processes involved in interpretation and factors that influence those processes. Several models of interpretation explored. Particular attention is given to interpretation as an intercultural, as well as interlingual, process. Students also engage in a research project related to course content.
      Credits: 4

      INTR 438 - A Sociocultural Perspective

      Theoretical issues of culture and linguistics applied to Deaf culture, American Sign Language, and the variety of cultural perspectives of the Deaf community. Students also engage in a research project related to course content. Pre- or coreq: ENGL 401. Writing intensive
      Credits: 4

      INTR 439 - Ethics & Professional Standards for Interpreters

      Seminar course using readings, theory, and discussion of hypothetical situations and role plays to explore ethical standards and dilemmas in ASL-English interpretation. Covers personal and professional values, ethics and morality; professional principles; power, responsibility and group dynamics; the interpreter’s role; cross-cultural issues; and the decision-making process. Students engage in a research project related to course content. Prereq: INTR 430. Writing intensive.
      Credits: 4

      INTR 539 - Comparative Linguistic Analysis for Interpreters

      Examines the basic similarities and differences between the linguistic structure of American Sign Language and spoken English; focuses on each language’s communication functions and how they serve those functions. Students engage in a research project related to course content. Coreq: ASL 532.
      Credits: 4

      INTR 540 - Principles and Practice of Translation

      Introduction to theory and practice of translation. Students analyze pre-prepared interpretations and translations to discover how expert interpreters produce target language messages which are pragmatically equivalent to the source language messages. Particular attention is paid to the form/meaning distinction. Students prepare translations from texts of their choosing. Pre-or coreq: ASL 532.
      Credits: 4

      INTR 599 - Special Topics

      Occasional offerings dependent on availability and interest of faculty. Barring duplication of subject, may be repeated up to a maximum of 8 credits.
      Credits: 1-4

      INTR 630 - Principles and Practice of Consecutive Interpretation

      Introduction to the theory and practice of consecutive interpretation. Analyzes and integrates specific subtasks of the interpreting process culminating in the performance of prepared and spontaneous consecutive interpretations. Students work with a variety of texts, language models, and settings with the goal of producing a grammatically correct target language text which is equivalent to the source language text. Prereq: INTR 540
      Credits: 4

      INTR 636 - Principles of Simultaneous Interpretation

      Introduces the theory and practice of simultaneous interpretation. Particular attention is given to processes involved in transition from consecutive to simultaneous interpreting. The advantages and limitations of both types of interpreting are compared. Students apply theoretical information to the process of simultaneous interpreting. Students also engage in a research project related to course content. Prereq: INTR 630.
      Credits: 4

      INTR 658 - Deaf/Hearing Cultural Dynamics

      Deaf culture and mainstream American culture are compared, contrasted and analyzed from a variety of perspectives. Cultural interactions between Deaf and hearing people are examined and students will explore potential cultural conflicts between Deaf and hearing people. Students also engage in a research project related to course content. Prereq: ASL 532; INTR 438.
      Credits: 4

      INTR 732 - Simultaneous Interpretation of Discussions, Speeches, and Reports

      Focuses on the simultaneous interpretation of group discussions, speeches, and reports. Students apply theory learned in INTR 636 to a variety of texts, language models, and settings. Students also engage in a research project related to course content. Prereq: INTR 636. Writing intensive.
      Credits: 4

      INTR 734 - Field Experience and Seminar I

      Gives students the opportunity to observe professional working interpreters, with some direct interpreting experience as deemed appropriate. Students integrate knowledge, theoretical understanding, and skills acquired in the interpreting program by working closely with on-site supervisors (interpreters) in addition to attending a biweekly seminar with the UNH Manchester field experience coordinator. Pre-or coreq: INTR 732
      Credits: 4

      INTR 735 - Field Experience and Seminar II

      Gives students the opportunity to gain supervised interpreting experience. Students engage in actual interpreting assignments and receive support and mentorship from professional interpreters, enabling them to integrate knowledge, theoretical understanding, and skills acquired in the interpreting program. Students work closely with on-site supervisors (interpreters) in addition to attending a biweekly seminar with the UNH Manchester field experience coordinator. Prereq: INTR 734.
      Credits: 4