Healthcare Interpreter Education for American Sign Language


Sight translation by Mary Luczki.

We’ve talked a great deal about what it takes to become a qualified medical interpreter for the Deaf. Just a month ago we shared a post about the resources available to interpreters, since then a great new opportunity is available!

RIT/NTID offers a Certificate in Healthcare Interpreting and now they offer a Master of Science degree program in health care interpretation (MSHCI) for qualified interpreters. The program kicks off this year and provides medical interpreters the opportunity to truly dedicate their careers to advancing the quality of ASL interpreting in healthcare environments.
Who Should Apply and Program Structure:

Nationally certified interpreters who hold a bachelor's degree are eligible for the program. Along with the graduate application, a sample of interpreting work and two letters of recommendation are necessary. Similar to the certificate in health care interpreting program, the graduate program begins with a one week on campus residency; the remainder of the coursework is completed online. Additionally, the eleven classes (three credits each) can be completed in one full academic year with two summer sessions or two academic years with one summer session.

The development of such a program is groundbreaking for the interpreting profession and most importantly, for Deaf patients, families and medical providers. The interpreting profession has grown by leaps and bounds in the past thirty years but standardization and advanced educational opportunities with such specialties as medical interpreting are limited, though emerging. Local media to RIT/NTID has even recognized the new opportunity:

What Does This Mean For Deaf Patients?

It’ll be at least one year before RIT/NTID graduates its first class of students with this new degree, however, it is just the beginning of a new trend. As more interpreters seek advanced degrees in medical interpreting, obtain a certificate in healthcare interpreting, and complete the number of specialized trainings and workshops dedicated to medical interpreting, patients will have more qualified interpreters at their disposal. Additionally, the minimum expectations of interpreters working in medical environments will be raised. Deaf patients and providers will know and experience firsthand the benefits of such specialized training and come to expect interpreters of that caliber, an expectation that is sure to elevate the patient experience.

All InDemand American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters and Certified Deaf Interpreters (CDIs) are credentialed by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and, on average, have more than 15 years of experience.


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