Department of Linguistics

BA in Linguistics - ASL/English Interpreting Concentration

The ASL/English Interpreting Concentration is intended for students who wish to become nationally certified ASL/English interpreters. The goal of this concentration is to provide students with the academic preparation needed for the two-step national credentialing exam offered by the Center for the Assessment of Sign Language Interpretation (CASLI). Students are required to pass the National Interpreter Certification (NIC) Knowledge Exam as a prerequisite to entering Practicum, which serves as a Capstone to their concentration. We project that within two years of consistent work experience while working under a “Conditional Interpreter License” from the State of Maine or working within their home states, students should be ready to stand for and pass the National Interpreter Certification (NIC) Interview and Performance Exam.

Our interpreting program is unique in offering a full curriculum that is equally geared to both hearing and Deaf interpreting students at all levels of study. The ASL/English Interpreting Program also provides a variety of in-service training opportunities for working educational interpreters throughout Maine. The program has ongoing efforts to provide training opportunities every year for working educational interpreters throughout the state. Students are strongly encouraged to also take the Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA) Written Test prior to graduation as well as the EIPA Performance Test shortly after graduation.

Finally, our concentration offers an optional three-course series in medical interpreting designed for both advanced students and working medical interpreters, in both signed and spoken languages, with language coaches assigned in each student’s language area. In addition to 72 hours of coursework designed to meet training standards established by the International Medical Interpreter Association (IMIA) and the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care (NCIHC), a third course prepares students to take national written exams in healthcare interpreting. We offer, upon passing these tests, a hands-on Simulation Lab Peer Professional Training jointly for medical interpreters and medical professionals, i.e., medical students, nursing students, residents and health care professionals.

This interpreter training program has been nationally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education (CCIE) since 2009.

Required Coursework

LIN 105 Contrastive Analysis: ASL and English
LIN 185 Language, Mind, and Society: An Introduction to Linguistics
LIN 310 Signs of Language in the Brain
LIN 313 Syntax
LIN 331 ASL/English Interpreting
LIN 332 Consecutive Interpreting and Deaf/Hearing Interpreter Teams
LIN 333 Interpreting: Source Language ASL
LIN 334 Interpreting: Source Language English
LIN 410 Ethical Decision Making in ASL/English Interpreting

LIN  413 Supervised Mentoring; or 498 Thesis; or a combination of LIN 425 Special Topics in ASL/English Interpreting, medical interpreting courses (LIN 431, 432, 433), foundations of interpreting courses (LIN 401, 402, 403, 404), and LIN 409 Educational Interpreting, adding up to a total of at least 6 credits

LIN 435 Advanced Interpreting and Practicum I

One three-credit 400-level LIN course (excluding courses focused on interpreting and excluding LIN 498 Thesis) or ASL 416 ASL Linguistics in ASL

ASL 401 Advanced American Sign Language I
ASL 402 Advanced American Sign Language II
ASL 415 ASL Literature in ASL, or ASL 416 ASL Linguistics in ASL, or ASL 417 Deaf Art, Film, and Theatre in ASL

 Total number of credits: 50 or 53 (depending on choice of LIN 413, LIN 498, or 6 credits of LIN 401, 402, 403, 404, 409, 425, 431, 432, 433) 

Note on Language Component

Students pursuing the English ASL/Interpreting Concentration must have taken four semesters of ASL (101-202) or have attained a level of proficiency equivalent to four semesters. These courses (or the equivalent) do not count as credit toward the major but are prerequisites to interpreting courses and upper-level ASL courses.

Note on grade requirement for LIN 185 Language, Mind, and Society: An Introduction to Linguistics

Students must receive a grade of B or higher in LIN 185 before enrolling in certain upper-level LIN courses, including LIN 313. LIN 185 may be repeated at most one time. Students for whom American Sign Language is their first language may consult with the department about alternative pathways for satisfying this requirement.

Honors for ASL/English Interpreting Concentration

Linguistics majors who do outstanding work in the major can graduate with honors in linguistics. Requirements for Honors for students majoring in the ASL/English Interpreting Concentration are the following: 

  • Achieve a GPA of at least 3.7 in LIN and ASL courses.
  • Complete LIN 490 Introduction to Language Research with a grade of B or higher.
  • Complete LIN 498 Thesis with a grade of A.

Notes on Core Curriculum Requirements

In addition to completing a major, students must satisfy USM's Core Curriculum requirements and earn a total of at least 120 credits to graduate. The following information outlines core requirements that overlap with the major in Linguistics with a Concentration in ASL/English Interpreting or core courses recommended for students majoring in this concentration.

Quantitative Reasoning: Students must fulfill this requirement with a statistics or MAT course. One requirement for Honors in Linguistics is LIN 490 Introduction to Language Research. This course has a statistics course (MAT 120 Introduction to Statistics or PSY 201 Statistics in Psychology) as a prerequisite. Therefore, students should take a statistics course to meet this requirement if they are considering pursuing Honors in Linguistics. If not, students can take any MAT course in the Quantitative Reasoning category.

Cultural Interpretation: Each of ASL 101 Beginning American Sign Language I, ASL 102 Beginning American Sign Language II, ASL 201 Intermediate American Sign Language I, and ASL 202 Intermediate American Sign Language II (as well as other language courses at these levels) fulfills this core requirement.

Socio-Cultural Analysis: LIN 185 Language, Mind, and Society: An Introduction to Linguistics meets this requirement.

Science Exploration: LIN 185 Language, Mind, and Society: An Introduction to Linguistics meets this requirement if LIN 186 (the one-credit lab associated with LIN 185) is taken as well.

Diversity: LIN 185 Language, Mind, and Society: An Introduction to Linguistics also meets this requirement.

Ethical Inquiry, Social Responsibility, and Citizenship: LIN 410 Ethical Decision Making in ASL/English Interpreting meets this requirement.

Engaged Learning: ASL 401 Advanced American Sign Language I, ASL 402 Advanced American Sign Language II, and LIN 435 Advanced Interpreting and Practicum I meet this requirement.

Capstone: LIN 435 Advanced Interpreting and Practicum I is a capstone course.

Several linguistics and language courses that are not required for the major fulfill a core requirement:

International: LIN 112 The Birth of a Language, FRE 202 Intermediate French II, GER 202 Intermediate German II, ITA 202 Intermediate Italian II, SPA 202 Intermediate Spanish II

Suggested four-year plan for Linguistics Majors, ASL/English Interpreting Concentration

There are many possible paths through the major. The listings below are suggestions that may or may not be appropriate for individual students. Courses do not have to be taken in the order shown here as long as prerequisites for each course are met before it is taken.

See the course list for course prerequisites. Note especially that students must earn a grade of B or higher in LIN 185 Language, Mind, and Society: An Introduction to Linguistics before enrolling in LIN 313, and that LIN 185 may be repeated at most one time.

Note that many suggested semester schedules listed here do not make up a full course load. These semesters would need to include core courses, electives, a minor, or possibly a second major.

(Course in italics is required for Deaf Studies Minor)

Fall 1:
ASL 101 Beginning American Sign Language I
LIN 105 Contrastive Analysis: ASL and English

Spring 1:
ASL 102 Beginning American Sign Language II
LIN 185 Language, Mind, and Society: An Introduction to Linguistics

Fall 2:
ASL 201 Intermediate American Sign Language I
LIN 203 Introduction to the Deaf World
LIN 313 Syntax

Spring 2:
ASL 202 Intermediate American Sign Language II
LIN 310 Signs of Language in the Brain
LIN 331 ASL/English Interpreting

Fall 3:
ASL 401 Advanced American Sign Language I
LIN 332 Consecutive Interpreting and Deaf/Hearing Interpreter Teams
LIN 333 Interpreting: Source Language ASL

Spring 3:
ASL 402 Advanced American Sign Language II
LIN 4XX or ASL 416

Fall 4:
ASL 415 ASL Literature in ASL or ASL 417 Deaf Art, Film, and Theatre in ASL
LIN 334 Interpreting: Source Language English

Spring 4:
LIN 435 Advanced Interpreting and Practicum I (6 cr)
LIN 410 Ethical Decision Making in ASL/English Interpreting

The six credits of LIN 425 Special Topics in ASL/English Interpreting, medical interpreting courses (LIN 431, 432, 433), foundations of interpreting courses (LIN 401, 402, 403, 404), LIN 409 Educational Interpreting, LIN 413 Supervised Mentoring; or LIN 498 Thesis can fit into various places.