Language proficiency is the foundation of effective interpreting performance. Because classroom experiences form only part of a language learning experience, most interpreting programs encourage student involvement in the Deaf and Deaf-Blind communities through service learning and practicum placements, volunteer work, and socializing with friends and colleagues. Many aspiring interpreters find that immersion experiences boost their facility and confidence in ASL.
An ASL immersion experience places participants in a “no-speaking zone” for a period of several days or weeks. Structured classroom activities offer the opportunity to learn new, sometimes specialized, vocabulary and to grasp more complex grammatical principles. Such real-life activities as museum tours in ASL, community events, and visits to a school program, Deaf-Blind organization, or Deaf old age home challenge participants to use their receptive and expressive skills.