In a message dated 3/1/2013 1:17:47 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, lnpierson13
I am just a random person from Lubbock, Texas who wants to learn sign
language. I have no deaf family members, and I am not deaf myself...but I
find ASL to be expressive, beautiful and fascinating. I would love to be an
interpreter someday. I used to teach theatre. I am a stay at home mom these
days. My baby is catching on to signs very fast, and it has inspired me to
want to learn more and more. I am taking a class at a church.
...How could I go about becoming fluent in ASL, and then possibly a licensed
interpreter? What are the steps? Do you have to do it formally or
-- Lindsey Pierson
The best path to becoming fluent depends on your circumstances. The more
free time, money, and access to resources (including opportunities to
communicate with Deaf people) you have -- the faster and more conveniently
you can become fluent.
If you live near a college and can afford classes then that is one approach.
Another is to marry a Deaf person or adopt a Deaf child (who already knows
A third is to make friends with Deaf people or hire a Deaf baby-sitter.
Certainly informal classes, websites, books, videos, and other resources can
Maybe you could participate in an "immersion" program (if there is one in
your area). Gallaudet.edu offers some amazing summer immersion courses.
CSU Sacramento does to on occasion (google CSUS CCE ASL Immersion).
Perhaps you can afford to hire a private tutor? If there is a college
program around that has higher level courses (ASL 5 and up) you might
consider contacting the instructor or program director and asking him if he
has any "star" students who are "very good" for their level who might be
interested in tutoring you for pay.
As far as becoming a certified interpreter it helps greatly if you live near
a college that has an interpreter training program. You may eventually
wish to start volunteering to interpret at your local church (if there are
any Deaf people there). It is easy enough to start with frozen
material such as songs or highly structured material such as certain
prayers. I recommend you visit www.RID.org for more info on interpreting.
Plus see the "interpreting" entries in the Lifeprint.com "library" section.