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Spotlight: Addressing the “gap”

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Addressing the “gap”: Bilingualism upon Entry into an Interpreter Education Program

by Amelia Bowdell, Elisa Maroney, Lyra Behnke

Proceedings abstract

Being bilingual is part and parcel to becoming an effective interpreter. To be considered bilingual, one must have Basic Interpersonal Communicative Skills (BICS) and Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP) in two languages, which is a difficult goal for students before entering an interpreter education program (IEP). Bilingualism in ASL and English may be difficult to achieve because they differ significantly. Coursework that utilizes BICS, CALP, and second language acquisition theories can help students achieve bilingualism. Level of fluency in one’s first language will affect the fluency in one’s second language. Assessing fluency in both ASL and English should be an essential part of coursework. Research on language and linguistic offerings at IEPs accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education will be presented. How language courses and assessments can inform instructors and students about the importance of bilingualism before attempting to develop interpreting skills will be explored.

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About this Spotlight Series

CIT has played a significant role in the history of interpreter education in the United States. The conference proceedings on this page include workshop abstracts, papers, and business meeting minutes for many of these conferences.

The goals of the Proceedings Spotlight are to highlight:

  1. the valuable information and hard work that has gone into creating the CIT Proceedings,
  2. the importance of CIT in the history of interpreter education in the United States, and how conference proceedings have played a part in furthering interpreter education,
  3. different ways that Proceedings can be used to enhance and support research, education, and mentoring within the interpreting field,
  4. and positive outcomes, such as student success or enhanced skill development, as a result of applying the information shared within the CIT Proceedings.