Foundational language competence is directly related to a student interpreters’ success in interpreter education and ultimately, certification readiness upon graduation. This study focused on the American Sign Language (ASL) expressive competence of applicants to a four-year ASL English interpretation major through a pre-program screening of 250 applicants over eight years. Applicants’ ASL expressive competence compared scores of those who held two-year interpreting degrees to those who had completed four semesters of ASL. Data showed that applicants from two-year interpreting programs and applicants who have taken four semesters of ASL possessed similar expressive ASL competence. This study further examined if applicants with a two-year degree in interpreting were able to transfer into a four-year interpreting program with year three language skills. This study provided quantifiable evidence for addressing inefficiencies in interpreter education that negatively impacted both the student interpreters and the quality of services provided to stakeholders.



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