Skill Development

There are many skills required for Interpreting and American Sign Language. Below, you will find multiple categories for developing and maintaining those skills.


There are many agencies or companies that offer workshops for interpreter skill development and ASL classes for those learning American Sign Language. I have listed several below, and as I find more, I will continue adding them.

ASL Hands Up

My company offers ASL classes for the community as an individual class and sometimes in conjunction with Howard College San Angelo.

ASL Interpreter Academy

Workshops offered by nationally-certified interpreter, Trevor Kazaks.

ASL Interpreting Services (ASLIS)

A Minnesota-based company that provides interpreter training.

CEUs on the Go

A Website that provides webinars (live and recorded) interpreters can take to earn CEU credit.

Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID)

You can find a workshop that works for you by using the form at

Shonna Magee Workshops

Shonna offers several classes throughout the year. I have listed a few here: Emergency Management Interpreting, CASLI Generalist Knowledge Prep, CASLI Performance Exam Prep, Gap Preparation, Business Practices, and more.

S.I.G.N. Academy

This company provides ASL classes for students, parents, and community members, as well as training for current interpreters.

Texas DHHS

Link: Winter 2022-2023 flyer

Trix Bruce

Trix Bruce is a Deaf woman who produces workshops for interpreters in various settings. She also offers mentoring to students and interpreters seeking improvement.


In addition to the books I have already listed on the Resources and Interpreting Information pages, below are books geared specifically for interpreter skill development.

ASL-to-English Interpretation: Say It Like They Mean It

This book, written by Jean Kelly, is focused on improving interpreters' ASL-to-English interpretations.

Building ASL Interpreting and Translation Skills: Narratives for Practice

Written by my former professor, Nanci Scheetz, this book is for interpreters and ASL students, to help improve their translation and interpretation skills.

Encounters with Reality: 1,001 Interpreter Scenarios

This book has over 1,000 ethical scenarios for interpreters in various settings. It can work as a supplemental resource or to help prepare for the CASLI Generalist Knowledge Exam. Written by Brenda E. Cartwright.

Fingerspelled Word Recognition through Rapid Serial Visual Presentation

Carol J. Patrie and Robert E. Johnson wrote this to help interpreters improve their fingerspelled word recognition and ASL comprehension.

Master the NIC: Written Workbook

Written by Shonna Magee, this workbook is for interpreters preparing to take the CASLI Generalist Knowledge Exam.

Multiple Meanings in American Sign Language

Written by Brenda Cartwright and Suellen Bahleda, this book focuses on analyzing English words and phrases for equivalent meanings in ASL.

The Effective Interpreting Series

Written by Carol J. Patrie, this series is geared toward interpreters' proficiency in ASL and English.

Transliterating: Show Me The English

This is a comprehensive overview of transliterating by Jean Kelly to help interpreters' skills in this area to improve.

Apps, Websites, and Activities

Here are additional resources geared toward interpreter skill development. I’m always adding more resources as I find them, so make sure to come back! I am also currently working on developing an app for interpreters, ASL students, or parents. I’ll post updates on my blog and when it’s available, you’ll be able to find it on the list below.

Audism Unveiled

This is a DVD with stories of audism (oppression toward d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing people).


Website/app with activities for mental development such as problem-solving, memory, speed, attention, and more.

American Sign Language Babies Collection

A collection of 6 board books for babies with ASL incorporated. I have used these books as giveaways at workshops and my annual ASL Camp. A great resource for parents with young deaf (or hearing) children, deaf educators, or educators of young children.

100 Signs for Parents

This is sold as a collection of 50. Along with its two sister booklets (100 Signs for Travelers and 100 Signs for Emergencies), it's great to use as a giveaway for workshops or classes.

Wink ASL- Classifiers DVD

By Dr. Byron Bridges (Deaf), this DVD is a resource for interpreters and ASL students wishing to increase their knowledge and usage of classifiers. There is also a correspondence/online course for Classifiers that is worth 1.3 Professional Studies RID CEUs. You can find that workshop here.

Texas Hands and Voices

This is a great resource for parents with deaf and hard-of-hearing children. They provide support and information for families while helping them make informed decisions.

Interested in Becoming a Certified Interpreter?

In many of my ASL classes and workshops, I have students (and professionals) ask me about the requirements for becoming an interpreter. I have listed some colleges and universities on the Resources page, where students can study to become an interpreter or deaf educator. Below, I highlight various certifying agencies and explain the process for becoming certified.

Certifying Agencies

There are several different ways to become an interpreter. There is a national interpreter certification and several states have their own licensure requirements or certifications. There is also a healthcare interpreting certification that is applicable for many languages, including ASL. Another common certification is the Educational Interpreting Performance Assessment (EIPA), which is recommended for educational interpreters, and in some states/regions, is required for employment to interpret in a school district.

National Interpreter Certification

The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) has a national certification for interpreters, which certifies ASL/English Interpreters to work in generally any setting. The National Interpreter Certification (NIC) as the test was called, was recently sunset and has been replaced with the CASLI Generalist. Follow the link I have provided to see information about eligibility to test. ​

An interpreter seeking national certification should have a bachelor's degree in any field (recommended to be in Interpreting or ASL). If a candidate has less than a bachelor's degree, there is an alternative pathway program they can undergo to become eligible to take the national test. ​

Once you are eligible for the test, you must take and pass the knowledge exam, then the performance exam to become nationally certified.


The Board for Evaluation of Interpreters (BEI) was developed in Texas by the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS), but is accepted in several other states, including Michigan, Illinois, and Missouri, with other states recognizing it as a valid certification to receive licensure. More states are in the process of accepting the BEI, as it is one of the only testing processes that can be upheld in court as valid and reliable. ​

An interpreter wishing to become BEI certified must first have an associate's degree or 90 hours of college credit to become eligible to test.

After eligibility has been verified, one must take and pass the Test of English Proficiency (TEP) before taking the BEI Basic Performance exam.

Interpreters with BEI certification have the opportunity to increase their level. The BEI certification levels are Basic, Advanced, and Master.

Once an interpreter has reached the Advanced level, they are eligible to apply for the Medical and Court interpreter certifications (if they desire). Currently, the BEI is the only court certification that is actively being given, as the national legal interpreter specialization certificate is no longer accepting applications.

Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA)

The Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA) is currently the only assessment that tests and analyzes interpreters for skills in educational interpreting. Here is a document that outlines the content standard an educational interpreter should have and what the creators and raters of the test want to see in interpreters' skills. ​

The EIPA has different segments- the Written and Performance Exam. The EIPA Written Test evaluates one's understanding of critical information for the educational interpreting environment. It is offered online as a multiple-choice exam. The test questions are related to these topics:

1. Child Language Development
2. Culture
3. Education
4. English
5. Interpreting
6. Linguistics
7. Literacy and Tutoring
8. Professionalism
9. Technology ​

The Performance Test evaluates interpreters' abilities to interpret classroom instruction, content, and discourse. Raters give a score from 0 to 5, with 5 meaning near-native skills, with the level (secondary grade or primary grade), and the communication mode (Pidgin Signed English or ASL).


The CoreCHI certification is for interpreters wishing to work in healthcare settings. I have only recently learned about this certification, so I have linked the eligibility page here. As I learn more about this certification and the process, I will upload that information. Stay tuned for updates!

Self-Care for Interpreters

Self-Care is one of the most important aspects of being an interpreter. We use our whole body to communicate, especially the upper body. This can cause issues such as Repetitive Motion Injury (RMI), Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, in addition to others.

Because interpreters work in a variety of settings and are exposed to raw feelings and emotions, and must interpret sensitive information regularly, we are subject to transference and emotional burnout.

Our bodies and minds are the machines that allow us to interpret effectively, clearly, and accurately, and we must keep them finely tuned to be successful. We can partake in self-care activities such as massages, chiropractic appointments, counseling, regular exercise, etc.

One will find that the activities that contribute to their self-care may differ greatly from another person’s, which is perfectly acceptable. I have listed a plethora of activities, resources, websites, and videos that one can use as a springboard. Some of the ideas I have listed are self-care for me but may not be desirable to others. Each interpreter should find hobbies they enjoy to relax and unwind and take the necessary time to debrief from especially difficult assignments.

Self-Care Activities

As indicated above, I have listed activities and videos which have helped me as a working interpreter. Some of these are helpful to me based on my personality and learning type, so they may not be desirable to others. I have tried to list as many resources as possible, but this list is not exhaustive.


There are many different types of massages. Deep tissue, Swedish, Hot Stone, Sports, and Trigger Point massages are some of the different types and all serve different purposes. In general, a massage is designed to manipulate your muscles and skin, and is considered part of integrative medicine (Mayo Health Clinic, 2022). ​

Some of the many benefits of massages are better circulation, less soreness, quick recovery after workouts, reduced inflammation, decreased anxiety, improved mood, more energy, a better overall feeling of wellness/self, and decreased pain. ​

The Mayo Clinic, National University of Health Sciences, and American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) have all published articles about the benefits of massage therapy. ​

Regular massage therapy can greatly benefit an interpreter, and help reduce the risk of RMI/RSIs and Carpal Tunnel.

Chiropractic Adjustments

In addition to the muscle and skin manipulation that comes with massages, our bodies sometimes need bone adjustments. Interpreters use their whole body and especially their upper body to communicate. Because our mid-back functions as a fulcrum for our shoulder and arm movement, the more we move and use our upper body, the more the fulcrum moves and shifts. This shifting will cause neck or back pain, and severe shifting can cause radiating pain down our legs and/or arms. ​

Rather than taking medication for back or neck pain, a common relief is a chiropractic adjustment. Chiropractic doctors and users accept the ideology that the body can heal itself with the appropriate help (Healthline, 2021). A chiropractor will manipulate the bones, cartilage, joints, muscles, and tissues in order to provide pain relief and realign your joints/bones. ​

Chiropractic adjustments can reduce neck and back pain, relieve tension headaches, arthritis, fibromyalgia and other chronic conditions, and even increase your blood flow. ​

For more information, check out these articles from WebMD, Healthline, Cleveland Clinic, and Effective Integrative Healthcare, LLC.


Sudoku is a number game that was officially named in 1984 in Japan. It is basically a Japanese version of a crossword puzzle since their written language is not compatible with the typical English crossword puzzle. You can read all about its history here. ​

I have always been a 'numbers' person. Numbers make sense to me, so I really enjoy number puzzles. When I want to relax, I will pull out a sudoku workbook or app and work on the puzzles.



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