Sign Language Interpretation


Learn to become a sign language interpreter. Facilitate the communication between hearing and Deaf and hard of hearing communities using American Sign Language (ASL).

Tuition: 7416*
Credential: Diploma
Length: 2 0 years
Hours: Full-time
Delivery: Class-based
Program Flyer: Download
Campus: Broadway Broadway
Start Dates: Sep
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What you will learn

Graduates of the Program of Sign Language Interpretation will be able to demonstrate: Meaning-based Interpreting; Versatility in ASL; Versatility in English; Cultural Competence in Deafhood; Awareness of Self and Positionality; Professional Communication and Collaboration; Ethical Decision Making; and Commitment to Learning and Growth. 

Meaning-based Interpreting – The INTR graduate is able to:

  • Apply a cognitive model of interpreting in which the interpreter actively constructs meaning based on cues provided by others
  • Identify the goals of the setting and of each speaker/signer
  • Attend to the source message, screening out external distractions (e.g. auditory or visual noise) and internal distractions (e.g. fatigue or personal disagreement)
  • Analyze the source message, considering contextual, cultural, linguistic and paralinguistic factors
  • Identify content that is explicitly stated and/or implied as well as the intent and affective components
  • Drop source language form and construct meaning
  • Create a target language message, applying contextual, cultural, linguistic and paralinguistic features of the target language
  • Produce a target language message that conveys the constructed meaning and intent, maintaining the cohesiveness of the interpreted discourse
  • Monitor one’s own interpreting performance and make corrections as needed
  • Use effective interaction management strategies such as deciding when/how to interject
  • Make appropriate decisions regarding the use of consecutive and/or simultaneous interpreting modes
  • Co-interpret effectively during teamed interpreting assignments
  • Adapt signed message output across the spectrum of ASL and Contact Sign Varieties in order to meet the linguistic needs of a variety of consumers
  • Critically analyze the effectiveness of interpretations by self and others
  • Demonstrate knowledge of interpretation theories and their implications for the work of interpreters

Versatility in ASL – The INTR graduate is able to:

  • Comprehend and fluently produce grammatically correct ASL discourse on a wide variety of topics and across the range of linguistic registers
  • Communicate comfortably in ASL with users of all ages
  • Communicate effectively in ASL in one-on-one exchanges, small interactive groups, and large audience settings
  • Demonstrate versatility across the visual language spectrum to meet the needs of a variety of D/deaf, hard of hearing, and Deaf-Blind people.

Versatility in English – The INTR graduate is able to:

  • Comprehend and fluently produce grammatically correct English discourse on a wide variety of topics and across the range of linguistic registers
  • Communicate comfortably in spoken English with users of all ages
  • Communicate effectively in English in one-on-one exchanges, small interactive groups, and large audience settings
  • Comprehend and produce written English at a college undergraduate level

Cultural Competence in Deafhood – The INTR graduate is able to:

  • Interact socially in the Deaf community, in a range of contexts and settings, appropriately adhering to norms for social interaction and exhibiting cultural sensitivity
  • Demonstrate respect for the values, history, traditions and goals of the Deaf community
  • Interact with individuals who are Deaf-Blind in culturally appropriate ways
  • Make appropriate decisions about one’s own social interactions and language use when in a culturally mixed group of Deaf and non-Deaf people
  • Apply the value of reciprocity to interactions with the Deaf community
  • Apply a schema for Deaf-related local, regional, national and international organizations
  • Demonstrate respect for the diversity of identities, experiences and pathways into Deafhood

Awareness of Self and Positionality – The INTR graduate is able to:

  • Recognize one’s own intersectionality, power, privilege and potential for bias
  • Apply a schema for the systemic effects of audism on Deaf people’s access and inclusion
  • Exhibit developing allyship, working collectively in support of the Deaf community’s goals
  • Use effective strategies for maintaining wellness and balance in one’s own physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health
  • Use effective time management strategies
  • Recognize stress and implement effective strategies to manage it
  • Be aware of and respectful of one’s own limitations and needs
  • Establish effective personal and professional support networks

Professional Communication and Collaboration – The INTR graduate is able to:

  • Use effective, respectful and timely interpersonal communication strategies
  • Be well prepared, reliable and on time
  • Seek out and utilize preparation resources for interpreting assignments
  • Present self with professional demeanour and attire appropriate for the setting
  • Understand power dynamics in professional relationships and work effectively within systems
  • Engage in constructive feedback discussions, pre/post-brief consultations, and shared analyses
  • Contribute positively to effective teamwork
  • Follow standards of practice related to negotiating fees and contracts, self-marketing, invoicing and accounting
  • Communicate effectively in standard written business English
  • Use social media in a judicious and responsible manner

Ethical Decision Making – The INTR graduate is able to:

  • Apply the values and guiding principles of the Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Professional Conduct of the Westcoast Association of Visual Language Interpreters (WAVLI) and Canadian Association of Sign Language Interpreters (CASLI)
  • Understand and uphold Occupational Title Protection and its purpose(s)
  • Apply effective decision-making processes consistent with theoretical models
  • Apply relevant laws, regulations and workplace policies to professional decisions
  • Think critically, act responsibly and be accountable when making decisions
  • Actively honour diversity and respect the autonomy of others
  • Act professionally in relationships with consumers, colleagues and others, maintaining appropriate boundaries
  • Articulate a personalized professional philosophy related to working as an interpreter
  • Demonstrate conscientiousness in managing the power inherent in the role of an interpreter

Commitment to Learning and Growth – The INTR graduate is able to:

  • Reflect regularly on one’s own practice and professional development
  • Set practical goals for continuing to build interpreting skills and achieve higher credentials
  • Outline a personal plan for ongoing education and growth as a socially conscious interpreter
  • Seek learning opportunities and feedback from consumers, mentors and peers
  • Maintain membership in interpreting associations and contribute actively to the professional community of practice

What to expect

This program provides high quality instruction, unique curriculum and varied learning activities. Key features of the program include Deaf community involvement and one full term of practicum. Students are required to complete volunteer hours, immersion activities in the Deaf community (for example, camps lasting several days) and supervised work placements.

Course topics in the program include interpreting theory and practice, advanced ASL, service learning, allyship and positionality, Deafhood, professional ethics and standards of practice, among others.

In summary, the interpreting program consists of the following:

Year One:

  • Fall term with full course load plus service learning in the community.
  • Winter term with full course load plus volunteer interpreting in the community.
  • Summer term (May & June) includes two courses plus continued community involvement.

Year Two:

  • Fall term with full course load plus volunteer interpreting in the community.
  • Winter/spring term (Jan to May) including three 4-week practicum placements.
  • Capstone week – submission of portfolio and demonstrations of readiness to graduate.

Admission requirements


  • Successful completion of ENGL 1100, or equivalent
  • Successful completion of the ASL and Deaf Studies Certificate, or equivalent
  • Proficiency in American Sign Language (ASL) and English, and an understanding of the Deaf community, Deaf culture, and the field of Sign Language interpreting, as demonstrated during the screening and selection process


  • This program is available to Canadian citizens and permanent residents. See program options for international students at VCC International.
  • Applicants who self-identify as Indigenous are strongly encouraged to connect with VCC’s Indigenous Education and Community Engagement team to learn more about VCC’s Indigenous Enrolment policy, application preparation/completion, program advising, and a range of other individualized services.
  • Applicants must be 16 years of age or older or a graduate of a secondary school. (Some exceptions may apply.)
  • Applicants must submit official transcripts and other documents as required by their course or program. Seats are offered to eligible applicants with completed applications, in order of application completion date (except for programs with competitive admissions). A complete application includes an application form, evidence of educational pre-requisites (e.g. transcripts), any required supporting documents (e.g. language proficiency, audition video), and the required deposit or fee payment. If you do not meet the requirements for the term applied, your application may be cancelled.

Missing prerequisites? Learn more about VCC's tuition-free academic upgrading or English as a Second Language (ESL) courses, or discover which university transfer options are right for you.

Recommended Characteristics

  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to communicate assertively
  • Ability to mentally process information very quickly
  • Fluency and versatility in ASL and English (spoken and written)
  • Empathy and respect for people of diverse identities and experiences
  • Awareness of your positionality, power and privilege
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Self-care strategies for maintaining physical, mental and emotional health
  • Determination, perseverance and ability to follow through

Courses *

Prior learning assessment and recognition

Prior learning assessment and recognition is not available for this program. 

Fees and other costs *

Fee descriptionFee AmountNotes
Application fee36
Tuition Tuition 7416
Student union341
College initiative171
Materials0 not including textbooks
Campus resource149
Tools (deposit)0
Coverall (deposit)0
Uniform (deposit)0
Medical and Dental 550
U-PASS 857
Program-specific extra fees0
Textbooks or other supplies may be required for this program. For information and prices, visit the VCC Bookstore.

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Fill out a PDF form and mail to:
VCC Registrar's Office
1155 East Broadway
Vancouver, B.C., V5T 4V5
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