CALI’s 2018 Pilot Program

Would you like to know what we’ve been working on?

Building on the Language Analysis Team’s findings and other research on effective practices, dozens of consultants participated in the development of CALI’s Program of Study. The Program includes three parts: online modular instruction, a face-to-face Communication Negotiation Classroom experience, and a Practical Experience Placement (the latter two making up the Practical Application Week). In the pilot year (2018), the online instructional modules will be available only to those accepted into the full Program of Study through our partner interpreter referral agencies. However, starting in 2019, the online modules will be opened to any interpreters, interpreting educators, and other stakeholders who wish to study their content. Stay tuned!

Beginning in January 2018, our first cohort of interpreters entered our pilot Program of Study. These twelve Deaf, Deaf-Parented, and hearing interpreters come from three referral agencies (Civic Access, DEAF, Inc., and Sign Language Resources, Inc.) who have agreed to track their interpreters’ employment data related to consumers with atypical language before, during, and after the Program of Study. The interpreters will also be required to complete pre-/post-tests and evaluations throughout their participation in our program so that we can report its success to our funding agency.

Online Modules

The four online modules will run for six months as follows:

January 22-February 16, 2018
Module 1: “An Introduction to Atypical Language: Contributing Factors” (1.5 CEUs)

February 26-March 23, 2018
Module 2: “Atypical Language among Diverse Populations” (1.5 CEUs)

April 2-May 11, 2018
Module 3: “Interpreting Strategies for Individuals with Atypical Language” (2.0 CEUs)

May 21-June 29, 2018
Module 4: “Decision Points: Working with Diverse Consumers Exhibiting Atypical Language” (2.0 CEUs)

Practical Application Week

After completion of the above modules, our interpreter cohort will fly to Boston to attend the Practical Application Week, a five-day, face-to-face training from July 23-27, 2018 to participate in both the Practical Experience Placement and the Communication Negotiation Classroom. Running simultaneously, these training opportunities will provide supervised, onsite, work-related experience, as well as opportunities for observation, interaction, and when appropriate, actual supervised interpreting experience with deaf* persons whose language is atypical. 


Upon completion of the Program of Study, our interpreters will engage in a Supervised Induction process for 40 hours over approximately 16 weeks. This post-program induction is designed to provide interpreters with ongoing supervision and guidance on the job. Interpreter practitioners from their referral agencies will be trained as supervisors to observe and report on their progress, as well as support them as mentors, through a separate online Supervisor Training from April 1-June 30, 2018. The supervisors will consist of a mix of Deaf and hearing interpreters. The goal is to provide the interpreter trainees with a clear path toward obtaining or advancing in employment working with deaf persons whose language is atypical. 

Communities of Practice

Finally, the interpreters will participate in online Communities of Practice during their Induction period. These will be private, online discussion boards where interpreters and supervisors will participate in collective learning through shared experiences and challenges, with discussions lead by a facilitator. 

The CALI consultants and staff have been hard at work to make this program a reality. We can’t wait to see how it all unfolds!

For more information, below is the “Introduction to Everything” video created for CALI’s first interpreter cohort.

*The word “deaf” refers to (1) “deaf” (i.e. the condition of deafness) and “Deaf” people; (2) to “deaf, hard of hearing, and DeafBlind” and (3) to individuals who are culturally Deaf and who use ASL. When we use “Deaf,” we refer only to the third group.

Moving forward, we will use the term “deaf” (with a little “d”) to represent d/Deaf, d/DeafBlind, and hard of hearing individuals and community members who exhibit atypical language. Some individuals who exhibit atypical language may be culturally Deaf, while many others may not be. For deaf people who are new to this country or who lack the ability to conform to American Deaf Cultural norms, there is no established way to talk about this cultural category of deaf people. We cannot assume they are “Deaf.” That implies they are fluent in ASL, part of Deaf Culture, and accepted members of the Deaf Community. For deaf people with language dysfluency, and even for deaf people with atypical language due to language deprivation or cognitive disabilities, it is also difficult to refer to them as “Deaf” if they are not considered members of the Deaf Community. Therefore, many deaf individuals with atypical and/or dysfluent language use, would not meet the definition of a member of the Deaf Community. A small subset would. Trying to distinguish between “d” and “D” is difficult for individuals with atypical language (especially many who are dysfluent) because the etiology of the individual’s language use (if any) and cultural norms (if any) is highly individual. Therefore, for simplicity’s sake, we will use “deaf” to refer to any and all d/Deaf, d/DeafBlind, and hard of hearing consumers who exhibit atypical language.