NIC Role Delineation Study

The information below contains the tasks and knowledge and skill statements as defined by the National Council on Interpreting Role Delineation Panel. It encompasses the knowledge, interview and performance portions of the CASLI National Interpreter Certification (NIC) Exam. The following tasks represent the knowledge and skills one must possess to be able to pass the NIC Exams. Please use this outline as an overarching guide to study for the entire exam. Also, please refer to the NIC Knowledge and Interview and Performance Examination suggested reference materials lists for an inventory of the texts used to develop the tasks listed below. All tasks have associated knowledge and skill statements. The knowledge statements refer to the knowledge portion of the test and the skill statements refer to the interview and performance portions of the test.

Task 1: Assess each interpreting situation to determine if qualified for the assignment.

Knowledge and Skill Statements

Knowledge of:

  1. Roles and responsibilities
  2. Appropriate questions to ensure a good match between the interpreter and the parties involved
  3. Requirements and expectations of the consumers for each setting
  4. Language continuum and variations in signing
  5. Assignment content

Skill in:

  1. Recognizing the impact of personal values and professional conduct
  2. Recognizing personal and professional strengths and weaknesses
  3. Meeting consumer communication needs
  4. Recognizing strengths and weaknesses
  5. Recognizing the importance of personal characteristics (e.g., ethnicity, cultural diversity, gender, age) and the impact they have on the assignment
  6. Meeting consumer’s needs
  7. Maintaining neutrality in all situations
  8. Being diplomatic
  9. Assessment of the ability to interpret fluently

Task 2: Prepare for assignment by determining logistics and purpose of interaction for all parties involved.

Knowledge and Skill Statements

Knowledge of:

  1. Need for deaf interpreters
  2. Need for team interpreters
  3. Need for consecutive or simultaneous interpreting
  4. Physical distractions in environment and appropriate solutions within the setting
  5. Assignment goals, philosophies, and/or expected outcomes
  6. Strategies to make the setting comfortable

Skill in:

  1. Analyzing when and how to work with team interpreters (hearing and/or deaf)
  2. Preparing by consulting or meeting with parties involved, reading literature, books, web sites, and any other notes, etc.
  3. Assessing consumer’s communication needs prior to assignment
  4. Assessing the room layout and working with the consumers to determine best seating/lighting arrangement prior to the assignment
  5. Working with deaf and/or team interpreters
  6. Educating consumers (both deaf and hearing) on how to use the interpreter when appropriate

Task 3: Maintain competence in the field of interpreting (e.g., attending workshops and classes, reading professional literature, working with a mentor).

Knowledge and Skill Statements

Knowledge of:

  1. Deaf events and other cultural activities
  2. Available resources for professional growth (e.g., classes, workshops, libraries, periodicals, Internet, mentors)
  3. Benefits of membership in professional organizations
  4. Organizations related to the field of deafness and interpreting and the people they serve
  5. Cultural trends and issues
  6. Basic research and practice in interpreting
  7. Strategies to evaluate the quality and usefulness of articles about interpreting

Skill in:

  1. Researching for appropriate sources
  2. Engaging in activities related to personal and professional growth
  3. Becoming appropriately involved in the deaf community (e.g., deaf events and other cultural activities)
  4. Keeping current with continuing education requirements

Task 4: Apply the Code of Professional Conduct for the interpreting profession.

Knowledge and Skill Statements

Knowledge of:

  1. NAD-RID Code of Professional Conduct expectations for professional behavior
  2. Consequences for violating the Code of Professional Conduct
  3. Philosophical background for the Code of Professional Conduct
  4. Laws that supersede the Code of Professional Conduct (e.g., child abuse)

Skill in:

  1. Recognizing the impact of personal values and professional conflicts
  2. Applying the NAD-RID Code of Professional Conduct to various settings (educational, occupational, governmental, medical, etc.)
  3. Distinguishing difference between appropriate and inappropriate practices
  4. Recognizing when mediation and adjustment (cultural or situational) are necessary in applying the Code of Professional Conduct.

Task 5: Provide interpreting services that reflect awareness and sensitivity to culturally and ethnically diverse groups.

Knowledge and Skill Statements

Knowledge of:

  1. Differences between culture and community
  2. Culture as related to behavior and communication in various settings
  3. Rights and privileges related to membership and non-membership in cultural groups
  4. Personal perspectives and how these influence the interpretation outcome
  5. Protocol and procedure in various settings

Skill in:

  1. Recognizing when gender, ethnicity, and/or cultural differences may influence the interpretation outcome
  2. Recognizing nuances in vocabulary of diverse cultural and ethnic groups
  3. Maintaining sensitivity to changes in group dynamics related to member/nonmember Interaction

Task 6: Facilitate the flow of communication during the interpreting process.

Knowledge and Skill Statements

Knowledge of:

  1. When to use simultaneous or consecutive interpreting
  2. Strategies for managing the flow of different levels of discourse in various settings
  3. Appropriate sign/word choice
  4. Discourse styles (e.g., persuasive, educating, consultative) to determine the appropriate register
  5. Impact of cross-cultural communication nuances
  6. When to provide direct and indirect feedback
  7. Back-channeling (i.e., consumer feedback on the understanding of the interpretation) information as a tool to facilitate the flow of communication

Skill in:

  1. Adjusting to the communication style of consumers
  2. Recognizing the intended message
  3. Maintaining fluency in message transmission
  4. Maintaining a pace that allows for smooth turn-taking by participants
  5. Using appropriate styles of discourse
  6. Using appropriate registers
  7. Requesting clarification of the source message
  8. Applying information gained from back-channeling (i.e., consumer feedback on the understanding of the interpretation) to facilitate the flow of communication
  9. Recognizing consumer’s direct address to interpreter (i.e., information for interpretation regarding protocol for current job, checking with interpreter if ready to proceed, etc.) via various non-manual elements (e.g., eye gaze, head tilt, etc.)
  10. Identifying change of speakers/signers

Task 7: Apply the appropriate communicative mode and language register.  

Knowledge and Skill Statements

Knowledge of:

  1. Settings (education, legal, medical, mental, occupational, governmental services, religious, etc.)
  2. Consumers (hearing, deaf, deaf/blind, hard of hearing, late deafened, persons without formal language, individuals with developmental disabilities, etc.)
  3. Content knowledge
  4. Various modalities (tactile, oral, various sign systems, etc.)
  5. Modes of communication (pictures, gestures, props, etc)
  6. Form and function of language and how this influences lexical decision making
  7. How individuals and settings affect language register
  8. Language acquisition in situations where appropriate
  9. Formation of numbers and fingerspelling
  10. Phonemic structure
  11. Morphologic structure (e.g., semantics)
  12. Syntax
  13. Functional pragmatics (e.g., how settings alter the pragmatic function and form of discourse)
  14. Linguistic structure and principles of English, American Sign Language (and other languages) used during the interpretation

Skill in:

  1. Making appropriate decisions about code-switching between languages and systems
  2. Representing English structure in situations where appropriate
  3. Spelling specific content vocabulary correctly
  4. Adjusting interpersonal skills to facilitate communication with various consumers and settings
  5. Matching the register of the consumers
  6. Explaining to all parties, if communication breaks down due to language, why the breakdown occurred
  7. Discussing language form being used by parties involved (e.g., being able to talk about child signing, identifying components of language, such as verb, noun)
  8. Comprehending and using highly stylized signing as may be necessary
  9. Code-switching between English, ASL, and other sign systems
  10. Articulating the linguistic structure and principles of English, American Sign Language (and other languages) used during interpretation

Task 8: Construct equivalent discourse in the target language while monitoring message comprehension and feedback to modify interpretation accordingly.

Knowledge and Skill Statements

Knowledge of:

  1. Sign language continuum
  2. Process of interpretation
  3. Cross-cultural, gender, language use/variations, socio-economic status, and related influences on the interpretation process
  4. Back-channeling (i.e., consumer feedback on the understanding of the interpretation) information as a tool to influence the ongoing interpretation
  5. Lexical equivalency (ensuring translation of all items in appropriate lexical format)
  6. Unique language features and their impact (e.g., how to interpret passive voice, supra-ordinate “words,” and use of classification in ASL)
  7. Linguistic structure and principles of English, American Sign Language (and other languages) used during the interpretation

Skill in:

  1. Appropriately constructing an equivalent message intent
  2. Appropriately constructing an equivalent message tone (e.g., tone and clarity of voice)
  3. Appropriately constructing an equivalent message content
  4. Recovering and repairing within message conveyance
  5. Minimizing miscues, deletions, additions, substitutions, distracting mannerisms, fillers, anomalies, etc.
  6. Remaining impartial to intent, regardless of speakers
  7. Explaining to all parties, if communication breaks down due to language, why the breakdown occurred
  8. Applying information gained from back-channeling (i.e., consumer feedback on the understanding of the interpretation) to influence further interpretation
  9. Integrating the consumer’s lexical preference for terminology when expressed
  10. Appropriately using unique language (e.g., how to interpret passive voice, supra-ordinate “words,” and use of classification in ASL)

Task 9A: Use ASL proficiently within expressive interpreting tasks, including choice of sign vocabulary, use of sign modification to show variation in meaning and grammatical function, and appropriate use of space, facial expression, and body movement.

 Knowledge and Skill Statements

Knowledge of:

  1. Phonemic structure
  2. Morphologic structure (e.g., semantics)
  3. Syntax
  4. Functional pragmatics (e.g., how settings alter the pragmatic function and form of discourse)
  5. Volume of lexicon (size of lexicon)
  6. Role and function of fingerspelling
  7. Sentence boundaries
  8. Linguistic structure and principles of English, American Sign Language (and other languages) used during the interpretation
  9. Appropriate sign choice

Skill in:

  1. Using appropriate registers
  2. Sign articulation (phonologic parameters)
  3. Fingerspelling and numerical incorporation
  4. ASL derivational (morphologic) marking (verb/noun)
  5. Appropriate use of non-manual markers (e.g., grammatical, adverbial/adjectival)
  6. Using signing space (e.g., referencing, size related to audience, verb agreement)
  7. Using the classifier system
  8. Using fingerspelling
  9. Incorporating affect
  10. Using discourse boundaries (phrasing)
  11. Using inflective morphology (nuances of meaning)
  12. Recognizing sentence boundaries
  13. Inflection/intonation
  14. Explaining to all parties, if communication breaks down due to language, why the breakdown occurred
  15. Articulating the linguistic structure and principles of English, American Sign Language (and other languages) used during interpretation
  16. Selecting sign vocabulary precisely
  17. Modulation of signs depending on meaning
  18. Using space appropriately
  19. Use of fluid expression
  20. Appropriate mouthing for English lexicalization
  21. Integrating the consumer’s lexical preference for terminology when expressed.

Task 9B: Comprehend ASL proficiently during the interpreting task, including sign vocabulary choice and sign modification to show variation in meaning and grammatical functions.  

Knowledge and Skill Statements

Knowledge of:

  1. Phonemic structure
  2. Morphologic structure (e.g., semantics)
  3. Syntax
  4. Functional pragmatics (e.g., how settings alter the pragmatic function and form of discourse)
  5. Role and function of fingerspelling
  6. Linguistic structure and principles of English, American Sign Language (and other languages) used during interpretation

Skill in:

  1. Expanding the volume of lexicon (size of lexicon)
  2. Comprehending the register
  3. Comprehending sign articulation (e.g., phonologic parameters)
  4. Comprehending fingerspelling and numerical incorporation
  5. Comprehending ASL derivational (morphologic) marking (verb/noun)
  6. Comprehending non-manual markers (e.g., grammatical, adverbial/adjectival, English lexicalization)
  7. Comprehending signing space (e.g., referencing, size related to audience, verb agreement)
  8. Comprehending the classifier system
  9. Recognizing affect
  10. Recognizing facial adverbs
  11. Comprehending discourse boundaries (phrasing)
  12. Comprehending inflective morphology (nuances of meaning)
  13. Recognizing sentence boundaries
  14. Comprehending inflection/intonation
  15. Comprehending appropriate mouthing for English lexicalization
  16. Recognizing the consumer’s lexical preference for terminology when expressed
  17. Comprehending constructed action and constructed dialogue in sign language discourse via various non-manual elements (e.g., eye gaze, head tilt, etc.)

Task 10A: Use English proficiently to construct an equivalent message in the target language, including appropriate vocabulary choice, tone, grammar, and syntax, with appropriate use of register, pausing, rhythm, intonation, pitch, and other supra-segmental features.  

Knowledge and Skill Statements

Knowledge of:

  1. Phonemic structure
  2. Morphologic structure (e.g., semantics)
  3. Syntax
  4. Functional pragmatics (e.g., how the settings will alter the pragmatic function and form of the discourse)
  5. Sentence boundaries
  6. Linguistic structure and principles of English, American Sign Language (and other languages) used during the interpretation
  7. Appropriate word choice

Skill in:

  1. Expanding volume of lexicon (size of lexicon)
  2. Using appropriate register
  3. Using appropriate mouth movements
  4. English word articulation (phonologic parameters)
  5. Commanding English derivational (morphologic) marking (verb/noun)
  6. Using affect
  7. Using discourse boundaries (e.g., phrasing, phrase, sentence and discourse/paragraph/chunk level)
  8. Using inflective intonation morphology (nuances of meaning)
  9. Applying sentence boundaries
  10. Inflection/intonation
  11. Articulating the linguistic structure and principles of English, American Sign Language used during the interpretation
  12. Recognizing why communication breaks down if or when it does, and moving to make necessary adjustments, if appropriate
  13. Integrating the consumer’s lexical preference for terminology when expressed

Task 10B: Comprehend English proficiently to construct an equivalent message in the target language, including appropriate vocabulary choice, tone, grammar, syntax, appropriate use of register, pausing, rhythm, intonation, pitch, and other supra-segmental features.

Knowledge and Skill Statements

Knowledge of:

  1. Phonemic structure
  2. Morphologic structure (e.g., semantics)
  3. Syntax
  4. Functional pragmatics (e.g., how settings alter the pragmatic function and form of discourse)
  5. Linguistic structure and principles of English, American Sign Language (and other languages) used during the interpretation

Skill in:

  1. Using the lexicon (size of lexicon)
  2. Comprehending the register
  3. Comprehending appropriate mouth movements
  4. Comprehending English word articulation (e.g., phonologic parameters)
  5. Comprehending English derivational (morphologic) marking (verb/noun)
  6. Recognizing affect
  7. Comprehension of discourse boundaries (e.g., phrasing, phrase, sentence and discourse/paragraph/chunk level)
  8. Comprehending inflective intonation morphology (nuances of meaning)
  9. Recognizing sentence boundaries
  10. Inflection/intonation
  11. Recognizing why communication breaks down if or when it does, and moving to make necessary adjustments, if appropriate
  12. Recognizing the consumer’s lexical preference for terminology when expressed