Professional Project Curriculum Development: Experiential Learning in Interpreter Education Programs

June 5, 2013


Signed and spoken language interpretation involves many intricate components. A signed language interpreter who is working simultaneously must hear and comprehend a spoken language while producing the equivalent message with his/her hands in the appropriate signed language. While there are many factors that affect the interpreter, experience and education are two key qualities of successful interpreters. Both interpreter education and the experience of putting that education into practice are vital for future interpreters while they are still students. Experiential learning activities provide this opportunity for interpreting students. According to educational theorist David A. Kolb, “Knowledge results from the combination of grasping and transforming experience”(1984, p. 41). This type of learning involves exercises where students participate in authentic working situations in a safe environment while allowing them the opportunity to openly reflect on those experiences. Experiential learning in the field of signed language interpreting education may include role-playing scenarios, mock interpreting exercises, one-on-one mentorships, and internship participation. These learning activities can provide interpreting students with vital practice and experience before they enter the work force. The goal of this professional project is to design a course in signed language interpreter education based on Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory. This course incorporates experience, reflection and application on critical components of the interpreting profession while gradually exposing students to various problems that they may face in their professional career. The proposed course titled “Experience Interpreting” will allow students to fully experience a variety of interpreting scenarios and equip them with resources for their future work in the interpreting field.


Download Article


Ruiz, Marisa J., “Professional Project Curriculum Development: Experiential Learning in Interpreter Education Programs” (2013). Master’s Theses. Paper 9.

* Interested in receiving StreetLeverage posts in your inbox? SignUp!

Stay Current

Want to be among the first to know when we publish new content?

Are you an interpreter?

We respect your privacy.
We will never share your info.

Forward-looking organizations committed to retelling the story of the interpreter.



(New York)