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January 12, 2003

NMC offers sign language program

From: Saipan Tribune, MP - 12 Jan 2003

A new Sign Language Interpreting Certificate Program is now being offered at the Northern Marianas College, consisting of seven courses, that are designed to train interpreters for the young deaf and hard-of-hearing children in the CNMI.

According to a statement by the college, the sign language courses are 4 credits each and require a great deal of work, but are also a lot of fun.

The courses offered through the Department of Languages, Literature and Communications, include Beginning Sign Language I, Beginning Sign Language II, Intermediate Sign Language I, Introduction to Exceptional Individuals, Educational Practices in Special Education, Introduction to Interpreting, and Educational Interpreting.

The three Education courses are 3 credit hours each. A total of 24 credit hours are required to complete this certificate, the statement said.

To earn an SLI Certificate from NMC, students will eventually have to meet NMC's English proficiency requirements. They can, however, begin the sign language classes at any time, as long as they can understand their instructor and comprehend the written materials assigned in the courses.

For Spring 2003, course offering will be:

Beginning Sign Language I (SL 101). It is being offered Tuesday and Thursday, either from 3 to 5 pm or 6 to 8pm;

Beginning Sign Language II (SL 110) is being offered Monday and Wednesday from 3 to 5pm.

NMC will begin offering other courses in Summer 2003, Fall 2003, and Spring 2004. This program can be completed within two years.

The NMC Sign Language instructors have identified several young deaf children on Saipan and Tinian who will need interpreters over the next few years. NMC's program will equip people to interpret on the preschool and elementary level. Students can then transfer to Guam Community College, Kapio'lani Community College in Hawaii, or any other interpreter training program to continue their studies. All courses have been designed to transfer with full credit.

Students who have had another teacher for SL 101 may need extra help from the new Sign Language Instructor at NMC, Anita Nilmodian, during the beginning of the semester and they will also need to watch some videotapes.

“It will take them about two weeks to catch up with the other students, but we will work this out. Students who have had other teachers for sign language in the past are encouraged to continue studying sign language and Ms. Nilmodian promises to be understanding of the fact that they had another instructor in the past,” reads part of the statement.

If students would like to get started on this before the semester starts, they should contact Danny Wyatt in the Languages Department at 234-5498 extension 2000.

Nilmodian encourages anyone interested in the Sign Language Interpreting Certificate or in taking sign language classes to contact her at NMC, in Building A. She can also be reached at home at 322-2648 or e-mail at

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