The present study addresses existing skill gaps of sign language interpreters by analyzing a database of 1,211 scores from the Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA) to answer four primary questions: what patterns are there in EIPA Romans across score levels, what patterns are there in EIPA indices within Romans across score levels, which discreet language and processing skills correlate most strongly with overall EIPA scores, and how does performance on those discreet language and processing skills compare between graduates and non-graduates of interpreter training programs. Characteristics of score patterns and correlations between indices on the test are examined and discussed in light of what they indicate about interpreter proficiency at all levels of performance on the EIPA. Six specific competencies are highlighted as being both areas of weakness for interpreters and areas of high impact on message clarity and overall EIPA scores: eye contact and movement, use of the verb directionality and pronominal system of American Sign Language (ASL), use of stress and emphasis for words and phrases, use of ASL register, use of space for comparison and contrast, sequence, and cause and effect, and use of the classifier system of ASL. These six competencies reflect interpreter proficiency in ASL. Therefore, interpreter training programs and professional development planning need to include stricter language screening, a stronger focus on teaching receptive and expressive abilities in ASL, and in teaching the specific application of these abilities to the process of interpreting.



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