The Benchmark Knowledge Test is a paper-and-pencil test consisting of 150 multiple-choice questions. It covers six subject areas:
- 50% of the test (75 questions) will cover English and ASL grammar and usage, with an emphasis on English vocabulary, idioms, and word usage.
- 30% of the test (45 questions) will cover interpreting and ethical practices.
- 20% of the test (30 questions) will cover Deaf culture and history.
Recent graduates and uncertified practitioners must pass the Knowledge Test with a score of 80% or better in order to register for the Benchmark Performance Assessment. Practitioners who are already certified, as well as all who have taken and passed the NIC Written Test, may register for the Performance Assessment without taking the Knowledge Test.
Reference Materials to Use in Preparation for the Test
The questions contained within each version of the Knowledge Test have been taken from several types of sources, including books, websites, English and ASL instructors, and real life experiences. The information is common knowledge within the interpreting and Deaf communities. The following is a listing of some of the sources that may be beneficial for advance preparation.
There is no need to spend a lot of money purchasing books to prepare for the Knowledge Test. Many of the books listed below are commonly used in interpreter preparation programs. Others will likely be available in libraries, or could be borrowed from classmates or colleagues.
So, You Want to be an Interpreter? An Introduction to Sign Language Interpreting, (any edition) Janice H. Humphrey and Bob J. Alcorn, H & H Publishing Co.
Linguistics of American Sign Language, An Introduction, Fourth Edition, Clayton Valli, Ceil Lucas, & Kristin J. Mulrooney, Gallaudet University Press.
Transliteration: Show me the English, 2001 (Reprinted 2016), Jean E. Kelly, RID Press.
ASL-to-English Interpretation: Say it Like They Mean it, 2004, Jean E. Kelly, RID Press.
The Demand Control Schema: Interpreting as a Practice Profession, Robyn K. Dean, Robert Q Pollard, Jr.
Deaf in America: Voices from a Culture, Carol Padden and Tom Humphries
Introduction to American Deaf Culture, Thomas K. Holcomb. New York. Oxford University Press
Companion website: http://www.americandeafculture.com/
Encounters With Reality 1,001 Interpreter Scenarios. Brenda Cartwright. RID Press.
Barron’s 1100 Words You Need to Know, Murray Bromberg and Melvin Gordon, Sixth Edition.
- Be familiar with the NAD-RID Code of Professional Conduct.
- Be familiar with the RID’s Standard Practice Papers
Grammar and Usage Related Websites:
For additional information, check the websites of professional organizations in the field of Deafness and interpreting, including, but not limited to: