Diploma Sign Language


The Diploma in Kenyan Sign Language Interpretation course prepares students to communicate with and interpret for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing. The program develops an awareness of the social, physiological and legal aspects of deafness, prepares students to work as entry-level Sign Language Interpreters who will provide communication access in a variety of settings. In addition, this course provides in-service training for working interpreters who want to upgrade their skills.

Sign language interpreters must be proficient in Kenyan Sign Language and English/Kiswahili or local/foreign languages. They must have an in-depth knowledge of the cultural norms and practices of deaf people and other nationalities. Interpreters must have excellent interpersonal communication skills to be able to successfully work directly with people. They may interpret confidential information, which requires integrity and good character.

The course work includes the acquisition of Kenyan Sign Language (KSL); grammar, structure, and sociolinguistic properties; cognitive processes associated with interpretation between KSL and English, Kiswahili; the structure and character of the deaf community; and acquisition of consecutive and simultaneous interpreting skills. Entry-level jobs for para-professional interpreters are available in professional non-governmental sector, medical facilities, legal and educational systems or a variety of community settings such as family meetings and events, cultural occasions, social events and religious interpreting opportunities or apply language skills to other human service related areas.

Admission requirements

To be eligible for the Diploma in Kenyan Sign Language Interpretation course:

  • KCSE mean score of C-
  • Certificate in KSL proficiency level or C- in KSL KCSE
  • English/Kiswahili or local/foreign languages proficiency level KCSE C-
  • In liueu a language proficiency rating of intermediate level for 2 above
  • A deaf applicant shall possess;
  • A mean grade of C- at KCSE
  • A grade of C- in English or pass an English proficiency test administered by St. Paul University,
  • C (minus) in KSL at KCSE.
  • Additional qualifications in other fields for example law, medicine, linguistics, sociology, business, accounting, design, arts, music, education, counseling, psychology etc are added advantage to this course.

Course Description

Comparative Linguistics: KSL-English/Kiswahili/Local Dialects

This course provides students with a comprehensive introduction to the linguistic structures of English and Kenyan Sign Language. Topics include the study of sociolinguistics with focus on discourse functions in the two languages, role of syntax and semantics and the creation of meaning.

Introduction to Professional Practice

This course provides students with an overview of the profession of sign language interpretation and forms the theoretical foundation for work as an interpreter. The role and responsibilities of sign language interpreters, interaction with professional bodies, job market analysis, work environments, portfolio development and the prerequisite skills and knowledge needed to work effectively as a sign language interpreter will be addressed.

Discourse Analysis

This course provides students with the major approaches to discourse through text analysis and translation strategies. Students will analyze both English and KSL texts in order to develop equivalent translations in each language. Inter-Cultural Communication for Sign Language Interpreters. This course will introduce the phenomena of effective and ineffective interactions between individuals from different cultural backgrounds. Topics will include the function of cultures, membership in cultures, ethnocentrism, and how culture influences one’s self-identity.

Deaf Community and Culture

This course provides students with a comprehensive overview of the aspects of features of Deaf communities and Deaf culture. Emphasis is placed on shaping effective working relationships with the Deaf community, demonstrating support and respect for the diversity within the community and on the interpreter’s responsibility to the community. Current controversies and issues affecting the Deaf community nationally and internationally will also be examined.


This course provides students with a thorough understanding of the Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Professional Conduct and strategies in order to make values-based decisions. This course fosters the application of critical thinking to real world scenarios enhancing the students’ abilities to make ethical and sound professional decisions.

Directed Lab

This course provides students with opportunities to enhance their interpretation and KSL skills. Some aspects of the course will be delivered in the classroom and the remainder of the course is completed through directed lab assignments.

KSL and Language Varieties

This course provides students with opportunities to study the variation and change in language structure and use, with a focus on sign language variation. Topics will emphasize the features of contact varieties in KSL and the production of more English-like grammar.

Interpreting in Specialized Settings

This course provides students with opportunities to be exposed to the variables involved in interpreting in specialized settings. Topics include interpreting in such settings as religious, platform, medical, and working with special populations including senior citizens, deaf-blind consumers, etc.

The Kenyan Sign Language Interpreters Association KSLIA, Kenyan Interpreters and Translators Association KITA, Kenyan Sign Language Research Project KSLRP and Kenya National Association of the Deaf KNAD will work with SPU to evaluate the quality and market requirements to ensure the integrity and competence of licensed interpreters for the consumers.


1 academic year (Three Semesters)