Cued Language Transliterator State Level Assessment

The Cued Language Transliterator State Level Assessment (CLTSLA) is a test of CLT knowledge and skill. The assessment is provided by the Testing, Evaluation, and Certification Unit (TECUnit) to appropriate state agencies.


The CLTSLA is a test designed to measure transliterator skills and provide diagnostic feedback. Unlike other tests, the CLTSLA is not administered by the TECUnit. Rather, the test is adopted by appropriate state agencies and administered by the state. Please note that each state assigns its own title to the test (e.g. in Virginia the CLTSLA is called the Virginia Quality Assurance Screening, VQAS).

Note that this is not a test of basic expressive cueing. The candidate is evaluated in terms of his/her ability to facilitate communication between spoken and cued English. Candidates abilities are evaluated in regards to: transliterating a verbatim message delivered at a normal speaking rate, paraphrasing material, cueing a foreign language, transphonating, differentiating multiple speakers, etc.


The CLTSLA is offered at a site designated by the administering state testing agency. There are two parts to the CLTSLA: a written component and a performance component.  


The written test generally comprises 50-question multiple choice questions. (Although format can vary based on individual state requirements. Consult with your state agency.) Questions evaluate knowledge and application of the Code of Conduct, the Code of Ethics (as defined by the Registry of Interpeters for the Deaf), research, and interpreting/ transliterating terminology.


At the time of testing, candidates may be offered an opportunity "warm-up" with materials similar to test content. During the performance, the candidate is videotaped while performing a variety of transliterator tasks: a dialogue, a story with sound-effects, a technical lecture, paraphrasing for a late-deafened consumer, and a foreign language. Candidates must also demonstrate their ability to voice for two deaf consumers.



In many states, you may not be able to take the performance portion of the test until after successfully passing the written portion. The percentage of correct answers that determines a passing score is determined by the state. Consult with you state for passing requirements.


You receive two subscores as based on your CSTSLA performance: an Expressive score and a Receptive score.

Expressive tasks: There are five tasks that make up the expressive portion: a dialogue, a children's story with sound effects, a lecture, a paraphrasing task, and a foreign language section.

Receptive tasks: You will be required to voice for two different deaf consumers.

Your overall performance score is a level (0, I, II, III, or IV) taken from the lower of your two subscores. For example, if you receive a Level III on your Expressive tasks and a Level II on your Receptive tasks, your overall score is Level II.



The first step to prepare for the CLTSLA Written Test is to download official information from the TECUnit: TECUnit Study Guide. Links to the resource websites recommended by the TECUnit as well as many sample tests are available on this website. Also on this site are two mock written tests (50 questions or 150 questions). 

The Virginia Department of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH) has sample questions for sign language interpreters who are preparing for the Virginia Quality Assurance Screening (VQAS).


You will need to devote specific preparation for each performace task. Develop a specific plan for your preparation. Consult with appropriate transliterator trainers. Attend transliterator training (LMI's CLT Skills Development III is ideal for test preparation.) You can also follow these steps as part of plan to get ready for the CLTSLA:


Check out your local libraries for books on tape. You can also videotape one of your favorite TV shows. Select a scene where two or three speakers are having a conversation. Videotape yourself transliterating the tape. Do you know how to set-up and maintain distinct speakers? Do you get "mixed up" and forget which speaker was assigned which hand? When a speakers pauses then begins speaking again, do you accidentally "switch" to the other speaker? These are a few things to look for in your tape.

Story with Sound Effects

Cartoons and children's stories-on-tape provide great practice for this section. Avoid listening to the tape and planning how you'll cue each sound. Check yourself under pressure first. Do you easily come up with a way to cue a sound (that would be recognizable to a receiver)? Does the pressure make you invent bizarre words for the sounds? Do you get distracted by the sounds and omit the parts of sentences that immediately follow noises?


Try transliterating a documentary on a subject with which you are not familiar. Are you able to keep up? Videotape yourself and see how you react when unfamiliar material comes at you at a rapid pace. Watch yourself in slow motion. Type out a script of one paragraph and see how much of the material you successfully conveyed.


Transliterate another documentary piece. Again choose something that is unfamiliar. This time imagine that you are cueing for someone who is new to Cued Speech and cannot handle reading rapid cues. Videotape yourself paraphrasing the material. Do you cue slowly, accurately, and clearly? Are you able to condense the information while still including the major points, key vocabulary, being faithful to the overall message, and cueing in complete English sentences?

Foreign Language

Use introductory foreign language lessons on audiotape. Select lessons which are accompanied by a script or book. Videotape yourself attempting to represent the material. While referring to the script, use frame-by-frame (or repeatedly press the pause button on your VCR) to see what you actually cue. Pick a few sentences randomly. Remember the goal is not to be perfect. Were you able to get about 80% of the information correctly conveyed?  


You will have the opportunity to "meet" the two consumers for whom you will voice by watching the warm-up video prior to taking the CLTSLA. However, if you do not currently have much experience voicing for deaf consumers, you will need to expand your exposure. Attend social gatherings, cue camps, and meetings where you can meet and interact with a variety of deaf cuers. If you work where there are several deaf consumers, investigate opportunities to cue for more than just your primary consumer. If you do not have easy access to deaf cuers in your area, consider videos like Native Intuition and other videotapes that feature deaf cuers from around the country.

Your overall performance will vary depending on your individual strengths. Some transliterators perform well on the Expressive tasks, but struggle with Receptive tasks. Transliterators who are siblings and parents of deaf cuers, on the other hand, may find the voicing tasks relatively easy, even without much formal training. Remember that your score is only as strong as its weakest link. Your overall level on the performance exam is the lower of your expressive and receptive subtests.

External Links

Cued Language Transliterator State Level Assessment (CLTSLA) - the official source of information on the CLTSLA from the TECUnit.