SAT Writing and Language Practice Test: Interpreter at America's Immigrant Gateway

Home > SAT Test > SAT Writing and Language Practice Tests

Test Information

Question 11 questions

Time 9 minutes

See All test questions

Take more free SAT Writing and Language Practice Tests available from

Interpreter at America's Immigrant Gateway

Throughout his career as an interpreter at America's largest immigrant processing station, Kaufman has spent many ferry rides mentally preparing himself for the vivid realities of his job. Although some of his contemporaries might consider his work menial or inconsequential, he cherishes his opportunity to witness and contribute to the unfolding stories of countless immigrants. These immigrant stories, Kaufman knows, hold 1 great significance for his and American history. Most of the brave, sea-worn travelers who disembark at Ellis Island will soon depart as new Americans, 2 lugging all there courage, hope, and worldly possessions into New York City. Many 3 will remain in the city and some other people will disperse across the nation. 4

[1] The year is 1907: the busiest year Kaufman, or Ellis Island, has seen. [2] One and a quarter million immigrants have been admitted to the U.S. this year. [3] Only about 2 percent of Ellis Island's immigrants are denied, typically for perceived potential criminal or public health threats. [4] The rest will establish life in America, although not without difficulty and perseverance. [5] At the immigration station, Kaufman regularly sees the range of raw human emotion, from deep, exhausted grief to powerful hope. [6] He has witnessed it all. 5

6 Many Ellis Island interpreters were born to European immigrants. 7 His heritage, and surrounding community, enabled him to learn six languages. Fluency in six languages is typical for Ellis Island interpreters, although Kaufman knows some who speak as many as twelve or thirteen. Kaufman knows that in some ways, his ability to listen and translate effectively can impact the course of an immigrant's future. For this reason, he constantly hones his language skills, picking up various 8 shades and dialects in hopes to better help those he serves.

Kaufman assists colleagues at every checkpoint. Ellis Island is equipped with a hospital, dining room, and boarding room, in addition to the more central processing facilities. 9 This morning, he helps an Italian family discuss their child's health with nurses. Later, he translates for a Polish woman who expects to meet her brother soon. When Kaufman meets immigrants whose language he cannot speak, he finds another interpreter 10 to help speak to them instead of him doing it.

To some extent, Kaufman sees himself distinctly in the shoes of these immigrants. He intimately knows the reality that almost all Americans, somewhere in their ancestry, were aliens in this nation. With every encounter, Kaufman hopes that these immigrants will soon find whatever they crossed oceans to seek. He hopes, as he still does for his own family, that life in America will someday render the 11 advantages of leaving home worthwhile.


  • B. great significance for his—and America's—history.
  • C. great significance for his: and America's history.
  • D. great significance for his, and America's, history.


  • B. lugging all they're courage,
  • C. lugging all their courage,
  • D. lugging all there are courage,


  • B. will remain in the city, but other people will nonetheless disperse across the
  • C. will remain in the city; many others will disperse across the
  • D. will remain in the city, though yet others will disperse across the

4. Which sentence, if added to the beginning of paragraph 1, would set the appropriate tone for the remainder of the paragraph?

  • A. Among the many diverse and fascinating possibilities for a career, David Kaufman chose language interpretation.
  • B. Many people never consider language interpretation as a job, but David Kaufman knows all about it.
  • C. All jobs come with difficulties, and David Kaufman believes language interpretation is no different.
  • D. A pale horizon meets the early-morning sky as David Kaufman's commuter ferry crosses the New York Harbor, bound for Ellis Island.

5. For the sake of the cohesion of the paragraph, sentence 1 should be placed

  • A. where it is now.
  • B. after sentence 2.
  • C. after sentence 3.
  • D. after sentence 4.

6. Which sentence most effectively establishes the central idea of the paragraph?

  • B. Like many Ellis Island interpreters, Kaufman was born to European immigrants.
  • C. Language ability was especially important among Ellis Island interpreters.
  • D. Some accused children of European immigrants of having an unfair advantage in getting jobs at Ellis Island.


  • B. His heritage, and surrounding community enabled him to learn six languages.
  • C. His heritage and surrounding community, enabled him to learn six languages.
  • D. His heritage and surrounding community enabled him to learn six languages.


  • B. meanings
  • C. tricks
  • D. nuances

9. Which sentence, if added at this point, would best support the central idea of the paragraph?

  • A. Kaufman is one of an army of Ellis Island employees spread around the enormous compound.
  • B. From medical screening to records confirmation to inspection, Kaufman interprets as needs arise.
  • C. Sometimes, Kaufman feels the stress of being pulled in many different directions, but ultimately he finds his job worthwhile.
  • D. Kaufman and his colleagues work, eat, and practically live together, making them feel closer than typical coworkers.


  • B. to help speak instead of him.
  • C. helping him out with speaking.
  • D. to help.


  • B. journeys
  • C. difficulties
  • D. penalties