If you’re aspiring to become a Sign Language Interpreter, then knowing the history of RID (Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf) is essential.
Here are a few facts…
In 1964, a group of people met up in Muncie, Indiana at Ball State University (Back then, it was Ball State Teachers College.) and established what is now known as RID. The establishment was not planned. The intent of the meeting was to create a more structured foundation to the training of interpreters and to upgrade services and support that were offered to Deaf individuals. The very first members were made up of people who had Deaf parents, Deaf consumers, Educators of the Deaf, and religious workers.
“The interpreter scene prior to 1964 was so vastly different from that which exists today that it is a strain on the imagination to contemplate it … We did not work as interpreters, but rather volunteered our services as our schedules permitted. If we received any compensation it was freely given and happily accepted, but not expected.” – Lou Fant, RID biographer
RID also changed the game for Sign Language Interpreters because back in the day it was something people did for friends and family. RID then switched it up and turned this into a professional career that now has regulations, a code of ethics, and standards.
Because Sign Language Interpreting is mostly a helping occupation, it is traditionally viewed as “women’s work”. This line of work started out with mostly female interpreters and still do to this day.
RID, along with the NAD (National Association of the Deaf), co-authored the ethical code of conduct for interpreters. Both RID and NAD are organizations that uphold very high standards of professionalism and ethical conduct for interpreters.
The code of conduct is centered around the seven tenets that all interpreters need to abide by:
- Interpreters possess the professional skills and knowledge required for the specific interpreting situation.
- Interpreters conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to the specific interpreting situation.
- Interpreters demonstrate respect for consumers.
- Interpreters demonstrate respect for colleagues, interns, and students of the profession.
- Interpreters maintain ethical business practices.
- Interpreters engage in professional development.
Whether you are a current or aspiring interpreter, stay up to date on the latest from RID. I’ve learned that things can change over time. Be sure to always stay educated and follow the guidelines. Go to RID’s website, become a member, and stay in the know.
*References + Resources have been hyperlinked in the text.