5 Good-To-Know Facts About RID

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 administers examinations, maintains a registry of Sign Language Interpreters, and lobbies on behalf of Sign Language Interpreters.

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.

How to Become A Sign Language Interpreter

There are different avenues on how to become a certified Sign Language interpreter. Some states have a licensure board that has a system in place to issue permits to non-certified interpreters.

Let’s start with RID’s Certifications.

Currently, RID holds two different certifications.

The National Interpreter Certification (NIC) is broken up into two parts, the NIC Written Exam and the NIC Performance Exam.

You don’t have to take both exams at the same time. You can take the Performance Exam within 5 years of passing the written portion. A bachelor’s degree is required to be certified. However, there is an Alternative Pathway option in the event that you do not hold the necessary degree to take the performance exam.  Holders of this certification and demonstrated general knowledge in the field of interpreting, ethical decision making, and interpreting skills.

Then, there is the Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI) certification. There is also a written exam called CDI Knowledge Exam. In order to take this exam, the candidate must meet the 40 hour training requirement. One may also take the CDI performance exam within 5 years of passing the written portion. Candidates must have a minimum of an associate degree of any major or may also choose the Alternative Pathway option. Effective June 30, 2016, candidates must have a bachelors degree in order to take the performance exam. Holders of this certification are Deaf or Hard of Hearing and have demonstrated knowledge and understanding of interpreting, deafness, the Deaf community, and Deaf culture.

Read: 5 Good-To-Know Facts about RID

There are some states with a licensure board that permits non-certified interpreters to practice in the state.

In this particular post, I will explain the Alabama Licensure Board for Interpreters and Transliterators.

A license is issued by the state if you send in your RID certification.

permit is issued when you have passed a written exam approved by the board AND performance assessment – not the NIC performance assessment, otherwise you could apply for your license if you’ve taken and passed the NIC written exam. Usually, candidates take the Educational Performance Interpreting Assessment.

non-renewable permit is issued when you have 3 interpreters who are already licensed/certified that can vouch for you. This permit expires 12 months after the issuance date. So don’t get too busy with interpreting assignments. Make time to study for your written exam and performance test so that you can apply for the renewable permit or license.

All the above require more documentation such as the application, fees, proof of identity, etc.

Have questions? Send me a note at assistme@royasignsinterpreting.com

References + Resources

RID’s Certification Overview

ALBIT’s Rules and Regulations