Are Deaf Interpreters Oppressed by RID

The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) has been accused of not having “a Deaf Heart” for so many years. Deaf Interpreters both certified and uncertified have been questioning RID, perhaps ever since the certification process for Deaf interpreters was first established. Many people are not aware that RID has been certifying deaf interpreters since 1972. The old “RSC” (Reverse Skill Certification) back in 1972-1988 is what is called Certified Deaf Interpreter today.

In the past, RID has made the entire process of training of “Deaf Interpreter” (DI), or Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI), much harder, such as for not maintaining a true equal written/testing process of CDI/DI to their written/testing process of hearing interpreting peers. This process has clearly caused the potential Deaf Interpreters applicant to fail immediately and causing anger in the community.  

While RID is a member-based organization, it has long been a certifying and testing organization which has been a clear violation of anti-trust laws as stated in The Deaf Report’s article, “RID Compliance with Antitrust Regulations Initiates Motion to Remove Requirement of Membership. ” RID has taken the steps to correct this flaw in their system however there have been statements that RID has continued to ignore the training and certifying process for Deaf Interpreters.

RID was contacted about the training and certifying of deaf interpreters and they referred The Deaf Report to Center for Assessment of Sign Language Interpreters (CASLI). On their website, their most recent vlog posted states that the CDI test and the NIC certifying test are both being modified. After a quick review of CASLI’s website, their latest vlog indicates that CASLI is aware and working hard to meet the needs of Deaf Interpreters. They also have many CDI members on the CASLI testing team which shows intent to be including the community in more decisions.

“This is an exciting time for CASLI. RID established CASLI as an LLC in 2016 and charged CASLI with two primary tasks: 1) administration of the tests that RID was currently offering, and 2) developing new tests to replace those being used for the NIC certification and the CDI certification.” (Miako Villanueva)

Andrea K. Smith pointed out to The Deaf Report that Patrick Boudreault has done a lot of studies on Deaf Interpreters and he has pointed out that the testing process is flawed because Certified Deaf Interpreters are not actually being tested on what they do “He wrote a piece that identified the different job tasks that deaf interpreters do. Interpreting is a very small component since technically the only time a Deaf interpreter is interpreting is when they’re working from one national sign language to another national sign language”

Andrea also emphasized that she believes that Deaf people are the ones that should be doing their own research because they are the ones doing the work and Patrick does that however he is just one person. “We have to first get the CDIs to a place where they are doing that level of research on interpreting tasks. It happens but is slow and completely disconnected from the community demand for a modified certification test now.”