Sign language interpreters play a vital role in facilitating communication between deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals and the hearing world. They serve as a bridge between two worlds and enable individuals who use sign language to fully participate in a variety of settings, including education, employment, healthcare, and social situations.
Selecting a qualified sign language interpreter is crucial to ensuring effective communication and a successful interaction. The interpreter's qualifications and certifications are important factors to consider when selecting an interpreter to meet your needs. This article will provide an overview of the most common sign languages used in America, the qualifications and certifications required for sign language interpreters, and tips for selecting an interpreter that is right for you.
Sign Language In America
Each sign language has its own unique grammar, vocabulary, and cultural aspects. American Sign Language (ASL) is the most widely used sign language in America and is recognized as a separate language by the linguistic community. Understanding the differences between these sign languages is important when selecting a qualified interpreter to meet your communication needs. Below are the most common sign languages used in the US:
American Sign Language (ASL) -
a complete, natural language with its own grammar and syntax, primarily used in the United States and Canada.
Signed Exact English (SEE) -
a sign system that follows English word order and includes signs for every English word, used in educational settings for teaching literacy and English skills.
Pidgin Signed English (PSE) -
a combination of ASL signs and English grammar, used in situations where ASL may not be fully understood by all parties.
Conceptually Accurate Signed English (CASE) -
a sign system that focuses on conveying concepts accurately, rather than following strict English grammar rules, used in educational and interpreting settings.
Contact Sign (CS) -
a form of signing that combines elements of ASL and English and is used in situations where both hearing and deaf individuals are present and attempting to communicate.
Qualifications for Sign Language Interpreters
Sign language interpreters must possess a combination of skills and qualifications to effectively facilitate communication between deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals and hearing individuals. The following are common qualifications that sign language interpreters must meet:
Education and Training Requirements:
Completion of an interpreter education program (IEP) accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education (CCIE) or an equivalent program.
Bachelor's degree in interpreting or a related field is preferred.
Certification from a recognized organization such as the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) or the National Association of the Deaf (NAD).
Interpreters can be certified at various levels, including novice, intermediate, and master.
Professional Development Requirements:
Interpreters must continually develop their skills through continuing education and professional development opportunities.
Meeting these qualifications ensures that sign language interpreters have the necessary knowledge, skills, and expertise to provide effective interpretation services. When selecting an interpreter, it is important to verify their qualifications to ensure that they are qualified to meet your communication needs.
Types of Sign Language Interpreter Certifications
Certification is an important aspect of ensuring that sign language interpreters have met a standard level of competency in their skills and knowledge. The following are types of sign language interpreter certifications:
Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) Certification:
RID offers national certification for sign language interpreters.
Certifications are available at various levels, including NIC (National Interpreter Certification) and CDI (Certified Deaf Interpreter).
National Association of the Deaf (NAD) Certification:
NAD offers certification for sign language interpreters.
Certifications are available at various levels, including novice, intermediate, and advanced.
Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA):
EIPA is a performance assessment used to evaluate the skills of interpreters working in educational settings.
When selecting a sign language interpreter, it is important to verify their certification to ensure that they have met the necessary standards of competency in their skills and knowledge.
Sign language interpreters play a crucial role in facilitating effective communication between deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals and the hearing world. It is important to select a qualified interpreter that meets your specific communication needs to ensure a successful interaction. Understanding the different sign languages in America, the qualifications and certifications required for sign language interpreters, and the steps for selecting an interpreter can help you make an informed decision.
Working with a qualified sign language interpreter can provide numerous benefits, including increased accessibility, improved communication, and the ability to fully participate in a variety of settings. On the other hand, selecting the wrong interpreter can have a negative impact on communication and lead to misunderstandings and frustrations.
By ensuring that the interpreter you select meets the necessary qualifications and certifications, you can help ensure that your communication needs are effectively met, and enjoy the many benefits that come with effective communication.
If you're interested in learning more about sign language interpreting, the following resources may be helpful:
Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) - https://www.rid.org/
National Association of the Deaf (NAD) - https://www.nad.org/
Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education (CCIE) - https://www.ccie-accreditation.org/
National Interpreter Education Center (NIEC) - https://www.northeastern.edu/niec/
American Society for Deaf Children (ASDC) - https://deafchildren.org/
National Association of Interpreters in Education (NAIE) - https://www.naiedu.org/
Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA) - https://www.classroominterpreting.org/eipa/
Gallaudet University - https://www.gallaudet.edu/
National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) - https://www.ntid.rit.edu/
These resources offer a variety of information on sign language interpreting, including education and training programs, certification requirements, and professional development opportunities. Additionally, they provide information on different sign languages used in America and resources for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals.