The most popular handbook about the Deaf community

Q: “If I take one or two
sign-language classes, will that
make me a qualified interpreter?”

A: Hardly. But you’d be surprised how many people have little—or no—idea of just what it does take to make a qualified interpreter. Anyone can call himself or herself a “qualified interpreter.” It’s not illegal to do so, but it’s certainly not ethical. There are two national certifying bodies for professional interpreters: the National Association of the Deaf and the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, which currently maintain their own separate certification standards. They are working towards a “merger.” Some interpreters possess both RID and NAD certification, others one kind, and still others, who may be good interpreters, neither. Some states still don’t recognize or require NAD or RID certification, which makes matters more complicated. To some extent, it’s up to the client to make sure that the interpreter is qualified. And the Deaf community is grappling with the issue of reliable statewide certifications and licensing.

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