Certified Deaf Interpreters (CDIs) are interpreters who have been trained to interpret for deaf patients who haven’t acquired, or are unable to acquire American Sign Language (ASL).

A CDI is either deaf or hard of hearing, and has been certified by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf as a professional interpreter.

A CDI’s Role in the Interpreting Industry

Many people assume that all deaf people are fluent in only ASL, however, quite often this is not the case at all.

Depending on the individual’s schooling and their environment, they could have been exposed to ASL, ESL (English Sign Language) or home signs, obviously making it harder to only interpret ASL.

While ASL is the formal language in the deaf community, it definitely has it own distinct syntax and grammar that if you do not know it, will make it hard to interpret.  Which is where the importance of a CDI’s role comes in.

Working as a Team Member

Quite often a CDI works closely with another interpreter who isn’t deaf. This situation can sometimes make communicating a bit easier. Rather than just using a hearing interpreter or CDI working alone, by working as a team they are able to interpret more successfully.

The two literally work as a team. As the CDI transmits message content between a deaf consumer and a hearing interpreter; and vise versa. While this may just seem like shooting messages back and forth, it’s much more than that.

Both the deaf and hearing interpreter obtains the message in one communication mode. Then, processes it linguistically and culturally. Then passes it along in the appropriate communication mode.

However, there are even more challenging situations where the CDI and hearing interpreter will have to work together to understand a deaf individual’s message. Vest within each other to arrive at their best interpretation, and then convey that interpretation to the hearing party.

Working with a Deaf and Blind Individual

What many do not know is that CDIs can not only help the deaf, but also the blind as well. The CDI can receive a speaker’s message visually. Then help relay it to the deaf-blind individual by the sense of touch.

While this process is not easy, it can get done with a little more challenges. The CDI does everything they can to transmit the message in the easiest way possible for the deaf-blind individual.

Working Alone

Not often, do CDIs work as the only interpreter in a situation, but sometimes the situation may occur. In this instance, the CDI is will use sign language or another communication mode that is easy for the deaf individual to understand.

The Benefits of Using a CDI

While having a CDI in an interpreting situation doesn’t always occur, when you do it can be quite beneficial to all parties. Here are a few benefits to using a CDI:

  • A better understanding by all parties
  • Your time and resources are being used more efficiently.
  • There is a better of understanding of linguistic and/or cultural confusion and any misunderstandings.
  • At the end of the interpreting session there will be no confusion, rather a clear conclusion in the interpreting situation.

 

Conclusion

By using a Certified Deaf Interpreter in an appropriate situation, a consumer who is deaf or hard of hearing is more at ease, and is more likely to interpret faster. CDIs are an extremely valuable resource in any event that a deaf patient does not communicate well in ASL and needs an interpreter.

 

Have you ever sat next to an interpreter while they were interpreting something? While their job may “sound” easy, it really isn’t. If you’re bilingual it doesn’t mean you can interpret consecutively and successfully. Try sitting in on an interpreting situation: one sentence comes out, but then the second one is already coming out before you had already even paid enough attention to the first sentence. If you haven’t been through the training interpreters go through you will fall behind very quickly.

Many people who are bilingual, raised by monolingual parents or raised by deaf parents see this as a challenge. This is why you will notice that many interpreters today have some sort of cultural background that has landed them right into the interpreters seat.

Children who were raised by minorities such as immigrants, migrant workers or deaf people have acted as successive interpreters as well as cultural intermediaries between their communities and the outside world for the majority of their life. Despite the fact that upon becoming interpreters they have never gone through extensive training, the natural abilities these people have are quite impressive.

For example, say you come across a young Spanish girl, who before she reached the age of 5 was already interpreting between one language to another. She then, had to learn how to speak German because her family moved to Germany, and then English because her family eventually moved to the United States. In no time, she mastered how to interpret from and to all of these languages for her parents: a phone conversation, in-person conversations, messages, or radio and tv shows. She might have been put into critical situations where she quickly had to learn and develop diplomatic skills when there were disagreements between someone and her parents. While this obviously isn’t the training interpreters go through today, this girl has been slowly training her whole entire life to become a professional interpreter, which is why some of these childhood interpreters will sometimes find themselves, as adults, in the role of professional interpreters after the intensive “training” they have gone through their entire life.

Additionally, professional interpreters must have all the skills of translators, but also all the verbal and cognitive skills that enable them to go from one language to another consecutively and successively. The consecutive interpreter speaks after the source-language speaker has finished speaking. You then have to memorize it, formulate the translation in the target language, and then communicate it, not to mention doing all of this within a matter of seconds.

Interpreters who have grown up speaking one language while listening to another are able to be consecutive and successful interpreters. It’s no wonder so many of them are in this profession. Not only is it easy for them, but also it most likely means something to them, to be able to help others in this way just like they had to growing up. It is no wonder that interpreters, like translators, are considered special bilinguals.

As many know and acknowledge, deaf history month is celebrated from March 13 – April 15 every year. It sits between the month of March and April to highlight some of the key milestones in deaf history between these dates.
March 13, 1988: I. King Jordan named the first deaf president of Gallaudet University.
April 8, 1864: President Abraham Lincoln signs the charter for Gallaudet University in Washington, the first school for the advanced education of the Deaf and hard-of-hearing in the world.
April 15, 1817: The American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut, opens. It was the first permanent public school for the deaf.
At Boostlingo, we are celebrating deaf history month by spotlighting how Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) is the fastest growing interpreting service for the deaf and foreign language in the United States.

Why VRI for the Deaf?

Video Remote Interpreting provides qualified interpreter services to ensure effective communication to individuals who speak a foreign language, are deaf or who communicate using sign language. VRI uses video conferencing technology to connect and communicate with people at a different location. It is most commonly used in a wide variety of settings such as hospitals, schools, mental health care settings, corporate institutions and other workplaces.

Today, many hospitals and medical providers are required to have effective communication options for patients who are deaf. For deaf people who communicate primarily in sign language, qualified sign language interpreters may be the only effective communication option. Failing to obtain qualified interpreters for medical interpreting can put patients’ health at risk. One way to minimize these risks is to provide a qualified sign language interpreter through VRI technology. Sometimes, a qualified sign language interpreter is always available on-site, or aren’t able to make it in time if the matter is urgent, which is where VRI comes in. Here are a few ways VRI is helping to provide client-focused services for the deaf.

 

The Benefits of VRI for the Deaf

 

Fast Responses in an Urgent Situation

When clients or patients have a need for communication that is urgent, VRI can provide interpreting services within a matter of seconds. For patients or clients who are deaf, it may be hard to find someone who can interpret ASL right on the spot, which is why VRI would come in handy.

Enhanced Accuracy

The visual support associated with Video Remote Interpreting can provide enhanced accuracy for spoken language and American Sign Language (ASL). This enhanced technology can really make it feel as if the interpreter is sitting right in the room with the patient or client.

On-Demand all the Time

Whether the situation is urgent or not, certain situations aren’t planned in advance which means an on-site interpreter will most likely not be available. With VRI allows access whenever needed. 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Guaranteed Quality of Services

With VRI, you have the benefit of having the option to have interpreters that specialize in specific areas such as (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and other specializations). This is essential for a Deaf patient or client to gain an accurate understanding of what is being interpreted. If those interpreters working in these settings don’t have the training they need, the Deaf individual will suffer the fallout. Conversely, when qualified interpretation is taking place, the Deaf individual is able to fully understand what is being portrayed to them.

Interpreter Scheduling

This goes hand in hand with fast responses, in an urgent situation. Rather than a service requester consistently trying to contact individual interpreters over a period of days or weeks, VRI providers can contract with specific deaf service interpreters. This can be especially beneficial when considering the amount of time it takes to locate and schedule interpreters for recurring appointments. Additionally, these interpreters will most likely always be licensed to practice Sign Language interpreting.

The Deaf Person Doesn’t Stand Out

Quite often in settings will the deaf individual be singled out due to have someone walking around with them as their “helper.” With VRI, this doesn’t need to happen. They will have the ability to log on when communication is needed and log off when it is not. The freedom and convenience of VRI is not exaggerated. It enables a level of independence and equal footing with their peers that could not otherwise exist.

 

Conclusion

The enforcement of VRI around the nation is dramatically improving the experience for Deaf individuals and is a giant step in the right direction for everyone involved. In observance of Deaf History Month we at Boostlingo provide VRI technology to our providers deaf or ASL patients/clients. We have seen what VRI can do, how it can benefit everyone involved.