The Importance of Getting a Certified Interpreter or CDI

The Importance of Getting a Certified Interpreter or CDI

You may have seen all the hoopla all across different social media and in the News the last few weeks about interpreters acting during Hurricane Irma emergency briefings. Let me first explain the three types of interpreters used:

Someone who “knows” Sign Language – This guy works as a Lifeguard for Manatee County, Florida who happens to have a Deaf brother. The County asked him to interpret an emergency meeting which ensued in an inept performance that no Deaf citizens could understand. Which is dangerous in an emergency situation when you’re trying to announce an evacuation. If you had trouble understanding this guy, here’s a transcript.

Importance of asl certified
Importance of asl certified

A Certified (Hearing) Interpreter – An interpreter who has gone through years of training, a college degree and levels of certifications. They may specialize in specific areas – medical, law, and such, and can relay information to the Deaf clients effectively.

A Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI) – A Deaf person trained as an interpreter and have specialized training and/or experience in the use of gesture, mime, props, drawings and other tools to enhance communication.

Here’s a video showing the differences in the three interpreters:

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The difference in signing is obvious, even to those who don’t know ASL. But there’s been some debate about the CDI – that he was being too expressive or over-doing it. Here’s a simple explanation – ASL uses every part of the body and facial expression to emote emotion and severity of things. Things that Hearing people emote in their voice patterns. If the interpreter has a “flat” face it’s like listening to Ben Stein speak (https://youtu.be/uhiCFdWeQfA), it’s just plain boring.

So, it’s important to get a certified Interpreter or CDI for your interpreting needs to avoid frustration and misunderstandings with your Deaf clients.