I am not currently teaching Introduction to Interpreting (ASL3310).

Please note: All information currently available on this site represents work and due dates relevant to a previous semester/course. Please check back during later semesters for updated information on this course. Thank you.

The business of interpreting

Since the formation of the RID in 1964, sign language interpreting has been a paid and competitive endeavor. Professional credentials are required to work in the field and testing has been required since 1972. Let’s discuss the demographic makeup (the “supply”) of interpreters, understand different types of required credentials, and learn about how to market oneself in a competitive environment.

Here are some learning outcomes of which we might want to be aware:


Chapter 8 (pp. 121–139) Required

2015 Annual Report to the Members of the RID Required

Despite the recounting of their 2014–2015 FY, the RID’s annual report does give some statistics about who took exams, who passed/failed and where the membership lives.

Why so few men? Gender imbalance in conference interpreting

Research into the causes and consequences of a preponderance of women in the profession of conference interpretation and what men think about it. (Hat tip: Anne Leahy)

A study of demographics at the 1999 RID Biennial Convention Required

This article from the 1999 Journal of Interpretation discusses demographic data volunteered from RID members. This appears to be the most recent(!) statistics on interpreter demographics (gender, language acquisition background, educational background, etc.).

2015 Occupational Outlook Summary for Interpreters/Translators

Information from the US Federal government on what interpreters/translators do, are, learn, and earn. Caveat: this is not hyper-specific to signed language interpreters, but it is fairly accurate on what your federal government thinks you do and should be paid.

State of Utah QA Testing Preparation

This specific section addresses Utah state QA preparation and legal statutes. Links to state law change frequently due to state website reformatting/architecture issues. The code numbers are correct although the current links may not be.

Utah Interpreter Program Certification Requirements (2015)

This is the newest revised list of requirements for the State of Utah’s Certification/QA program. Find exact policies, downloads for testing criteria, schedules, applications, and a practice exam.

Utah Interpreter Program Certification Maintenance Requirements (2010)

Utah Interpreter Program Certification Maintenance Requirements (2014)

These are the renewal requirements for the State of Utah’s Certification/QA program. Compare with RID’s maintenance requirements.

State of Utah Interpreter and Transliterator Policy and Procedures Manual (2005)

This manual prepared by the Utah State Department of Rehabilitation outlines policies, procedures, and state legal statutes outlining the provision of interpreters in the state of Utah. UIP recommends you read this for Written Exam preparation.

Written Exam Preparation Handout (2005)

This is a handout outlining preparation, expectations, and recommended reading in preparation for taking the Utah State Written Exam.

Practice Written Exam (2005)

Now retired by UIP, this is a Practice written exam administered by the Utah Interpreting Program from 2000–2009; for a practice test based on the June 2009 revision, see the link above.

Or, you can try this written practice exam or this written practice exam or these flash cards and these flash cards.

Utah Code 53A-26a: Interpreter Services for the Hearing Impaired Act

(Update 2016: This is still the code for interpreter provisions, but the text for and amendements to the code are found under 2013 HB371.)

Utah Code 78B-1-201: Definitions (of an interpreter/transliterator)

Utah Code 78B-1-202: Proceedings at which interpreter is to be provided for hearing impaired.

Utah Administrative Code Rule R280-203: Certification Requirements for Interpreters for the Hearing Impaired.

American Sign Language Interpreters in Utah State Courts

Some Test Preparation videotexts

Primarily geared towards the K-12 interpreter, this series of links includes test preparation texts one might use in preparing for a state QA or NIC expressive skills text. YMMV.

Networking for the Developing Sign Language Interpreter

This posting at the interpreting blog Street Leverage discusses the why and the how for getting off the ground as a new interpreter/interpreter candidate. Excellent resource. Correlate this with our in-class guest speaker on this topic.

Maine Sign Language Interpreter Has to Pay Nearly $1K in Fees Each Year to Legally Work

Center for Disease Control (CDC) Report on the US Deaf Community (March 2011)

From the abstract, this report discusses pathological (not “hearing/auditory”) issues confronting Deaf people, “we describe 4 issues that underlie health inequities experienced by deaf sign language users and propose 6 public health approaches to address these health and health care inequities to promote health and prevent chronic diseases.” Includes a two-part ASL video which discusses the concept of social justice.

Market Disorder Within the Field of Sign Language Interpreting: Professionalization Implications (Witter-Merithew & Johnson, 2004)

This reprint of their 2004 Journal of Interpretation article discusses market disorder and areas of weakness and threat in the professional sign language interpreter space.

Is the RID NIC Test Valid?

There has been controversy of late regarding the supposed validity of the RID NIC test. As of July 2015, the pass rate for the exam has been 26% (as compared to 80% in 2009). This “Open Letter to the RID” discusses this discrepancy and outlines some of the recommendations for the RID to consider. Other discussions along this thread:

Study guide for the BEI (Texas) certificate

You may not be moving to Texas, but the BEI is being accepted by more and more states. This guide is overall helpful in preparing for any national/regional examination.

Study guide for BEI Trilingual certification

For those looking for additional multilingual certification preparation.

It’s the How, Not the What: Preparing for the NIC Interview

David Evans’ 2009 NIC test preparation guide, including discussions of test-taking strategies and the CPC. (Note: it is likely that this guide does not cover material on any exams updated after 2011, but it is a good primer on NIC prepration.)