Certification Status of DIs – March 2008

The vast majority of working Deaf Interpreters are not yet nationally certified.  Of 196 Deaf Interpreters responding to the NCIEC National Deaf Interpreter Survey conducted in March 2008:

  • 24% held the Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI).
  • 3% of CDIs also held the older Reverse Skills Certificate (RSC)
  • 6% held the RSC only.

That leaves 70% of working DI respondents not certified at the time of the survey.

Personal Characteristics and Certification – Any Link?

The NCIEC analyzed the National Deaf Interpreter Survey data to see if there might be a relationships between an individual’s school experiences, education levels, interpreting education, years of experience, and having Deaf family members and successful achievement of the CDI.

Certification and Schooling

Overall, the schooling experiences of Deaf Interpreters varies.  Based on our survey:

  • The majority of Deaf Interpreters have attended a residential school.
  • Mainstream settings and oral schools were attended by fewer DI survey respondents.
  • Among Certified Deaf Interpreters, an even higher percentage of them attended residential schools.
  • There were fewer CDI holders who attended mainstream and oral schools. However, RID-certified interpreters attended mainstream and oral schools with more frequency than DI survey respondents overall.
  • In the category of “Other” settings respondents indicated Deaf day schools and self-contained programs within public schools.

Statistical tests showed a strong relationship between attending residential school and attainment of certification. Running the same statistical test for both mainstream experiences or oral schools indicated a weaker relationship, especially for mainstream with interpreters.

Certification and Education Levels

Among National DI Survey respondents, those who are RID-certified hold Master’s degrees at a higher rate than those who are not.

  • 45% percent of Certified Deaf Interpreters hold Masters degrees, as compared to 34% of all respondents.
  • 36% of RSC holders and 40% of those with both certifications also hold a Master’s degree.
  • At the time of the survey, no CDIs were working towards Associates or Bachelors degrees.
  • Five CDI holders were working on their Masters or Doctorate degrees.
  • RSC holders have double the number of Master’s degree holders than Associate or Bachelors degrees.
  • There was only one respondent each with a Doctorate degree among the RSC holders and those with both CDI and RSC.

Compare the education data of the general RID membership.

Certification and Interpreting Education

Did DI survey respondents complete an interpreting education program?

  • Only 16% of all DI survey respondents responded “Yes.”
  • More CDI holders completed interpreting education programs than RSC holders and the overall group of respondents.

But, this issue may warrant further study. It appears that respondents may have had differing ideas in mind for “interpreting education program.”

Certification and Years of Experience

Years of interpreting experience and certification are statistically significantly related.

  • Thirty-seven percent of CDIs report having 8 or fewer years of experience, compared to 45% of all DI respondents.
  • Respondents with an RSC or both CDI and RSC tend to be more experienced than CDI-only holders and overall respondents, in general.

This second point is not surprising since CDI is a newer certification.

Certification and Deaf Family Members

An analysis compared the prevalence of Deaf family members among DIs with and without certification.

  • The majority of DI respondents had some Deaf family relationships, especially siblings and extended family.
  • There are only small differences between those with certification and the general population of Deaf Interpreters with regard to their Deaf family members, except for a higher rate of siblings among RSC holders.
  • A chi-square test showed no statistical relationship between attainment of the CDI and having Deaf family members.