Provisional Deaf Interpreter Credential

Frequently Asked Questions


The Provisional Deaf Interpreter Credential (PDIC) is a temporary credential that will be awarded to eligible individuals who satisfy all previous requirements to take the CDI performance test, AND who submit the required application form and approved attestations of language and interpreting competence. The PDIC is designed to temporarily credential those who have met all the criteria associated with taking the CDI performance exam, but who are unable to take the performance exam because it is on moratorium.

All PDIC credentials will automatically expire and become invalid 12 months after CASLI releases the new Deaf Interpreter Performance exam or immediately upon a PDIC holder’s achievement of the CDI certification, whichever comes first. No extensions will be granted. For example, if the new Deaf Interpreter Performance exam becomes available on December 1, 2018, the PDIC would be good until December 1, 2019. This assumes that the PDIC holder remains current in their membership, CEUs, and has no EPS violations. This 12-month period allows the PDIC holder time to take and pass the new Deaf Interpreter Performance exam and achieve the CDI certification. At the end of that 12-month period, the PDIC will expire and reference to any such designation will be eliminated from the RID database.

No. RID grants certification based on the satisfaction of a number of factors, including achieving a passing score on a performance exam. Once granted certification, individuals are automatically moved into the Certified Membership category and awarded all the privileges of certified membership. There is currently no performance exam available for Deaf interpreters, therefore, the PDIC is a temporary credential and is not a certification. Holders of the PDIC will have a special status within RID designated only for this temporary credential.

Deaf interpreters who:

  • Have valid, passing CDI knowledge exam results;
  • Meet the educational requirements for the CDI certification (currently an Associate’s degree from an accredited college or satisfactory completion of the Alternative Pathway process);
  • Submission of the PDIC application; and
  • Submission of eight (8) attestations of competence in accordance with the required skill set categories.

The PDIC is being offered in recognition of the fact that there is currently no performance examination available for Deaf interpreters. This may limit the employability of Deaf interpreters as generalist practitioners. RID supports the importance of the work of Deaf interpreters. The PDIC provides an interim level of recognition that a Deaf interpreter has satisfied a sufficient set of criteria to be awarded a temporary credential until such time as performance testing for Deaf interpreters resumes.

No. The moratorium on the NIC performance exam was lifted in 2016 and the NIC performance exam is currently available. As a result, hearing interpreters have an option for obtaining certification. Currently, Deaf interpreters do not, so the interim credential is being made available until such time as the new CDI performance exam is available.

In March 2016 the RID Board of Directors voted to establish an interim credential for Deaf interpreters to serve as a bridge until a new performance exam for Deaf interpreters could be established. Shortly thereafter, a workgroup was formed to explore what such a process might look like. That workgroup developed a proposal and presented it to the RID Board of Directors. The board sought broader input from Deaf members of RID and hosted two webinars with Deaf Caucus members to gain feedback and perspective. Soon after, a new board was elected. It took several months to bring the board up to speed on the PDIC, the history, and possible approaches for implementation. The PDIC workgroup presented suggestions to the board. The board was not able to accept all of the recommendations of the workgroup, as some of them were in conflict with already established scopes of work for CASLI and the Certification Committee. Based on the recommendations of the workgroup, along with feedback and input from the broader Deaf membership of RID, the RID Board directed HQ staff to develop the final implementation process for the PDIC.

Although CASLI staff and board members are aware of the PDIC and some of the initial discussions surrounding the temporary credential, it is outside CASLI’s scope of responsibility to be involved in developing an operational plan for this temporary credential. Because the PDIC does not involve any performance testing which would be administered through CASLI, there was nothing for them to develop as part of this administrative process. In its final form, it is an administrative process managed by RID’s Certification program.

Applications and instructions are available at the link here. The process is as follows:

  • Submit PDIC application and associated documents to the Certification Department. There are eight [8] attestations total that must be submitted:
    • Two [2] affirming your ability to adequately provide sight/text translation
    • Two [2] affirming your ability to adequately provide simultaneous interpretation
    • Two [2] affirming your ability to adequately provide consecutive interpretation
    • Two [2] affirming your ability to adequately provide mirror/platform Interpreting
  • Upon receipt of all application materials, review and approval will occur within 15 business days and candidates will be notified via email. NOTE: Incomplete or partial applications will not be accepted. All required application materials must be submitted simultaneously.

Applications will stop being accepted 60 days prior to CASLI’s launch of the new Deaf Interpreter Performance exam.

It is anticipated that it will take approximately fifteen (15) business days to review, verify and process the application and the associated materials. The applicant will be notified via email once the processing is complete.

The PDIC is a temporary credential. It is valid for up to 12 months after the availability of the new Deaf Interpreter Performance exam provided the following standards are upheld:

  • The PDIC practitioner renews their membership on time (by June 30 of each year) annually;
  • The PDIC practitioner complies with the Code of Professional Conduct in all assignments;
  • The PDIC practitioner provides evidence earning a minimum of 2.0 PS (Professional Studies) CEUs annually

The PDIC will only be awarded one time to eligible Deaf interpreters. That means that if an individual loses the PDIC credential for failure to comply with one or more of the three standards listed below, it cannot be reissued. For example, if a PDIC holder fails to pay their dues on time, the PDIC is forfeited and cannot later be reinstated. The standards include:

  • The PDIC practitioner renews their membership on time (by June 30 of each year) annually;
  • The PDIC practitioner complies with the Code of Professional Conduct in all assignments;
  • The PDIC practitioner provides evidence of a minimum of 20 contact hours of continuing education/CEUS annually

RID recognizes that the Deaf community has been adversely and disproportionately affected by the moratorium on the CDI performance exam. In light of this, the PDIC will be offered at no charge.

An attester is someone considered to be an expert in ASL linguistics and/or interpreting as a result of a combination of their academic credentials and professional experience, certification(s), bilingual competence in ASL and English, who can attest through independent observation and knowledge a PDIC candidate’s ability to perform specific interpreting tasks with adequate competence. Attesters are approved by RID’s Certification Department upon submission, review, and approval of an application and resume. An attester must receive approval before submitting any attestations and affix their assigned attester ID number to their attestations.

In some instances, Deaf consumers can serve as attesters related to interpreting services they received directly from a Deaf interpreter. The Deaf consumer, in addition to signing the attestation form, will need to also complete the form letter found here and provide the letter to the PDIC candidate to submit with their PDIC application.

Much like formal letters of recommendation, a Deaf interpreter applying for the PDIC must submit evidence of ASL fluency and entry-level interpreting competence. The evidence or ‘attestations’ are provided by qualified experts (attesters) who have directly observed the language use and/or interpreting skills of the applicant. These attestations verify that an attester knows first-hand that the applicant possesses a specific skill set required. The attestations must be documented on the form provided.

No. An attestation does not involve using a scale to rate the quality of performance. Instead, it is a process that relies on the expertise of the attester to make an independent observation and determination that the requisite competence being verified meets an adequate level of interpreting skill. It is for this reason, the mature judgement of the attester must be evidenced by academic credentials, certifications and work experience. As well, what an attester can verify is limited to their scope of expertise.

Consistent with the recommendations of the workgroup to have language skills and interpreting competence verified, a PDIC candidate is required to submit affirmative attestation from qualified experts in four areas:

Sight/Text Translation– Sight translation involves the reading of a written English document – inclusive of documents such as an intake form, a medical history form, an instruction form, a lease, etc. – and translating it in a manner that provides the Deaf consumer easily understood access to the content. Best practice in interpreting involves interpreters always offering to translate written English documents that are a part of any interpreting assignment in recognition of the preference of some Deaf consumers to receive all information in their native language. In a sight/text translation, the Deaf interpreter directly reads the English text and renders the translation without the involvement of a hearing interpreter.

For the PDIC, the candidate must submit two (2) attestations of adequate competence in sight translation from a qualified expert. The 2 attestations cannot be from the same assignment – rather, each must be from a different assignment. The attestation must provide affirmation/confirmation of an adequate translation of a document that contains at least four (4) paragraphs of English text or 12-15 individual questions requiring a response from the Deaf consumer.

Adequate competence is defined as a translation that accurately conveys the meaning and the substantive details of the communication. Although the translation may have some errors, they should not be errors that impact the substantial details or change the overarching meaning and intent of the document.

Simultaneous Interpreting– Simultaneous interpretation occurs when the interpretation is being rendered at the same time as the parties involved are communicating, with only a minimal lag of time between when the source message is rendered and the interpretation is generated. For a Deaf interpreter, the spoken message is received from a hearing interpreter in sign language and then interpreted by the Deaf interpreter so the message is easily understood by the Deaf consumer, and/or the signed message of a Deaf consumer is interpreted by the Deaf interpreter to a hearing interpreter who renders it into spoken English.

Simultaneous interpreting is used in a wide range of communication settings/events—such as during a lecture, presentation, or other forms of narratives. For the PDIC, the candidate must submit two (2) attestations of adequate competence in simultaneous interpretation from a qualified expert. The 2 attestations cannot be from the same assignment—rather, each must be from a different assignment. Further, one must be for a simultaneous interpretation of an ASL narrative that is at least 10 minutes in length, and one must be for a simultaneous interpretation of an English text that is at least 10 minutes in length. The narratives can be from a range of settings, including, but not limited to a classroom lecture, conference or workshop presentation, work-related explanation, or social service setting.

Adequate competence is defined as an interpretation that accurately conveys the meaning and the substantive details of the narrative. Although the interpretation may have some errors and/or omissions, they should not be errors that impact the substantial details or change the overarching meaning and intent of the narrative.

Consecutive Interpreting– Consecutive interpretation occurs when the interpretation is being rendered in intervals as the parties involved are communicating—typically, when the communication follows an interview, interactive or Q and A format. One of the participants communicates a whole and complete idea, pauses, and then the interpretation is rendered before further information is conveyed. This process is repeated until the interview, interaction or Q and A process is completed. For a Deaf interpreter, the spoken message is received from a hearing interpreter in sign language and then interpreted by the Deaf interpreter so the message is easily understood by the Deaf consumer, and/or the signed message of a Deaf consumer is interpreted by the Deaf interpreter into ASL to a hearing interpreter who renders it into spoken English.

Consecutive interpreting is used in a wide range of communication settings/events—such as during an interview or anytime a line of questioning is being utilized. For the PDIC, the candidate must submit two (2) attestations of adequate competence in consecutive interpretation from a qualified expert. The 2 attestations cannot be from the same assignment—rather, each must be from a different assignment. Each must involve an interaction where both ASL and English are used as part of the communication process and the interactions must be at least 10 minutes in length. The interactions can be from a range of settings, such as a job interview, a medical, mental health or social service intake, a discussion between a doctor and a patient, and other similar types of interactive settings.

Adequate competence is defined as an interpretation that accurately conveys the meaning and the substantive details of the interaction. Questions and answers are accurately conveyed. Although the interpretation may have some errors, they should not be errors that impact the substantial details or change the overarching meaning and intent of the interaction.

Mirror/Platform Interpreting– Mirror interpreting occurs when sight-line or vision impacts the ability of a consumer to receive a signed message directly, so a Deaf interpreter replicates what is being signed by someone, mirroring what is being said. This is often seen in group settings when someone in an audience stands to sign a question or comment that the rest of the audience cannot access because they are faced towards a stage. Or, it may occur in a group setting where you have someone signing or interpreting into sign language, but Deaf individuals with low or no vision cannot access the information. In these situations, a Deaf interpreter would replicate what is being signed by mirroring the information for the low or no vision Deaf consumer so the message is easily understood.

Adequate competence is defined as a mirrored interpretation that accurately conveys the meaning and the substantive details of the signed message that is being mirrored. Although the interpretation may have some errors, they should not be errors that impact the substantial details or change the overarching meaning and intent of the signed message.

No more than two attestations can come from a single interpreting assignment, and each must come from a different category of interpreting (sight/text translation, simultaneous interpreting, consecutive interpreting, or mirror/platform interpreting). For example, at a single interpreting assignment, the Deaf interprete