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Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI)


In a message dated 6/4/2014 2:15:21 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, Lacie Coddington writes:

Dr. Bill,
Hello, my name is Lacie Coddington and I'm 15 years old who is deaf but wear two cochlear implants on both ears. I have a question about interpreter. I really want to become a interpreter when I get older, but the problem is I have to pay attention to what the person saying (lip reading) and translate into ASL and I'm afraid that I will miss out on some information and fail one of the students. But it's going to be challenging but I wonder if it's possible for a deaf person to become a interpreter? Thank you for taking your time reading this, and I hope I hear you back soon.
- Lacie Coddington


Hello :)
Depending on your level of skill in signing and reading sign language you might want to consider becoming a type of interpreter known as a "CDI."
A Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI) is a Deaf person who is particularly good at understanding the signing of other Deaf people and also at conveying complex concepts into advanced American Sign Language, some other visual language, mime, or gesture.  A CDI tends to work as a team with a regular ASL interpreter. 

A CDI is particularly needed when a Deaf client is (what I like to call) "highly visually oriented."  Some people call such individuals "low verbal" but I dislike that phraseology since many highly visually oriented people possess a fine or even wonderful grasp of language -- it is just that their language usage is highly visually oriented and based on grammar and thought processes that are highly visual. Such a person is mono-lingual (meaning he or she knows "one language") in American Sign Language (or some other visual language).  A regular interpreter who grew up speaking English and learned ASL as a second language may not be familiar enough with "advanced ASL" to understand the signing of someone who is highly visually oriented (HVO).  A CDI can serve as a go-between to make sure that the message being delivered by the regular interpreter is indeed clear and understandable to the HVO Deaf.  Furthermore when the HVO Deaf person signs something the CDI can convert the signed message from the mime/gesture/or advanced ASL of the HVO person into a more English-like signing that will be easily understood by the regular interpreter.

Or perhaps you could work as part of an interpreting team (you could focus on reverse interpreting).

You might perhaps enjoy a career as an interpreter trainer or an ASL teacher more than being an interpreter though.
Best wishes
- Dr. Bill



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