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Spotlight: Standard Practice Suggestions from the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID)

Dec 16, 2022 | Interpreter Education

by: Brooke LaTurno, EIPA 4.0 - Interpreter Coordinator

The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID), a professional organization for sign language interpreters, is a rich source of guidance for standard practices in our industry. 

In a series of documents accessible at the link below, RID provides information “outlining standard practices and positions on various interpreting roles and issues […] intended to raise awareness, educate, guide and encourage sound basic methods of professional practice.”


These documents can serve as useful primers for best practices before, during, and after an assignment. 

To encourage access to them, I decided to spotlight these resources here. Hopefully they will serve as a jump-off point for further inquiry, rumination, and discussion. 

Below is a list of all nineteen Standard Practice Papers currently available on the RID website, organized chronologically by topic, with a brief quote highlighted from each. 

Performing Arts (2014)

“Performance interpreting is not a vehicle for interpreters to become performers but rather a vehicle for the target audience members to enjoy the performance event.”

Professional Sign Language Interpreting Agencies (2014)

“Agency employees who coordinate interpreting services also possess knowledge of the cultural and geographic characteristics of the area they serve and use that information to choose appropriately qualified interpreters.”

An Overview of K-12 Educational Interpreting (2010)

“If interpreters are not highly qualified, they cannot provide students with access to a free, appropriate public education (FAPE).”

Video Remote Interpreting (2010)

“If at any time the deaf consumer determines that VRI does not provide effective communication, the consumer may choose to decline use of VRI in medical settings.”

Interpreting in Legal Settings (2007)

“Certain legal assignments, such as law enforcement interpreting, pose great risk for the interpreter who may be called as a witness later to defend their work in the interpreted assignment.”

Interpreting in Mental Health Settings (2007)

“Providing commentary on language, culture and the interpreting process is appropriate in many circumstances but should be clearly distinguished from advising or commenting on diagnosis.”

Interpreting in Religious Settings (2007)

“Specific musical arrangements, lyrics and the meaning behind poetic language require analysis and rehearsal. This level of preparation by the interpreter is necessary in order to render a piece of music or poetic expression that is accurate, artistic, culturally modified and as visually inspiring and insightful as the audio portion.”

Video Relay Service Interpreting (2007)

“In VRS call centers, the following workplace concerns have been identified: repetitive motion injuries, eye strain, muscle strain, weight gain and physical and mental fatigue. Additionally, the intimate nature of VRS work can lead to emotional strain or vicarious trauma.”

Interpreting in Health Care Settings (2007)

“Family members, friends and health care staff are not bound by the NAD-RID Code of Professional Conduct, and there is no assurance the interpretation will be complete and reliable or privacy issues will not be compromised.”

Self-Care (2007)

“Interpreters are athletes. We need to warm up; cool down; attend to symptoms when they first appear; follow an energy producing nutritional plan; recognize how posture, angles and temperature affect us; make sure we fully hydrate ourselves; exercise; and rest.”

Coordinating Interpreters for Conferences (2007)

“Effective scheduling often means having a contingency plan in place in case emergencies arise. For example, planning to have at least one interpreter available as a “float” through the busiest times (more for larger conferences) allows for the flexibility needed to make last minute changes.”

Team Interpreting (2007)

“When two or more interpreters are working together, the team will need a sufficient amount of time prior to the assignment to determine placement, roles and how to provide support to each other.”

Multiple Roles in Interpreting (2007)

“By developing a multiple role position, the hiring entity benefits by having an employee with dual skills.”

Interpreting for Individuals who are Deaf-Blind (2007)

“Skilled Deaf-Blind interpreters are able to incorporate the speaker’s message while also transmitting visual, auditory and environmental stimuli that contribute to the context of the interpreted message.”

Oral Transliteration (2007)

“…it is important that the deaf or hard of hearing consumers be consulted on the choice of transliterators. Specific transliterators may be declined because ethnicity, cultural and/or linguistic concerns of the consumers were not considered.”

Professional Sign Language Interpreting (2007)

“When a deaf or hard of hearing individual expressed the need for a sign language interpreter, it is the responsibility of the entity providing services, employment or entertainment to accommodate that request.”

Business Practices: Billing Considerations (2007)

“There are regional differences in billing practices for interpreting services. These differences may be due to individual state, county and federal laws or may be different due to the supply and demand of professional interpreters in the area.”

Mentoring (2007)

“Being involved in a mentoring relationship may also provide inspiration for the mentor’s own professional development through working with newer interpreters who may have more current theoretical knowledge.”

Use of a Certified Deaf Interpreter (1997)

“In even more challenging situations, the CDI and hearing interpreter may work together to understand a deaf individual’s message, confer with each other to arrive at their best interpretation, then convey that interpretation to the hearing party.”

I hope having these papers collected here helps you to benefit from such great resources.

Let us know in the comments down below if there is a topic that you hope RID creates a new Standard Practice Paper for in the future.

If you are an interpreter in the Southeast Florida area, interested in freelance work and have availability days, nights, or weekends, please contact us! We have a variety of assignments throughout the community (medical, evening/overnight hospital shifts, day/evening college classes, school districts, legal, etc.). Visit our website and submit our New Interpreter Questionnaire (https://interpreterresource.com/freelance-interpreters/new-interpreter-questionnaire/).

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