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Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI)

I received an email that in part said:

Dear Dr. Vicars,

Hello! I will (try to) keep this brief, as I'm sure you are a busy man. Also, do not feel pressured to reply if you don't want to or have time. I just want you to know this!

I would like to take a moment and thank you for all of your hard work and your videos up on YouTube. I'm a senior in high school and in my second year of ASL, and I'm absolutely enthralled with the language and culture. I have moved in different directions with my intended major, and now I want to focus on becoming a CDI. I find I'm not quite satisfied with the sluggish pace my class is going at, so I've been diving in to some online resources for picking up a wider vocabulary. Recently, I discovered your videos and slowly made the connection that you were the man from Lifeprint. I've spent hours on that website. I love it and I love all your videos and I can't thank you enough for how easy you've made it for people to look into sign language.
[Name removed to protect the person's privacy]

[The person's email goes on --and it is all very flattering-- shucks, but let's take a look at that phrase "I want to focus on becoming a CDI." ]


I replied to the young man and explained to him that the acronym "CDI" generally refers to "Certified Deaf Interpreter" -- that is not the same thing as a "Certified Interpreter for the Deaf."

If you personally are not d/Deaf and ASL was not your native language then you are not a likely a prospective CDI but rather you could become an "Interpreter for the Deaf" and/or an "ASL Interpreter."

A Certified Deaf Interpreter is a person who has native-like visual language skills and is highly adept at understanding the nuances inherent in a wide range of signing done by Deaf individuals from varied backgrounds.  Let me say that plainly:  A CDI is usually a Deaf person who is awesome at understanding other Deaf people and at helping other Deaf people understand what is being signed to them by others who aren't quite so awesome at signing and understanding sign.  Sometimes a regular (or even "dang good") ASL interpreter can't quite understand exactly what a Deaf client means.  That is when it is great to have a CDI around who can function as a go-between and clarify what each person meant.    Thus you literally have "The Deaf interpreting for the Deaf" (as part of a larger interpreting arrangement).  If the Deaf Interpreter is not certified then he/she is only a "Deaf Interpreter" and not a full "CDI."



Notes:  Also see:  Certified Deaf Interpreter


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