Interpreting: The process of transmitting spoken English into American Sign Language and/or gestures for communication between deaf and hearing people.
Transliterating: the process of transmitting spoken English into any one of several English-oriented varieties of manual communications between deaf and hearing people.
An Interpreter is a bilingual-bicultural professional who 1) interprets while 2) being sensitive to the environmental factors which foster or impede the message and 3) conducts her/himself in a professional ethical manner.
For the following information regarding interpreting, I used Humphrey and Alcorn's So You Want to be an Interpreter as a resource. I have interpreted my own understanding of this book, which parenthetically follows the beliefs of the authors. This is one of the books that I used in my interpreting training program. It is an excellent resource for interpreting students, beginning interpreters and for the well-seasoned interpreter.
Sign Language interpreting has only been recognized as true a profession since around the late 60's early 70's. Research showed that most interpreter's back then had deaf parents, and/or siblings, deaf relatives or they were teachers of the deaf and/or involved in some related field. Most often these interpreters were not paid, as it was unheard of in those days, they usually volunteered their services.
In 1964, at Ball State University in Indiana, interpreters across the US came together for the first time to interpret a meeting. The interpreters themselves had their own little meeting; it was quite convenient as they were already there for this meeting they were interpreting. They discussed the demand for interpreters and the need to have a list of nationally qualified interpreters. Stemming from that meeting the "Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf" (RID) was created, bylaws were set and the Code of Ethics for Interpreters was written. This was the first organization in the world of its kind.
The Original Purposes of RID included:
- Publishing a registry of interpreters,
- Investigating evaluation and certification systems and
- Informing the public about interpreting services.
When RID incorporated in 1972, their goals were redefined as:
- Maintaining and distributing a registry of accredited interpreters,
- Establishing certification standards for qualified interpreters,
- Recruiting qualified interpreters,
- Advancing the education of interpreters and
- Preparing literature relating to the problems of interpreting and the methodology of interpretation.