NAD & RID: Statement on Interpreting Services and the Media

The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc. (RID) and the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) come together in collaboration and in support to commend the New York City mayor’s office in the hiring of a Certified Deaf Interpreter working with a second interpreter, known to be seated in one of the front rows, to assure communication access for all viewers at the press conference on Friday, October 24, 2014, regarding the Ebola virus. Seeing best practices in interpreting services utilized in emergency situations is a testament to the commitment of our government leaders in providing essential communication to all constituents.

The RID and the NAD also commend the great work of the Certified Deaf Interpreter and his team interpreter for the quality interpretation provided to everyone who viewed the press conference. These services should be common place in all communication settings, regardless if the information is of an urgent matter or not.

From the media coverage and public comments that have ensued as a result of the interpreting services at the October 24, 2014, press conference, RID and the NAD recognize the need for the greater public to have a better understanding of the role of interpreters and communication access for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in all settings. As such, we have drafted a joint and collaborative editorial that is in the process of being distributed to a wide array of media outlets, from online sources to print, TV and radio.

The attention that American Sign Language (ASL) and the sign language profession have received of late; including a spoof on Saturday Night Live, the fake interpreter at the Nelson Mandela celebration of life ceremony, and now the attention brought to the interpreter during a press conference about a Ebola, brings to the spotlight the conversation surrounding a culture, language, and profession that has largely been ignored and marginalized by the greater society.

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