Open Letter to the RID & CASLI

Open Letter to the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf & Center for Assessment of Sign Language Interpreters

July 10, 2017

President Melvin Walker
Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc. (RID)
333 Commerce Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314

President Miako Rankin
Center for Assessment of Sign Language Interpreters (CASLI)
333 Commerce Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314

Mr. Walker and Ms. Rankin,

Our organizations jointly write to inquire about the status of and plans for the National Interpreter Certification (NIC). The August 4, 2015 decision by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) to place the NIC on a moratorium has had a significantly adverse impact on the Deaf and hard of hearing community, sign language interpreters, aspiring sign language interpreters and entities that rely on the certification to protect the quality of sign language interpreting services within their organization, state, or areas of service.

Although the newly created Center for Assessment of Sign Language Interpreters (CASLI) indicated it would accept applications for the NIC examination beginning October 1, 2016 and resume the interview and performance test exams on November 1, 2016, there continues to be confusion, and many have not yet learned of, or are just beginning to learn of, the current status of the NIC program.

This uncertainty and lack of information regarding the status and stability of the NIC certification program has had a direct and significant impact on the following constituencies:

  • Deaf or hard of hearing consumers that seek to have a means of measuring qualifications in the sign language interpreters that they use in everyday life;
  • communities living in states that have laws or regulations requiring interpreters to hold national certifications;
  • sign language interpreting agencies that require interpreters to hold national certifications;
  • businesses that seek to hire sign language interpreters holding national certifications;
  • state advocacy efforts to enact legislation for sign language licensure that require 
national certificate requirements; and
  • interpreter training programs that are being affected in terms of student enrollment due 
to the uncertainty of certification and/or licensure after graduation.

RID’s decisions regarding its certification programs have a significant impact across our constituencies. Without clear and public information regarding the status and future of the NIC program, these impacted constituencies are searching for options. Consequently, it is imperative that the RID and CASLI take further action to share information to reassure these affected parties.

Specifically, the undersigned organizations ask for the following:

  1. Public and transparent information about current status of the NIC
  We request that the RID and CASLI provide via regular and widely public communications, beginning immediately, an update on the current status of the NIC including clear details about the resumption of the NIC testing.
  2. Public and transparent information about updates & changes to the NIC
  We also request that RID and CASLI provide via regular and widely public communications their plans for the long term future of the NIC certification. Based on its announcement from July 1, 2016, CASLI indicated that, “The NIC has approximately another two years in its life cycle”1, and the community needs to understand what is planned to sustain the reliability, validity and relevance of the NIC certification beyond such described life cycle.
  3. Public and transparent information regarding sustainability in operations  We request that RID and CASLI provide via regular and widely public communications their plans to ensure structural, operational and financial stability of both RID and CASLI to ensure there are no further moratoriums or adverse impact on national certification.

We, the undersigned organizations and businesses, urge RID and CASLI to provide such critical information through frequent and widely public communications, including communications in American Sign Language, to restore confidence among all of these stakeholders in the NIC certification. Although this letter is specifically focused on the NIC, given the general confusion due to the lack of information and communication to date on this specific certification, we also express concerns about the moratoriums on the SC:L, EdK-12 and CDI certifications and also call on RID and CASLI to provide frequent and widely public updates on the status of these certification programs.

We thank you for your attention to this matter and request a response by August 11, 2017. Your response will help our organizations determine our next steps in making our respective decisions pertaining to the NIC certification managed by RID and CASLI.


Lisa Schaefermeyer, BA, CI & CT
Absolute Quality Interpreting (AQI)

Helen Young, Chief Executive Officer
Accurate Interpreting Services

Jenée Alleman, President
American Association of the DeafBlind

Pamela Nygren Wellumson, CSC, CEO
American Sign Language Interpreting Services

Angela Roth,
President & CEO
American Sign Language Services Corporation /DBA ASL Services Inc.

Keri Brooks, President
On behalf of the 2017-2019 Board of American Sign Language Teachers Association

Sharaine Roberts, President
Association of Late-Deafened Adults (ALDA)

Byung Gyu Lim, President
Bay Area Deaf Asian Association

Angela Myers,
 Chair/Associate Professor
Sign Language Interpreting Program Bethel College

Sheri Farinha,
 Chief Executive Officer
California Coalition of Agencies Serving the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CCASDHH)

Flavia S. Fleischer, Ph.D.,
 Chair & Associate Professor
Deaf Studies Department
California State University, Northridge

Mark Hill,
Cerebral Palsy and Deaf Organization (CPADO)

Andy Olson and 
Ben Olson,
CODA Brothers Interpreting

Everett Puckett and
 Rita Wedgeworth,
Communication Axess Ability Group (CAAG)

Christopher Soukup, 
Chief Executive Officer
Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD)

Jeff Rosen,
 General Counsel
Convo Communications, LLC

Rogelio Fernandez, President
Council de Manos

Karl Kosiorek, MA, CI & CT, President and Owner
Deaf Access Solutions (DAS)

Marcy Colton, Executive Director

Raymond Rodgers,
Deaf Communication by Innovation

Neil McDevitt, Executive Director and 
Charles McFadden, Board Chair
Deaf-Hearing Communication Centre, Inc.

Thomas Horejes, Ph.D., 
Executive Director
Deaf Empowerment Awareness Foundation (DEAF, Inc.)

Wesley Arey,
 Dawn Schriver, and
 Philip J. Wolfe,
 National Representatives
Deaf Grassroots Movement

Ella Mae Lentz, Organizing Chair
Deafhood Foundation

Nancy B. Rarus, President
Deaf Seniors of America

Janet Lewis,
Deaf Services of Palo Alto

Melissa Yingst, President
Deaf Women United

Alli Friends,
 Chief Executive Officer/Owner
Friends Interpreting Services, LLC

Nashiru Abdulai, President
Global Deaf Muslims

Full Board & Volunteer Advocates from Florida, Louisiana, Minnesota, New York & Texas
Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of Deaf communities (HEARD)

Erin K. Stauder,
 Executive Director
The Hearing and Speech Agency

Alia Eraky
Hi-5 Access 

Tamar H Lani, MBA, CI, CI, NIC, SC:L, President
Isle Interpret

Jeffrey Buxbaum, President
Jewish Deaf Organization

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington

Jimmy Beldon, CDI, M.Ed, Co-owner/Chief Operation Officer
Keystone Interpreting Solutions, Inc.

Rogelio Fernandez, President
Manos Communications

Melissa Draganac-Hawk, President
National Association of the Deaf

Tim Albert,
National Black Deaf Advocates, Inc.

Steve Smart,
Professional Interpreting Enterprise

Allyne Betancourt, Chief Executive Officer
Kajika Interpreting Services, LLC

Chad Taylor, Queen Bee

Joanne Sharer, CI & CT, President & Owner
Sign Language Resource Services, Inc. (SLRS) 

Daniel D. Burch, Ph.D., SC:L, Former RID President Vice President
Sign Language Services International, Inc.

Sean Gerlis,
SILAN Communications

Chris Wakeland,
Vice President of Interpreting
Sorenson Communications, LLC

Jeffrey Bravin, Executive Director and
 Sara C. Gerhold, CDI, Program Manager
Source Interpreting at the American School for the Deaf

Keri Brooks, CEO and
 J. Sam Harris, COO

Linda K. Stauffer, Ph.D., CSC, OTC, Professor and Program Coordinator BA – ASL/English Interpreting
University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Joyce Dworsky, CEO/Owner
Vital Signs LLC

Ruann L. Wood, B.S.; RID: NIC-Adv
CEO Visual Communication Interpreting, Inc.

Sherri Turpin, Chief Executive Officer
ZVRS and Purple Communications

1 RID FAQ, question number 23