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Editorial #3-“Going One Step Further” (NEW)

Going One Step Further
An Op-Ed Editorial from Dr. Z

In the FCC regulations governing VRS, it defines the following in 47 C.F.R. § 64.601 for interpreters as: “Qualified interpreter. An interpreter who is able to interpret effectively, accurately, and impartially, both receptively and expressively, using any necessary specialized vocabulary. “

Note it does not require the use of certified interpreters. Some VRS companies have insisted that their interpreters are certified, which is one or several steps above “qualified” interpreters. Some VRS companies use uncertified interpreters in VRS settings. As a deaf person, I insist on certified interpreters who have agreed to comply with the RID Code of Ethics, in addition to whatever code of ethics individual VRS companies have drawn up. There are protections for confidentiality in section 705 of the Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. 605 in which video interpreters (CAs) are prohibited from disclosing the content of any relayed conversation regardless of content.

When an interpreter is deemed “qualified”, the level of qualification is set by the individual VRS companies which are not the same from one company to another. Some VRS companies say, we have “high standards” for qualified interpreters. Some say they pay for the certification of their qualified interpreters. Is this good enough? Is this fair to us as deaf and hard of hearing citizens, entrusting our conversations to a system that is completely determined by the VRS companies?

It is time for the VRS companies to step forward and tell us if their interpreters are certified or not.

(more Editorials…)

1 comment to Editorial #3-“Going One Step Further” (NEW)

  • Harmon Menkis

    Re: Editorial # 3 :

    I would also very strongly recommend interpreters be licensed. And in order to be Licensed, they must have some level of certification and the License would specify their limitations, i.e. What they can interpret and what they may not interpret. See Interpreter License requirements on the Illinois Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing website. (, Furthermore VRS providers should be held responsible for following license laws in hiring interpreters.

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