Frequently Asked Questions


Is interpreting a viable career choice?
(From RID’s website:)

Sign language interpreting is a rapidly expanding field. Schools, government agencies, hospitals, court systems, and private businesses employ interpreters. Interpreters work in a variety of settings including medical, legal, religious, mental health, rehabilitation, performing arts and business. There is a strong need for qualified interpreters with credentials as we are currently experiencing a period in the interpreting field where supply is not keeping up with demand. The greatest demand for interpreters is in medium-to-large cities. The more mobile you are, the more likely you are to find an interpreting job.

Interpreters typically fall in one of three categories
  • Agency interpreter, meaning that you are employed by an agency that provides you job assignment
  • Free-lance interpreter, meaning that you are responsible for finding and maintaining your own client base
  • Contracted interpreter, meaning that you take on aspects of both the agency interpreter and the freelance interpreter. You provide services to an interpreter services agency or to other agencies in accordance with the terms and conditions of a particular contract or contracts. You are not an employee of the interpreter services agency or any other agencies for which they provide services.

How long does it take to become fluent in American Sign Language?

How long does it take to become fluent in Japanese, Russian or any other foreign language? Language fluency, be it spoken or visual, requires time, dedication, study, immersion in the language community, and constant practice. While you may have the potential to handle communication of simple concepts of daily life after just three classes, it will most likely take you years to be comfortably fluent in native conversations at normal rates discussing complex topics.

How do I become a sign language interpreter?

Professional sign language interpreters develop interpreting skills through extensive training and practice over a long period of time. Before committing to this profession, it is imperative that you prepare yourself for the expectations, requirements and standards that will be asked of you. Below are a few resources that will help guide you along the process:
  • RID.org
    RID’s function is to support our membership by providing the foundation needed to launch and sustain careers while ensuring quality service to the Deaf community through a fourpronged approach: education, standards, relationships, and resources.
  • DiscoverInterpreting.com
    This site, funded by the National Consortium of Interpreter Education Centers (NCIEC), provides all the tools needed to learn more about the interpreting profession and how to get started.
  • The Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education
    CCIE was established to promote professionalism in the field of sign language interpreter education through an accreditation process. This site provides a list of accredited programs to help you prepare to enter the field of interpreting.
  • Professional Sign Language Interpreting
    This RID standard practice paper provides a quick-glance and overview of the interpreting profession.
  • RID’s Certification Programs
    RID’s Certification Programs measure your knowledge and skill level and provides you with the appropriate level credentials for your testing skills.
  • NAD-RID Code of Professional Conduct
    The NAD-RID Code of Professional Conduct sets the standards to which all certified members of RID are expected to adhere.
  • RID’s Standard Practice Papers
    RID’s Standard Practice Papers (SPPs) articulate the consensus of the membership in outlining standard practices and positions on various interpreting roles and issues. These SPPs are excellent resources to educate all interpreters as well as hearing and deaf clients, the general public, business contacts, school personnel, doctors and nurses, etc.

Do I need a degree in interpreting to work in Ohio?

To work in the K-12 setting, an interpreter is required to possess an associate license, which does require an associates degree. A degree is not mandated to work in other settings in the state of Ohio AT THIS TIME. Many states do require certification, state licensure, or a degree to be employed as an interpreter, and we fully expect that Ohio will follow suit at some point.

While Ohio does not yet require a degree or certification to interpret outside of the K-12 classroom setting, to gain competence in interpreting, one should consider enrolling in an Interpreter Training Program. Ohio has nine institutions that offer degrees related to the field of interpreting.

I am a service provider. Do I need to provide and pay for interpreter or other services for a deaf or hard of hearing client/patient?
[from the National Association of the Deaf website:]

Places of public accommodation must give persons with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate in and to benefit from their services. They cannot provide unequal or separate benefits to persons with disabilities. They must modify their policies and practices when necessary to provide equal access to services and facilities.

In order to provide equal access, all public accommodations are required to provide auxiliary aids and services to ensure effective communication. 28 C.F.R. § 36.303(c).

The ADA also requires removal of structural communication barriers that are in existing facilities, and installation of flashing alarm systems, permanent signage, and adequate sound buffers. Businesses may not impose a surcharge on a particular individual with a disability to cover the cost of ensuring equal access for that person. 28 C.F.R. § 36.301(c). For more information on the Americans with Disabilities Act, please visit the National Association of the Deaf website.

Can I hire a sign language interpreter through OCRID?

No, OCRID is a non-profit organization which provides professional development opportunities and information to the membership as a whole. We are not a sign language referral service; therefore, we do not recommend individual interpreters or interpreting referral agencies for assignments.

For a listing of interpreter referral agencies in Ohio, please see our Hiring an Interpreter page.

Where are the Interpreter Training Programs in Ohio?

Ohio has nine institutions that offer degrees related to the field of interpreting.

Does OCRID offer awards or scholarships?

Yes, OCRID offers:
  • The Russell Moore Award: This award honors a certified OCRID/RID member who has given meritorious service to the interpreting profession and to the organization at various levels.
  • The Darlene Jahn Award: This award honors an OCRID/RID member who has given service to the organization and is enhancing his/her professional development with the goal being attainment of certification.
  • The Sara Paullin Casto Scholarship: This scholarship honors an OCRID/RID member who is willing to 'pass forward' what they learn on their professional journey to other interpreters in the community.

For more information can be found on our Awards page.

If I am a member of RID, am I automatically a member of OCRID and vice versa?

No, RID is divided into five regions comprise of affiliate chapters; OCRID is an affiliate chapter of RID Region III. Memberships to the organizations are separate, however dual membership is required to vote at the annual business meeting of either organization. Learn more about joining RID here.

I am interested in volunteer opportunities for OCRID -- who do I contact?

We would love to talk to you about your specific areas of interest to serve the membership of OCRID. Please contact the OCRID President.