Interpreter Q & A: Letting Interpreter Credentials Lapse

Interpreter Q & A: Letting Interpreter Credentials Lapse

By Brenda Cartwright
Thursday, April 2, 2015

This article is written by Brenda Cartwright (BC). Brenda is a seasoned interpreter, a master teacher and a well known author. BC also contributes numerous blog articles for Signing Savvy. Look for them on the “Articles” tab on our website.

This article is part of our "Dear BC, Interpreter Q & A” series, which answers questions on interpreting and Deaf culture from multiple perspectives. There isn’t always one “right” answer to every question, and different people have different opinions on how to handle different scenarios. That is why more than one perspective is provided in this series, however, more opinions always exist. These perspectives are gathered from talking with experienced interpreters and deaf consumers from across the United States and Canada and do not solely come from the author.

Dear BC,

I haven’t seen a particular interpreter at any workshops or conferences literally for years now. I know she doesn’t care about getting CEUs or losing her certification. She says "everyone knows my skills and will hire me anyway." Sure enough, she lost her certification and she's still out there interpreting all the time, and still charging top dollar. No one ever asks to see her card. It's business as usual, which is so frustrating for those of us who put in all the time and money into following the CMP program in a timely manner. Apparently, the rules don't apply to everyone, so why do we bother?

Frustrated and Irritated

An Experienced Interpreter's Perspective:

It is too bad that all of us are not equally committed to keeping our knowledge, as well as our skills, up-to-date. We can only trust in the process and that someday their negligence will catch up to them. In the meantime, we should just worry about ourselves. I think we need to remind ourselves from time to time that our field is changing every week, there are new colleagues we meet, new hi-tech signs to learn, and new ethical issues to deal with. We, particularly the more seasoned interpreters who are looked up to by those entering our field, can only maintain our status by continuing to know who’s who and what’s what in our field.

Experienced Deaf Consumer's Perspective:

It is truly unfortunate that there are interpreters out there working who don’t believe and realize how important we believe it is for their career to keep up with current trends and issues. From my perspective this reflects some of the "not-so-great" attitudes we've dealt with over the years and it is certainly not acceptable by the Deaf community. On the other hand, those interpreters who continue to learn and enhance their skills are strongly favored by us. In the long run, I believe your attendance at workshops and conferences will only make you even more qualified and recognized by members the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities.

Have you experienced this problem too? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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About the Author

Brenda CartwrightBrenda Cartwright is a seasoned interpreter, a master teacher, well known presenter, and author of several best selling sign language and interpreting textbooks from the RID Press. For 35 years Brenda was the Chair of the Sign Language Interpreter Program at Lansing Community College in Lansing, Michigan.

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