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Interpreter Definitions

Certified Interpreter/Transliterator

A sign language, oral, or cued speech interpreter/transliterator who was awarded certification by demonstrating an advanced level of expressive and receptive skills. Certified interpreters have a thorough knowledge of the codes of ethics and role of the interpreter. An interpreter/transliterator who works in Kentucky must be licensed by the Kentucky Board of Interpreters for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI)

A deaf or hard of hearing individual, who is able to assist in providing an accurate intepretation between standard sign language and variants of sign language (including home signs) by acting as an intermediary between a deaf or hard of hearing person and a qualified interpreter. A CDI working in Kentucky must be licensed by the Kentucky Board of Interpreters.

Deaf/Blind Interpreter

The tactile consumer places her/his hands over the hands of the interpreter in order to read signs through touch and movement. Tactile signing can be taxing for the interpreter and may require more frequent interpreter switches or breaks. The interpreter supplies both auditory and visual information to the consumer. Tactile signing is used by consumers who have very limited vision and by those who are blind.

Oral Interpreter

Transliterators who transliterate a spoken message from a person who hears to a person who is deaf or hard-of-hearing and the ability to understand and repeat the message and intent of the speech and mouth movements of the person who is deaf or hard-of-hearing.

Assistive Technology Definitions


Real-time captions (CART) are created as the event takes place. They are used for meetings, conventions, live events, or programs that have no script (like broadcast news or sports events). A captioner (trained as a court reporter or stenographer) types in whatever is said using a stenotype machine and special software. There may be a slight delay depending upon the captioner's needs to hear the word and the computer processing time.

FM System

an FM System is an assistive listening device that makes conference rooms and auditoriums accessible for hard of hearing individuals.

Video Remote Interpreting

Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) uses video–conferencing equipment to provide sign language interpreting services. Video–conferencing equipment is set up in the room where the deaf consumer is located and another will be set up where the interpreter is located, which could be in another city. This interpreter will use a head set to hear what the hearing person is saying and then will interpret the message through the use of a monitor and camera to the deaf consumer and then interpret from the deaf consumer to the hearing person. In this way, the deaf and hearing person can talk back and forth, just as if the interpreter was in the same room.

Access Center General FAQ

When do I need to use two interpreters?

Depending on the length and complexity of the assignment being interpreted an agency will need to use two interpreters. Typically, two interpreters will be needed if the assignment is 90 minutes or longer. Interpreting requires physical and mental stamina and endurance. In a team situation (two interpreters) the interpreters will work in 20 minute increments each. The second team member not only offers relief breaks to the primary interpreter, they also serve as the supporting interpreter and monitors the overall setting and prompts the primary interpreter ensuring message transmission.

When would I need to use a CDI (certified deaf interpreter)?

A CDI (certified deaf interpreter) is an interpreter who is deaf or hard of hearing and certified and holds a Kentucky Interpreter license issued by the Kentucky Board of Interpreters. There are circumstances when a hearing interpreter is unable to access the message of the deaf or hard of hearing consumer. The reasons could be due to the consumer having limited communication skills, signs a foreign language, and/or has not been taught a formal communication such as a signing system and may only communicate gesturally or with "home signs." A CDI can clarify cultural confusion and linguistic misunderstandings. A hearing interpreter and a deaf interpreter work as a team to ensure clear and accurate information is being communicated.

How much does an interpreter charge for services?

There is no set rate for interpreting services. The agency would need to contact the individual interpreter directly for their billing fees. Rates are individually set by considering the following:

  • Certification level
  • Nature of assignment
  • Level of interpreter's education
  • Experience
Does a deaf or hard of hearing person have the right to request or reject a specific interpreter?

Communication is essential, therefore the deaf or hard of hearing individual may request or reject particular individual(s).

Factors in matching independent vendor(s) with consumer(s) are:

  • The interpreter's knowledge and/or background in the particular assignments' subject matter
  • The consumer and the interpreter has previously established a set vocabulary for the subject material
  • The consumer uses a particular interpreter for continuity reasons
  • The consumer's comfort level with the interpreter adhering to confidentiality
  • The consumer may feel that the interpreter does not have enough skill or knowledge to adequately provide effective communication
  • The consumer's communication may not match the communication skill of the interpreter
Does an interpreter have to be licensed to interpret in the state of Kentucky?

Yes. The Kentucky Licensure law requires that all interpreters hold a valid Interpreter License. This ensures that qualified interpreters are being used.

Click on the link below for additional information and exemptions:

Kentucky Board of Interpreters

How can I as an independent vendor (interpreter/captioner) be added to the Access Center's interpreter list?

In order to be considered by the Access Center as an interpreter for state assignments the interpreter must provide the Access Center with the following information:

  • Copy of licensure by the State of Kentucky
  • Proof of National Certification
  • Notification of schedule (to be updated every six months)
  • Review the Interpreter Handbook and return your signed acknowledgement form
What are the certification test dates, and where are the tests held?

The NIC written test dates are set by RID as the first Saturday in June and December. The RID and NIC performance test dates are determined by individual supersites. In Kentucky, the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing (KCDHH) is a supersite.

For a listing of supersites visit RID Test Site locations.