A BEI-certified interpreter is a person who provides sign-language interpreter services. To work as a BEI-certified interpreter, a person must have the skills, experience, education, and other job-related requirements of the position. The person must also be able to perform the essential job functions.
1.3.1 Essential Abilities and Attributes of Nonintermediary or Nondeaf Interpreters
A BEI-certified nonintermediary interpreter must have the following physical, cognitive, cultural, linguistic, and professional abilities and attributes.
Essential Physical Abilities
The essential physical abilities of a nonintermediary interpreter are described below.
the ability to hear, identify, and understand the speech of another person without relying on visual assistance
the ability to speak clearly so that the speech is understandable to a listener
the ability to see details of another person's hand shapes, hand movements, and facial expressions from a distance of three to six feet
the ability to control the muscles of the face in order to manipulate the eyebrows, cheeks, mouth, and nose
the ability to quickly make coordinated movements of one hand, a hand together with its arm, two hands, or two hands together with arms
the ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands
the ability to make fast, simple, repeated movements of the fingers, hands, and wrists
the ability to move the arms to place the hands slightly above the head, and to extend the arms away from the front of the body and to the sides of the body
Limb movement speed
the ability to quickly move the arms
the ability to coordinate movements of both arms while sitting or standing
the ability to control the head in order to nod and to turn it from side to side
the ability to endure moderate physical exertion without getting winded or out-of-breath for at least 30 minutes
Essential Cognitive Abilities
The essential cognitive abilities of a nonintermediary, nondeaf interpreter are described below.
the ability to use logic and analysis to assess communication in order to make adjustments in approaches to interpretation
the ability to monitor and assess the interpretation during and after a task
the ability to concentrate and be undistracted while performing a task, and to sustain that attention over a period of time
the ability to focus on a single source of auditory information in the presence of other distracting sounds
the ability to focus on a single source of visual information in the presence of other distracting movements in the surrounding area
the ability to sustain a significant amount of mental processing without fatigue or breakdown for at least 30 minutes
the ability to remember information such as concepts, words, and numbers for a brief time while interpreting
the ability to track and arrange information in a certain order
the ability to quickly make sense of information even when parts of that information may appear to be missing
the ability to efficiently shift between two or more activities or tasks, and between two or more sources of information
the ability to recognize when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong
Fluency of ideas
the ability to generate a number of ideas about a given topic (This concerns the number of ideas produced and not the quality, correctness, or creativity of the ideas)
Breadth of knowledge
an acquaintance or understanding, at the introductory level or higher, of a broad variety of topics and fields of interest
Essential Cultural Knowledge and Linguistic Abilities
The essential cultural knowledge and linguistic abilities of a nonintermediary, nondeaf interpreter are described below.
- knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar
- the ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words
- the ability to communicate information and ideas by speaking so that others will understand
Written English comprehension
- read and understand information and ideas presented in writing
- communicate information and ideas in writing so that others will understand
American Sign Language
- knowledge of the structure and content of American Sign Language including the meaning of lexical and phrasal items, rules of grammar, and articulation
- the ability to watch and understand information and ideas presented through signs, gestures, classifiers, and finger spelling
- the ability to communicate information and ideas through signs, gestures, classifiers, and finger spelling so that others will understand
A BEI-certified interpreter must have an in-depth understanding of the cultural norms and mores of the American English-speaking and the American deaf communities.
Essential Professional Attributes
The essential professional attributes of a nonintermediary, nondeaf interpreter are described below.
the ability to be aware of and sensitive to others' reactions, and the ability to understand why others react as they do
the ability to develop independent approaches to doing things and to work with little or no supervision
the ability to develop constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and to maintain them over time
Adaptability and flexibility
the ability to adapt to considerable variety in the workplace and be flexible and accepting of positive and negative change
the ability to exercise emotional control and stability in order to fully use intellectual abilities and good judgment
the ability to maintain composure, keep emotions in check, control anger, and avoid aggressive behavior, even in difficult situations
the ability to show respect and act in a professional manner during all interactions
the ability to make complex decisions, including the ability to identify problems, collect information, establish facts, and draw valid conclusions
Organizing, planning, and prioritizing work
the ability to develop specific goals and plans, and to prioritize, organize, and accomplish goals
the ability to identify and resolve conflicts related to the meanings of words, concepts, practices, or behaviors
the ability to manage time well and to respect the time of others
the ability to follow the *Code of Professional Conduct as set forth by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. The seven tenets of the code are as follows:
- Interpreters adhere to standards of confidential communication.
- Interpreters posses the professional skills and knowledge required for the specific interpreting situation.
- Interpreters conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to the specific interpreting situation.
- Interpreters demonstrate respect for consumers.
- Interpreters demonstrate respect for colleagues, interns, and students of the profession.
- Interpreters maintain ethical business practices.
- Interpreters engage in professional development.
*For a complete explanation of the Code of Professional Conduct, see www.RID.org.