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National Testing System (NTS)

ODHHS Information and Technical Assistance Series
 
 

National Testing System (NTS)
(Source: Registry of Interpreter´s of the Deaf, Inc.)
 
 
RID has taken a holistic and proactive approach in developing its national certification system by using the triad concept. The components of the triad are as follows:
  • The National Testing System, (NTS).
  • The Certification Maintenance Program, (CMP) (an avenue through which the continued skill development of certified interpreters/transliterators is monitored and nourished).
  • The Ethical Practices System, (EPS) (a vehicle which provides an opportunity for consumers to address concerns or file complaints regarding the quality of interpreter/transliterator services).
 
The National Testing System has been an important part of RID since 1970, when RID began preliminary testing of sign language interpreters. Full implementation of the national certification system began in 1972. Under this program, both full and partial certificates were offered. The full certificates offered were the Comprehensive Skills Certificate (CSC), and, the Reverse Skills Certificate (RSC) which was awarded to interpreters/transliterators who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing. Partial certificates were also offered for expertise in several segments of the interpretation/transliteration arena. Specialty certificates were developed during 1975-1978, to include the legal (SC:L), and performing arts (SC:PA) certificates. The certification in oral interpretation (OIC: C, etc.) was offered between 1979-1983.
 
In 1983, a nationally recognized panel of professional interpreters/transliterators was formed under the name of the National Evaluation System Study Committee (NESSC). It was charged with the task of making recommendations related to the development and implementation of a national, standardized, valid, and reliable test for the certification of sign language interpreters. The findings and recommendations of this committee were approved by the RID membership and became the foundation for the current testing system.
 
The current RID National Testing System (NTS), implemented in 1987, has two components to each test offered: a written test and a performance test. The current testing system strives to maintain strict adherence to nationally recognized, testing industry standards of validity, reliability, equity and legal defensability. As a result, an independent psychometrician (test development expert) is retained by RID and oversees all test development and revision processes.
 
The two tests implemented in 1987 were the Certificate of Interpretation (CI), and the Certificate of Transliteration (CT). For more information on these certificates, refer to the Explanation of Certificates in this directory. RID currently administers over 1,000 tests per year between the written and performance exams.
 
Over the past several years, RID has put significant effort into the development of three new certificates. These new exams have been recently implemented, and the Task Forces and interpreters/transliterators that worked on these exams should be congratulated for all of their hard work. These three new certificates all follow the same model of testing as the CI and CT tests, with both a written and a performance component. These three new tests are:
  • Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI), for interpreters who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing and who may work in teams with hearing interpreters/transliterators or with other Deaf persons who may require the services of a Deaf interpreter.
  • Oral Transliteration Certification (OTC), for 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.
  • Specialist Certificate: Legal (SC:L), for interpreters that are already fully certified (CI and CT, or CSC) and work in a legal setting.
 
 
Explanation of Certificates
 
The certificates described below are an indication that the interpreter or transliterator was assessed by a group of professional peers according to a nationally recognized standard of minimum competence. The individual´s performance was deemed to meet or exceed this national standard.
 
RID Certificates are recognized as valid certificates provided the interpreter/transliterator meets all requirements of membership including participation in the Certification Maintenance Program. All interpreters and transliterators are required to adhere to the RID Code of Ethics governing ethical behavior within the profession. Violations of the Code of Ethics could result in a complaint filed against the interpreter/transliterator through the RID Ethical Practices System.
 
The RID National Testing System (NTS) strives to maintain adherence to nationally recognized testing industry standards of validity, reliability and equity. As a result, an independent psychometrician (test development expert) is retained by RID and oversees test development and revision processes. RID maintains affiliation with the National Organization for Competency Assurance (NOCA), the entity that sets national criteria for validity, reliability and fairness in testing and credentialing.
Holders of this certificate are recognized as fully certified in Interpretation and have demonstrated the ability to interpret between American Sign Language (ASL) and spoken English in both sign-to-voice and voice-to-sign. The interpreter´s ability to transliterate is not considered in this certification. Holders of the CI are recommended for a broad range of interpretation assignments. This test is currently available.
 
 
CT (Certificate of Transliteration)
 
Holders of this certificate are recognized as fully certified in Transliteration and have demonstrated the ability to transliterate between English-based sign language and spoken English in both sign-to-voice and voice-to-sign. The transliterator´s ability to interpret is not considered in this certification. Holders of the CT are recommended for a broad range of transliteration assignments. This test is currently available.
 
 
CI and CT (Certificate of Interpretation and Certificate of
Transliteration)
 
Holders of both full certificates (as listed above) have demonstrated competence in both interpretation and transliteration and have the same flexibility of job acceptance as holders of the CSC listed below. Holders of the CI and CT are recommended for a broad range of interpretation and transliteration assignments.
 
 
CLIP (Conditional Legal Interpreting Permit)
 
Holders of this conditional permit have completed an RID recognized training program designed for interpreters and transliterators who work in legal settings. Generalist certification (CI and CT, or CSC) is required prior to enrollment in the training program. This permit is valid until one year after the Specialist Certificate: Legal written and performance test is available nationally. CLIP holders must take and pass the new legal certification examination in order to maintain certification in the specialty area of interpreting in legal settings. Holders of this conditional permit are recommended for a broad range of assignments in the legal setting. The CLIP is no longer available.
 
 
CLIP-R (Conditional Legal Interpreting Permit-Relay)
 
Holders of this conditional permit have completed an RID recognized training program designed for interpreters and transliterators who work in legal settings and who are also Deaf or hard-of-hearing. Generalist certification for interpreters/transliterators who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing (RSC or CDI-P) is required prior to enrollment in the training program. This permit is valid until one year after the Specialist Certificate: Legal written and performance test for Deaf interpreters is available nationally. CLIP-R holders must take and pass the new legal certification examination in order to maintain certification in the specialized area of interpreting in legal settings. Holders of this conditional permit are recommended for a broad range of assignments in the legal setting. The CLIP-R is still offered.
 
 
CDI-P (Certified Deaf Interpreter-Provisional)
 
Holders of this provisional certification are interpreters who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing and who have demonstrated a minimum of one year experience working as an interpreter, completion of at least 8 hours of training on the RID Code of Ethics, and 8 hours of training in general interpretation as it relates to the interpreter who is Deaf or hard-of-hearing. Provisional certification is valid until one year after the Certified Deaf Interpreter written and performance test is available nationally. Provisional certificate holders must take and pass the CDI examination in order to remain certified as a Deaf interpreter. Holders of this provisional certificate are recommended for a broad range of assignments where an interpreter who is Deaf or hard-of hearing would be beneficial. The CDI-P is still offered.
 
 
CDI (Certified Deaf Interpreter)
 
Holders of this certification are interpreters who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing and who have demonstrated a minimum of one year experience working as an interpreter, completion of at least 8 hours of training on the RID Code of Ethics, and 8 hours of training in general interpretation as it relates to the interpreter who is Deaf or hard-of-hearing. Holders of this certificate are recommended for a broad range of assignments where an interpreter who is Deaf or hard-of-hearing would be beneficial. This test is being revised and is not currently available.
 
 
CSC (Comprehensive Skills Certificate)
 
Holders of this full certificate have demonstrated the ability to interpret between American Sign Language and spoken English and to transliterate between spoken English and a English-based sign language. The CSC examination was offered until 1987. Holders of this certificate are recommended for a broad range of interpreting and transliterating assignments. This test is no longer offered.
 
 
MCSC (Master Comprehensive Skills Certificate)
 
The MCSC examination was designed with the intent of testing for a higher standard of performance than the CSC. Holders of this certificate were required to hold the CSC prior to taking this exam. Holders of this certificate are recommended for a broad range of interpreting and transliterating assignments. This certificate is no longer offered.
 
 
RSC (Reverse Skills Certificate)
 
Holders of this full certificate demonstrated the ability to interpret between American Sign Language and English-based sign language or transliterate between spoken English and a signed code for English. Holders of this certificate are Deaf or hard-of-hearing and interpretation/transliteration is rendered in American Sign Language, spoken English, a signed code for English or written English. Holders of the RSC are recommended for a broad range of interpreting assignments where the use of an interpreter who is Deaf or hard-of-hearing would be beneficial. This certificate is no longer offered. People interested in this area will apply for the CDI-P and/or take the CDI exam.
 
 
SC:L (Specialist Certificate: Legal)
 
Holders of this specialist certificate have demonstrated specialized knowledge of legal settings and greater familiarity with language used in the legal system. Generalist certification and documented training and experience is required prior to sitting for this exam. Holders of the SC:L are recommended for a broad range of assignments in the legal setting. This test is currently available.
 
 
Prov. SC:L (Provisional Specialist Certificate: Legal)
 
Holders of this provisional certificate hold generalist certification and have completed RID approved training required prior to sitting for the SC:L exam. This provisional certification is valid until one year after the Specialist Certificate: Legal written and performance test is available nationally. Holders of this certificate are recommended for assignments in the legal setting. Prov. SC:L is no longer available.
 
 
SC:PA (Specialist Certificate: Performing Arts)
 
Holders of this certificate were required to hold RID generalist certification (CSC) prior to sitting for this examination and have demonstrated specialized knowledge in performing arts interpretation. Holders of this certificate are recommended for a broad range of assignments in the performing arts setting. The SC:PA is no longer offered.
 
 
OTC (Oral Transliteration Certificate)
 
Holders of this generalist certificate have demonstrated ability to 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. This test is currently available.
 
 
OIC:C (Oral Interpreting Certificate: Comprehensive)
 
Holders of this generalist certificate demonstrated the ability to 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. This certification is no longer offered. Individuals wishing oral certification should take the OTC exam noted above.
 
 
OIC:S/V (Oral Interpreting Certificate: Spoken to Visible)
 
Holders of this partial certificate demonstrated the ability to transliterate a spoken message from a person who hears to a person who is deaf or hard-of-hearing. This individual received scores on the OIC:C examination which prevented the awarding of full OIC:C certification. The OIC:S/V is no longer offered. Individuals wishing oral certification should take the OTC exam noted above.
 
 
OIC:V/S (Oral Interpreting Certificate: Visible to Spoken)
 
Holders of this partial certificate demonstrated ability to understand the speech and silent mouth movements of a person who is deaf or hard-of-hearing and to repeat the message for a hearing person. This individual received scores on the OIC:C examination which prevented the awarding of full OIC:C certification. The OIC:V/S is no longer offered. Individuals wishing oral certification should take the OTC exam noted above.
 
 
IC/TC (Interpretation Certificate/Transliteration Certificate)
 
Holders of this partial certificate demonstrated ability to transliterate between English and a signed code for English and the ability to interpret between American Sign Language and spoken English. This individual received scores on the CSC examination which prevented the awarding of full CSC certification. The IC/TC is no longer offered.
 
 
IC (Interpretation Certificate)
 
Holder of this partial certificate demonstrated ability to interpret between American Sign Language and spoken English. This individual received scores on the CSC examination which prevented the awarding of full CSC certification or partial IC/TC certification. The IC was formerly known as the Expressive Interpreting Certificate (EIC). The IC is no longer offered.
 
 
TC (Transliteration Certificate)
 
Holders of this partial certificate demonstrated the ability to transliterate between spoken English and a signed code for English. This individual received scores on the CSC examination which prevented the awarding of full CSC certification or IC/TC certification. The TC was formerly known as the Expressive Transliterating Certificate (ETC). The TC is no longer offered.
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