Frequently Asked Questions

What is VRID?
VRID stands for the Virginia Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.  The organization was founded in 1969 in Richmond by members of the Virginia Association of the Deaf.  You can read our brief history written by Fred Yates by clicking here.  VRID is an approved affiliate chapter of the national organization the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (established 1964).  VRID serves as the chief association of professional interpreters of American Sign Language and English in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Membership Information
How much are the dues?

The membership year of the organization runs from July 1 to June 30.  For 2013-2014, the dues have been established by the board as follows:

  • Voting or Nonvoting Members (engaged in the field of interpreting) $30.00
  • Supporting Members (not engaged in the field of interpreting) $20 
  • Organizational Members (organizations who support VRID) $65
  • Student Members

What is the difference between voting and nonvoting membership?
RID requires that all voting members of VRID are also voting members in good standing of RID.  Likewise, to be considered a voting member of RID, members must also hold membership in one of RID’s affiliate chapters, such as VRID.  There is no difference between the two membership categories other than voting privileges at business meetings and for elections.

What are the benefits of membership?
1. Discounts on VRID sponsored workshops, trainings, and conferences.

2. The VRID Online Newsletter.

3. Representation to the RID Region II Presidents’ Council.

4. Official representation to the Virginia Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation, and Substance Abuse Services (DMRSAS) and Virginian’s Against Domestic Violence (VADV).

5. Representation to state agencies, such as the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, the General Assembly, and the Office of the Governor.

6. Eligibility for VRID Awards and national testing scholarships.

7. Opportunity for networking among professionals and students in Virginia.

What are the VRID Districts?
VRID changed its operating structure in 2002 to better serve all of Virginia.  Members reside in one of five districts, or regions, that cover the entire state.  The district is the center organizational center for planning and execution of local events, such as social gatherings, workshops, study groups, and the like.  Each district elects one representative to serve a two-year term.  This person is responsible to hold two town hall meetings per year to keep the membership informed of board activities, and to solicit opinions and ideas for the statewide organization.  To determine which district covers your area, go to the District Map.  To see what activities are planned in your region, or to see who your representative is, go to About Us and click on your district.

Education in Virginia
Where can I learn ASL (a.k.a. sign language) and/or interpreting?

While individual members may offer tutoring or mentoring services, VRID does not offer any organized ASL or interpreting instruction.  For information on ASL classes, check our Virginia Resources page.  Look specifically for adult learning centers, colleges, and universities.  For tutoring services, consult with the local chapter of the American Sign Language Teachers Association (ASLTA).  You can also contact your District Representative for more information about educational opportunities in your area.

Interpreting Work in Virginia
I’m already a qualified interpreter, what job opportunities are there for me?

Interpreting work in Virginia varies by region.  Below is a snapshot of general types of work typically available in the Commonwealth.  You can also contact your District Representative for more information about your specific area.

1.  There are work opportunities in education at various K-12 public schools, colleges and universities, as well as at schools for the Deaf and Blind.  Check with the VRID Educational Interpreting Task Force for additional information.

a.      The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) mandates national certification from RID or NAD or a Virginia Quality Assurance Screening (VQAS) level of III in interpreting or transliterating for all K-12 educational interpreters.  Because of the scarcity of interpreters in education meeting these requirements, waivers are often given for up to three years.  In addition, VDOE provides a considerable amount of training money per year for interpreters who do not meet their requirements.  Pay at Virginia schools is set by individual districts and can range from under $20,000 to around $50,000 with benefits.  Contact your local school districts for specific information on hiring practices.

b.      Many colleges in Virginia hire interpreters on a semester-by-semester basis and pay hourly without benefits.  There are a handful of staff interpreter positions at various institutions, however most colleges retain interpreters in a free-lance capacity.

c.      There are two schools for the Deaf and Blind in Virginia, and one vocational training center that serves many Deaf students.  These schools have various staff and free-lance opportunities.  Check the Virginia Resources page for their contact information.

2.      Many interpreters work with various interpreting agencies or Video Relay Interpreting Centers.  Northern Virginia and Richmond are served by local offices of interpreting agencies, and Richmond and Hampton Roads both have Video Relay Centers. On-staff and free-lance work is available with these companies.  Most other parts of Virginia are not served by full-time agencies, however, some agencies may offer free-lance opportunities from time-to-time.  Look on the Virginia Resources page for agency contact information.

3.      A great deal of interpreters in Virginia are in private practice.  All work for state agencies and state courts is coordinated through the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH).  Interpreters who contract with VDDHH agree to a fixed hourly rate of between $25 and $42 per hour (dependant on qualifications) with a minimum charge and driving time.  VDDHH publishes a “Directory of Qualified Interpreters” that many private companies use to locate interpreters.  Being on this directory will put your name and phone number on companies’ lists over time.  The most important factor in receiving work is level or qualification (preferably RID certification).

4.      There are a few interpreters who work in full-time staff interpreting jobs.  Some of these are located in colleges and schools for the Deaf.  In Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., other staff opportunities may be available.

Hiring an Interpreter in Virginia
How do I find an interpreter?

You can usually find a qualified interpreter through three avenues

1.      An interpreting agency that has interpreters on staff (see our Resources page for a listing).

2.      Public interpreter directories, such as through VDDHH’s “Directory of Qualified Interpreters,” or by searching for “certified members” in Virginia on RID’s membership directory.

3.      Upon recommendation of the Deaf person requiring services.  Remember that family members are generally a poor choice for interpreting services, and you may still want to verify that the person has appropriate credentials to reduce your own liability.

It is important to remember that in many parts of Virginia (mostly outside of Northern Virginia) there are a small number of free-lance interpreters, so make preparations early.  To ensure coverage for your event, start looking for an interpreter as soon as you have the dates and times confirmed.  If you are flexible on the date or time of your event, you will have an easier time finding an interpreter, even on short notice.

How much will I pay to hire an interpreter?
Each interpreter and interpreting agency is free to set its own rates (except for state agency and court work).  Many follow roughly the rates set out by VDDHH.  In 2005, the rates were $42 per hour for a fully certified interpreter.  Many interpreters charge more than this depending on local market conditions.  Standard considerations for interpreters include a minimum hourly charge (such as 2 hours), travel time billed at the hourly rate, parking fees, payment through breaks, adequate cancellation requirements, and possible advance preparation charges.  Additionally, certain types of assignments may require more than one interpreter working in a team.  The interpreter you contact will tell you if the assignment requires more than one interpreter.

How do I know if someone is qualified?
There are many factors that lead to some one performing quality work.  The most visible and controllable of these factors are interpreting credentials.  Optimally, an interpreter will hold one of RID or NAD’s full certifications, such as the CI and CT, CSC, MCSC, NAD III, NAD IV, or NAD V or EIPA 4.0+.  Additionally, interpreters who obtained screening scores from the VQAS in both interpreting and transliterating at levels III and IV are good candidates for interpreting work.  Educational levels vary greatly among interpreters.  Some working interpreters did not finish high school while others hold doctoral degrees. Some have unique skills suited to certain types of work.  For example an electrician assistant turned interpreter may be an excellent choice for an electrician’s course.

What if I am unsatisfied with an interpreter’s work?
On occasion, consumers are unsatisfied with the quality of work of an interpreter.  These concerns should be brought to the interpreter immediately.  If an equitable solution is not met, there may be recourse through the grievance process of RID for certified interpreters or VDDHH for state screened interpreters.

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