Using Certified Deaf Interpreters (CDI) to Communicate with Deaf Patients


Did you know that in addition to providing medical interpretation services for 28 languages over video, InDemand also offers Certified Deaf Interpreters (CDIs) to support the interpreting needs of Deaf patients and their families? CDIs are a valuable resource for Deaf patients that have additional linguistic and/or cultural needs.

Certified Deaf Interpreters (CDI) are Deaf that work alongside hearing ASL interpreters to ensure accurate communication with Deaf individuals whose native language is visual. The Deaf interpreter uses specialized communication strategies when communicating and interpreting with the Deaf patient while partnering with a hearing interpreter to communicate information to and from any hearing parties. Certified Deaf Interpreters have “an extensive knowledge and understanding of deafness, the Deaf community and/or Deaf culture which combined with excellent communication skills, can bring added expertise into both routine and uniquely difficult interpreting situations.”

Although most Deaf people in the United States are native users of ASL with an intimate understanding of the language, statistics show that about 10 percent of Deaf patients require a linguistic specialist, or CDI. CDI are critical for bridging the communication gap for medical encounters with:

  • children whose languages are still in developing stages
  • individuals who acquired American Sign Language at a later age
  • foreign-born Deaf individuals who are not familiar with ASL
  • a native Deaf signer in a highly stressful or emotional situation

Like our hearing ASL interpreters, all InDemand Certified Deaf interpreters are nationally certified by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and have extensive medical interpreting experience. Our CDIs offer a unique perspective of being native language users in addition to being Deaf consumers of interpreting services.  They typically work collaboratively with hearing ASL interpreters to ensure that all communication is conveyed successfully, providing Deaf patients the opportunity to be fully engaged in their healthcare.

Generally, Deaf patients can communicate effectively via our ASL interpreters. However, when an InDemand ASL interpreter identifies a Deaf person who would benefit from a CDI, the ASL interpreter can quickly invite a CDI to join the video on demand. This facilitates seamless communication between highly experienced ASL and CDI interpreters, a provider and his/her Deaf patient.

CDI-Graphic-2Having access to a CDI allows patients to fully participate in their healthcare, which substantially increases healthcare comprehension, patient involvement and compliance after discharge. CDIs offer providers a more complete picture of the Deaf patient’s healthcare needs, history and a more tailored treatment plan.

Video Remote Intepreting for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Patients

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