Deaf Vee Journal wrote an article in 2021 during the peak of the pandemic, entitled “State Laws and Regulations Impact ASL Interpreters“. The landscape of interpreter licensure and certification continues to evolve, with ongoing challenges and recent updates affecting interpreters nationwide.

RID and Certification Controversies

The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) has faced significant criticism regarding its certification processes, particularly from BIPOC interpreters who highlight the cultural biases and systemic racism within the organization. This led to the resignation of several BIPOC leaders from RID’s board in 2021. Since then, RID has revised its Ethical Practices System (EPS) to enhance accountability and integrity among interpreters. This revision includes clear procedures for filing complaints and addressing professional misconduct​ (RID – Education & Standards)​​ (RID – Education & Standards)​.

The Center for Assessment of Sign Language Interpretation (CASLI), the testing arm of RID, has announced delays in their testing processes due to challenges in transitioning to a new testing platform and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. These delays have been significant enough to warrant extensions of up to one additional year for candidates’ Testing Process Cycle (TPC) expiration dates. CASLI has acknowledged the technical difficulties and logistical issues faced during the transition, which have contributed to the testing delays​ (CASLI)​​ (CASLI)​.

Alternative Certification Options

States are increasingly recognizing alternative certifications to meet licensure requirements. For example, Colorado will accept the Board for Evaluation of Interpreters (BEI) certification starting at the end of September. Massachusetts and Maine also have unique approaches to evaluating interpreters, involving local Deaf community leaders and specific proficiency requirements, respectively.

The profession continues to grapple with supporting various communication modalities used by the Deaf community. There is a notable lack of certification processes for modes such as Black American Sign Language, Cued Speech, and tactile communication for the DeafBlind community. This gap highlights the need for more inclusive certification standards that recognize the diversity of communication methods within the Deaf and DeafBlind communities​ (RID – Education & Standards)​​ (NIH-NIDCD)​.

Efforts to improve interpreter licensure laws focus on increasing state involvement and allowing local Deaf communities to participate in the evaluation process. Mechanisms for filing complaints against interpreters and agencies are crucial for ensuring quality and accountability in interpreting services.

Timeline of Key Announcements


  • November 2020: CASLI released the CASLI Generalist Performance Exam for Deaf Interpreters, changing the educational requirement for the Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI) from an Associate degree to a Bachelor’s degree, effective six months from the release date​ (CASLI)​​ (CASLI)​.


  • June 2021: Multiple BIPOC leaders resigned from RID’s board, citing systemic racism and a lack of progress in addressing these issues. This event highlighted significant concerns within the organization and led to calls for reforms​ (RID – Education & Standards)​​ (RID – Education & Standards)​.
  • June 1, 2021: CASLI announced that candidates would be granted up to one additional year for their Testing Process Cycle (TPC) expiration dates due to the testing transition and COVID-19​ (CASLI)​.


  • July 2022: RID reaffirmed its commitment to upholding high standards of professionalism and ethical conduct among interpreters through its Ethical Practices System (EPS)​ (RID – Education & Standards)​.
  • Throughout 2022: RID and CASLI continued to address criticisms and improve their certification processes, including revising the EPS to better support accountability and integrity among interpreters​ (RID – Education & Standards)​.


  • December 2023: CASLI provided updates on the ongoing transition to a new testing platform and the impacts of COVID-19 on their testing schedules. They also extended testing cycle expiration dates to accommodate delays​ (CASLI)​.


  • March 2024: CASLI announced further updates regarding the transition to the new testing platform, highlighting the technical difficulties and steps being taken to resolve these issues​ (CASLI)​​ (CASLI)​.
  • May 13, 2024: CASLI provided another update, indicating continued delays and extensions for candidates’ testing cycles due to the ongoing challenges with the new testing system and pandemic-related disruptions​ (CASLI)​​ (CASLI)​.

For more detailed information on state-specific laws and regulations regarding interpreter licensure and certification, you can visit the RID’s State-by-State Regulations page.