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E-News (September 22, 2017)

September 22, 2017

The September 22, 2017 E-News has been posted.

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MCDHH Response to MO-RID Petition

September 12, 2017

MCDHH Response to MO-RID Petition Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH) has recently become aware of heightened community conversations about the availability, quantity, and quality of Master level interpreters as a result of an online petition started by the Missouri Chapter of Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (MO-RID). This petition is requesting that we change the rule to allow NIC Certified interpreters to be converted to Master level. While the MO-RID has updated the petition that they will no longer be delivering it to us, we continue to receive phone calls, emails, and social media posts about the contents and reasoning alluded in the petition. We have grave concerns about the misinformation and misrepresentation in this petition, and would like to take this opportunity to clarify facts and outline the reasoning behind the current rules: RID’s Equivalence in the Missouri Interpreter Certification System Firstly, under the current rules of MCDHH, RID’s NIC and CI/CT certifications are recognized at the Advanced level. In the petition, MO-RID suggests that they should instead convert to the Master level. According to RID’s overview of the NIC, “holders of this certification have demonstrated general knowledge in the field of interpreting, ethical decision making, and interpreting skills,” and “demonstrate[s] professional knowledge and skills that meet or exceed the minimum professional standards necessary to perform in a broad range of interpretation and transliteration assignments” (source). It is noteworthy that this language is on par with the description of the Advanced Certificate from the Texas Board for Evaluation of Interpreters (BEI), which explains that: “The Advanced certificate sets a clear standard for an interpreter wanting to work in the majority of settings and perform a range of tasks” (source).  In contrast with this lower skill set, the BEI Master certificate is offered to interpreters with “the skills necessary to interpret in the most complex settings, including complex medical and mental health” situations. It is for this reason that the BEI Master exam specifically tests interpreters on their skills for interpreting in the most critical of situations, while the NIC does not. We have consistently maintained that those who wish to obtain Master Level Certification can always take the BEI Master Level exam here in Missouri or any other BEI states. Number of Interpreters Impacted by Suggested Rule Change Secondly, regardless of an interpreter’s certification level, if they do not have the specified training and experience required by current legal standards, the State Committee on Interpreters’ (SCI) Ethical Rules of Conduct requires them to decline the job. Thus, even if a certain number of interpreters are added to the pool of Master-level interpreters, it is possible that they would still be obligated to refuse Master-level jobs because they are not trained to interpret in settings that require a more elevated set of specialized skill set. Thirdly, in their petition, MO-RID claims “Missouri cannot utilize up to 113* qualified interpreters in [Master-level] settings.” A footnote explains that the number 113 represents the number of NIC and/or CI/CT certified interpreters that reside in Missouri or within 60 miles of Kansas City or St. Louis because current regulations designate [RID’s NIC and CI/CT] at only the Missouri Advanced level.” However, this figure fails to accurately represent the facts about the number of NIC and CI/CT certified individuals that are already recognized as Master-level interpreters in the Missouri system. Only 70 of the 113 included interpreters live in Missouri. Of these 70 interpreters, 37 are already certified as a MICS or BEI Master; three others are also considered Master-level because they hold the required NIC-Master or NIC-Advanced certifications and four of the NIC or CI/CT holders in Missouri are not licensed to practice through the SCI. Thus, the fact is that this leaves only a maximum of 26 interpreters living in Missouri whose level would actually move from Advanced to Master if the suggested rule change was to take effect. Additionally, the NIC and CI/CT tests do not specifically measure skills in areas that define Master-level work, such as felony criminal situations, juvenile and family court, and law enforcement. The interpreters who would be affected by the suggested rule change and their counterparts in the greater St. Louis and Kansas City areas might still not have the training and experience necessary to work in Master-level settings. Significantly, based on MCDHH’s Skill Level Standards and SCI’s Ethical Rules of Conduct, interpreters who do not feel confident and comfortable in a particular situation are obligated not to accept that job. Process of Updating Missouri Rules Lastly, the MO-RID petition claims that the reason for NIC and CI/CT certified interpreters’ categorization as Advanced-level is because “the State of Missouri had not updated their interpreter rule book.” However, MCDHH has gone through three different periods of rule changes since the CI/CT, NIC-Advanced, and NIC-Master tests were discontinued in 2011. New changes to the MCDHH rules were published in August 2014, September 2015, and October 2016. It is not in the character of the MCDHH to resort to excuses for sticking with the status quo. Thus, in keeping with its mission to facilitate effective communication access for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, especially in high-stake settings, the standard process of changing rules does involve serious consultations with members of the public, the Board for Certification of Interpreters (BCI), MCDHH Commissioners, and legal counsel. The goal of MCDHH is to continue to give meticulous attention to standard requirements that protect Deaf and Hard of Hearing Missourians while also seeking to make changes consistent with our mission if the need arises. Informed Conversation in Our Community MCDHH has received many calls, emails, and messages regarding this petition, and we are grateful to have engaged community members willing to take the initiative to speak truth-to-power. While encouraging this dialogue to continue, we also encourage the affected individuals to be willing to explore and interrogate perspectives different than their own, especially perspectives that are in the best interest of our great state. It is only through such empowered and objective analysis that we will collectively develop new ideas to move our community forward in tandem with the MCDHH upcoming Interpreters Conference and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Empowerment Symposium. The Conference and Symposium theme is “Come Together.” We hope to see many of you come together in Columbia on October 14 as we continue this conversation because we are stronger when we speak with one accord; we are mightier when we walk in unity!  

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Rules Review

July 17, 2017

On January 10, 2017, Governor Eric Greitens signed Executive Order 17-03 which mandated a review of every state agency regulation, including those under the jurisdiction of the Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and Board for Certification of Interpreters. As part of the review process, MCDHH will be accepting public comments to identify regulations that are ineffective, unnecessary, or unduly burdensome. The full text of our rules can be found here: http://s1.sos.mo.gov/cmsimages/adrules/csr/current/5csr/5c100-200.pdf   Comments will be accepted:

  • In written form with no more than 500 words before September 17, 2017;
  • As a video in sign language lasting no longer than 5 minutes before September 17, 2017;
  • At the following public hearings:
    • Tuesday, July 18, 2017, 10:00 am-12:00 pm at the James C. Kirkpatrick State Information Center, Room 139
    • Friday, August 18, 2017, 10:00 am-12:00 pm at the Truman Building, Room 492
  We look forward to receiving your feedback. Please consider the following in your comments to further help us determine the value of our regulations:
  • The regulation is essential to the health, safety, or welfare of Missouri residents;
  • The costs of the regulation do not outweigh their benefits, based on a cost benefit analysis;
  • A process and schedule exist to measure the effectiveness of the regulation;
  • Less restrictive alternatives have been considered and found less desirable than the regulation;
  • The regulation is based on sound, reasonably available scientific, technical, economic, and other relevant information; and
  • The regulation does not unduly and adversely affect Missouri citizens or customers of the State or the competitive environment in Missouri.
  All comments on existing rules must be submitted by September 17, 2017, for consideration in the review process. We encourage you to share this with other stakeholders—including deaf and hard of hearing individuals, sign language interpreters, professionals, teachers, and family members—in order to maximize input. You can learn more about the Governor’s initiative to review regulations on this website: https://nomoredtape.com/. Thank you for your participation. Written comments should be mailed to: Governmental Affairs Administrative Rules Review 205 Jefferson St. PO Box 480 Jefferson City, MO 65102-0480 Signed video comments should be emailed to: mcdhh@mcdhh.mo.gov

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Feedback regarding our Programs!

May 31, 2017

The Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing wants your ideas about our programs! We are giving a survey to Deaf and Hard of Hearing Missourians. We will use this survey to make changes and improve the work we do here at MCDHH. Please take the survey here:
Your information is confidential. We need you to take the survey by October 2, 2017.
We will use this information to make changes to the work we do here at MCDHH. Your ideas and thoughts are important to us, so we hope you will take the survey!
Share Your ideas with Your community. Take the survey before October 2nd.

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24th Annual Missouri Interpreters Conference

May 12, 2017

Registration information for the 24th Annual Missouri Interpreters Conference is now available online, and the conference mailer will be sent out soon. This year’s theme is “Come Together.” The focus will be on working collaboratively within the interpreting profession and with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community to develop skills and knowledge. Learn more about the conference on our website here: https://mcdhh.mo.gov/interpreters/conference/

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