NAD-RID National Interpreter Certification (NIC) News Update

October 2011

  • New Scoring Process Implementation Date Announced
  • Pre-Job Task Analysis Survey (Deadline October 24, 2011)


On December 1, 2011, the enhanced, streamlined, single-level NAD-RID National Interpreter Certification (NIC) Examination will go into effect. As announced at the RID National Conference in July, the enhanced examination will have the same content as the current NIC, but the content will be reformatted to focus more closely on critical interpreting skills. New scoring techniques designed to increase the accuracy, consistency and reliability of the examination scoring will also be introduced with this enhanced test. In addition to more effectively measuring the competency of exam candidates, the new scoring process will allow RID to provide exam results in significantly less time than before. The enhanced NIC will be administered at the same supersite locations currently available.

Since the enhanced examination is specifically aimed at measuring candidates at a single-level, passing candidates will only be eligible to receive the NIC credential. Higher level credentials will be temporarily unavailable until RID completes new examinations specifically designed to accurately assess higher level skills. New examinations will be available in 2013.

Currently certified individuals will be unaffected by the change to the single-level examination. Interpreters who hold any level of NIC certification (or any previously awarded RID certification) will retain their credentials for the foreseeable future, as long as they continue to meet applicable certification maintenance requirements.

Please visit, for FAQs about the enhanced, single-level examination and scoring process and for other information about the NIC enhancement program. For any additional questions not addressed on the RID Web site, please call the RID Certification and Education Department at 703-838-0030.


The RID-NAD Pre-Job Task Analysis (Pre-JTA) survey is underway and more than 1,500 interpreters, and deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing consumers have already responded to the survey. This is excellent participation! If you haven’t taken the survey yet, please take the 10-15 minutes now at

Some respondents have asked why the Pre-JTA Survey asks about specialized areas of practice instead of focusing on the knowledge and skill required to be a competent interpreter. In the words of one respondent, “Is RID putting the cart before the horse.”

The following is a brief summary of the logic behind the Pre-JTA survey. Hopefully, this will help to answer these types of questions.

Developing the Next Generation NIC

First, RID is not “putting the cart before the horse.” Rather, RID is making sure that we “get the right horse in front of the right cart.” Here is what we mean:

The process of developing the next generation of the NIC examination program is a multi-year process involving a number of steps. Some of these steps are sequential and some are not.

The first step of improving the NIC is modifying the existing NIC examination to improve the accuracy and consistency of the scoring process. Work on this step was started earlier this year and is nearing completion. In fact, the ‘Enhanced NIC’ examination incorporating the new scoring process will be released in December of this year!

At the same time, RID has begun working on the next, completely new edition of the NIC. To ensure that this test addresses the knowledge and skill required to competently perform the job of an interpreter for the deaf in today’s world, this test will be based on an updated survey of the profession (aka the Job Task Analysis or JTA). The JTA will define what interpreters do that is important to serving deaf, hard of hearing and hearing consumers. It will also define the knowledge, skills and abilities that interpreters must possess to perform these services competently.

JTAs are lengthy and involved studies which typically define a single job. For interpreters however, the NIC Task Force indicated that it was important to define more than just the job of the entry-level practitioner. They said that it was critical to define one or more levels beyond entry-level and to define the role of interpreters in important specialized areas of practice.

A single JTA cannot address all potential levels and specialty areas. Therefore, in order for RID to structure the first JTA, we must first understand which are the most important advanced and specialized skills in addition to entry-level skills. The purpose of the pre-JTA study is to allow practitioners and consumers to prioritize their interpretation needs so that RID can respond appropriately.


In late 2009, the NAD and RID Boards of Directors established an NIC Task Force to work with feedback about the NIC from interpreters, consumers, and others, to reflect changes in the profession and community during the past 10 years, and to align the NIC with ever-evolving best practices in the certification industry. After, the Task Force recommended updates to the NIC certification program that address many complex factors around certification, such as testing for at least two levels of interpreter ability using separate exams, specialty recognition, eligibility requirements, and more. The multi-year enhancement process will ensure that the NIC is a more reliable, valid, current, and well-understood certification for all who rely on it.

RID will work with, involve and support the interpreter and Deaf communities throughout the NIC enhancement and implementation process. RID and NAD are committed to a collaborative effort that will benefit from the collective experience and expertise of all groups with a stake in the NIC credential and RID certification program overall.

Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf
333 Commerce Street
Alexandria, VA 22314