consumer language preference – key definitions

ASL (American Sign Language): ASL is the signed language used by Deaf people in the United States and most provinces of Canada. ASL is a visually perceived language based on a naturally evolved system of articulated hand gestures and their placement relative to the body, along with non-manual markers such as facial expressions, head movements, shoulder raises, mouth morphemes, etc.

CDI (Certified Deaf Interpreter): A Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI) is an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing and has been certified by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) as an interpreter. The CDI has an extensive knowledge and understanding of deafness, the deaf community, and/or Deaf culture which combined with excellent communication skills.

SEE (Signed Exact English): Manually Coded English (MCE) is the term for systems such as Signed Exact English (SEE) which are used to communicate English non-verbally. All forms of MCE are attempts to exactly represent the grammar and vocabulary of the English language by placing signs in English order and including suffixes and prefixes many of which are not provided in ASL.

PSE (Pidgin Signed English): Now referred to as "contact signing." Contact signing is often used when Deaf and hearing individuals need to communicate. One way to describe it is as a "middle ground" between artificially invented signed English systems and ASL.

Tactile Interpreting: Some people are not only deaf, but blind as well. When deafblind consumers have little to no vision and need to receive linguistic information by feeling the interpreter's hands while the interpreter signs or fingerspells, this is called tactile interpreting. With tactile interpreting, the interpreter typically sits or stands next to the deafblind consumer while interpreting. Also, the interpreter adds visual descriptions along with the interpreted message. Depending on the consumer's preference, tactile interpreters may either be a CDI or a hearing ASL interpreter.

Oral Interpreting: A less common but still recognized subspecialty of interpreting. The oral interpreter silently mouth interprets speech for the non-signing deaf consumer. In addition, an oral interpreter may use facial expressions and gestures. This service benefits non-signing deaf people and hard of hearing people who read lips.