MIRID - Michigan Chapter, Registry Interpreters for the Deaf

What do you know about the Deaf Person's Interpreter Act?

Ever convince an entity to retain your services because you provide “effective communication”? Did you know Michigan rules define “effective communication” as:

 (l) “Effective communication” means that all involved parties understand each other for the exchange of visual and audio information about ideas, attitudes, emotions, or behavior that occurs between 2 or more persons, through a common system of language that is equally and fully understood by a deaf, deafblind, or hard of hearing person (D/DB/HH) and hearing persons. The interpreter must possess sign language to English – Englishto sign language skills and necessary vocabulary for the situation so that all parties have access to the same information. (R 393.5003, p. 2)

Check out Rule 2 for the other 42 definitions of relevant terms in Michigan’s “Qualified Interpreter – General Rules”





Most of us have seen the standards chart. Did you know that graphic is not actually in the rules? 

All the information is outlined in Part 2, Rules 21 to 28.



What happens if while interpreting an unexpected medical emergency happens for which you would normally not be qualified to interpret? 

Rule 29 outlines provisions that may allow you to interpret legally until a properly qualified interpreter of other means of effective communication is established. Jump to page 13 to read about this potentially life saving rule.


Michigan is recognizing the importance of education. Starting July 2018, applicants for certification testing by the DODDBHH will need to have a minimum of an associate’s degree.  

Rule 41 (c) Four years after the effective date of these rules, a copy of an associate’s or higher degree from an accredited institution, or proof ofhaving maintained current state or national certification before the effective date of these rules. (R 393.5041, p.16)

For other procedures for testing, check out Part 4 of the rules on page 16.


Remember the requirement for retesting every 4 years under the QA? Michigan’s new testing cycle for the BEI is laid out in Rule 42:

 Rule 42. 

  (1) A person tested under the state testing system for certification shall participate in a 4-year testing cycle and retest at the next higher level of certification until passing the MI BEI II or its equivalent. After passing the MI BEI II or its equivalent, the person is not required to retest every 4 years as long as the certification does not lapse.

  (2) A person who is required to retest will retain his or her current level of certification.

  (3) A person holding current national certification or the state-recognized EIPA certification of 4.0 shall not be required to retest to renew his orher certification.    (R 393.5042, p. 16)

Find the complete rule set here:


Do you always carry your Michigan credential card? You should…

Rule 51 (2) Before starting a proceeding, an interpreter shall show his or her current Michigan qualified interpreter credential card to the appointing authority and D/DB/HH person(s). If the credential card does not include a photograph, the interpreter must present it along with validgovernment issued photo identification.   (R 393.5051, p. 16)

Find the complete rule set here:


Have co-workers that you also interpret for on occasion? In most cases it’s completely acceptable, but Rule 51 (5) stipulates:

  (5) A qualified interpreter may interpret for a proceeding for a co-worker or peer during organizational meetings, workshops, seminars, union discussions, or whennot a participant in the meeting, but shall not interpret for a co-worker or peer during a disciplinary meeting, conflict resolution, personal meeting, or employmentdispute. A neutral qualified interpreter shall be used, upon request of the D/DB/HH person.   (R 393.5051, p. 17)

See all the minimum standards of practice starting on page 16:


Ever experience resistance from a court or attorney regarding staffing a full interpreting team? Use the rules to help explain and support your argument.

(7) When the defendant in a criminal trial is a D/DB/HH person, separate proceedings interpreter(s) and table interpreter(s) shall be required. A table interpreter facilitating communication between a D/DB/HH person and his or her counsel shall not interpret for the court. Similarly a proceedings interpreter shall not work without a table interpreter being present in a criminal case. The roles of the interpreter at the table and the proceedings interpreter are neither adversarial nor compatible. The interpreter at the table is a member of the council team and an agent of the attorney. The proceedings interpreter is an officer of the court.  In such instances, both of the following apply:

 (a) The proceedings interpreter shall interpret the courtroom proceedings.

 (b) The table interpreter shall interpret privileged and other communications between a D/DB/HH person and his or her attorney while monitoring the accuracy and effectiveness of the proceedings interpreter’s interpretations on behalf of the defense.  (R 393.5051, p. 17) 

See all the minimum standards of practice starting on page 16.



NOTE: All questions and requests for clarification should be directed to the DODDBHH. 


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Temperance, MI 48182


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