RID Puerto Rico Residents’ comments on the following Proposed Motion and Amendment Bylaws: 

Proposed Conference Motion:

Motion name: CM2017.01

RID Members – Puerto Rico Residents

Comments:

While Puerto Rico is not the most geographically isolated place in the United States, we are isolated enough from the mainland that we believe this motion, if passed, would have an adverse impact to RID certified members living and working in Puerto Rico, both financially and in terms of professional morale.  We respectfully submit the following testimony in opposition to this motion:

-Currently, RID is limiting the number of participants able to attend conference, in turn, limiting possible CEU earning opportunities available to certified members.  Coupled with the limited numbers at conference, this motion, if passed, would limit the manner in which certification can be maintained. This motion will only serve to inhibit, rather than foster, professional growth for those of us living in remote locations such as Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Alaska and many other rural areas of the United States.

-The Puerto Rico Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (PRRID) was disbanded in 2013 and, while a new organization has been formed to take its place, the Registro de Intérpretes para Sordos de Puerto Rico, Inc. (RISPRI) does not currently meet the requirements to become an Affiliate Chapter of RID and is not a CMP Sponsor.

-While RISPRI has made it a priority to provide professional development opportunities to its members, the cost of hiring presenters from the mainland (flight, hotel, food, and other fees) is prohibitive for an organization of its size.  The ability for RISPRI to provide 75% of the CEUs needed to maintain certification is slim at best.

-RISPRI could make a commitment to host more workshops for CEUs each year, but the cost of those workshops would be passed on to the membership. While RISPRI’s membership numbers are over 100 at the moment, only 5 members are RID Certified and less than 10 members in total are also members of RID.  The remaining interpreters are not certified or are students. Expecting 95% of an organization to shoulder the financial burden for less than 5% of the organization would be irresponsible and likely result in friction between members and the organization.

-If RISPRI must turn to local talent for professional development it would confine them to hosting the same workshops by the same presenters year after year. While this might satisfy CEU requirements, it limits our educational experience, exposure, and professional development, ultimately putting Puerto Rican interpreters at a disadvantage compared to interpreters from from the mainland. In addition, because continuing education credits from a particular workshop are only valid once in a four year cycle, it is unlikely that RISPRI would have the resources to offer unique workshops for four years straight using local talent only.

-While there may be no fiscal impact to RID if this motion passes, there will be a negative fiscal impact on interpreters in remote locations.  If RISPRI is unable to supply RID Certified interpreters in Puerto Rico with the necessary amount of in-person CEUs, it would mean that all of Certified interpreters on the island would need to travel to the mainland for a large portion of their required CEUs within a given cycle, which would be an unfair financial burden to many of us, considering the cost of airfare, accommodations, and other travel costs involved.  The cost of living in Puerto Rico is relatively low and interpreting rates reflect the cost of living.  While we may live in paradise, our salaries do not.

-We also posit that the stated rationale for this motion, “professional development is most effective in a face-to-face environment.” can also be achieved outside of the certification maintenance process. Indeed, it should be the obligation of every professional interpreter to interact with Deaf individuals in their community on a regular basis, to learn to use the communities’ chosen language modality, with respect to their culture and linguistic experience.

-Respected entities, such as the National Consortium of Interpreter Education Centers (NCIEC), their 5 regional partners, the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf itself, and many other reputable entities offer quality online training, information, and research that serve to enhance the interpreting profession and provide much needed professional development opportunities for those in need of distance learning.

 

It is our collective view that this motion, if passed, would have harmful, long-reaching effects on our community and other isolated interpreting communities and rural areas within the United States.  Limiting our ability to maintain our credentials will only do harm to our professional livelihood and the communities we serve. For these reasons we respectfully ask that the voting members of RID vote against motion CM2017.01.

 

Gracias por su tiempo y atención (Thank you for your time and attention),
Noreen Hagemeyer, CI, CT
Ricardo I. Ortiz Román, MAI, NIC, BEI Trilingual Adv.
Thomas Robertson, NIC Advanced
Jorge Santiago O’Neill, NIC, BEI Trilingual Adv.
Gordon Vernon, CI, CT, NIC

 

Proposed Bylaw Amendments A-G:

The RID Residents of Puerto Rico have no comments to submit at this time for the following motions:

Global Editorial Changes
Bylaws Referendum A

Gender Neutral Motion
Bylaws Referendum B

Article IX. Mail Referendum
Bylaws Referendum C

Standing Committees Motion
Bylaws Referendum D

Article XIII Changes
Bylaws Referendum E

Motion to Amend Bylaws to Eliminate Ex Officio
Bylaws Referendum F

Proposed Amendment to the RID Bylaws
Bylaws Referendum G