At Cloudbreak, we’re committed to mitigating disparities in care. One of the ways we do that is by providing for and advocating for the Deaf and hard of hearing community. As we continue our work to make care more accessible to all, we are proud to announce the addition of Certified Deaf Interpreters to our workforce.  

Read on to learn more about Certified Deaf Interpreters and how they improve care for Deaf and hard of hearing patients.  

Who are Certified Deaf Interpreters? 

A Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI) is a Deaf or hard of hearing person who interprets signed languages. CDIs do not perform the same service as hearing interpreters who interpret between spoken and signed languages, like English and ASL. A CDI is considered an expert in signed language and is used in tandem with an ASL interpreter to produce more accurate interpretation.  

How does interpretation work with a CDI? 

A CDI interprets either for a Deaf or hard of hearing individual to an ASL interpreter, or vice versa. Their role is to clarify or specify any language to make sure that the interpretation is precise. They are also better equipped to handle dialects or other cultural differences that an ASL interpreter may not be able to interpret. The diagram below shows how a CDI interpreter is involved in the interpretation process between a patient and provider.  

A graphic shows a provider and a patient having a discussion. Between them are an ASL interpreter and a CDI Interpreter. Information in spoken by the Provider, interpreted by the ASL Interpreter, then interpreted by the CDI Interpreter, for the Deaf or Hard of Hearing patient. The participants are illustrated as multiple genders and ethnicities. Interpretation is represented with differently colored arrows.

When do you need a CDI? 

A Certified Deaf Interpreter should always be used if available, because they add additional clarity and cultural context to interpretation with Deaf or hard of hearing individuals. However, a CDI makes a large impact when specificity is required (for example, in legal proceedings) or highly specialized language is being used (like complex medical terminology). Utilizing a CDI makes care more equitable and accessible for the Deaf and hard of hearing community.  

How has COVID-19 impacted the Deaf and hard of hearing community? 

It’s important that communities receive care specific to their needs. While every person should be granted equal access to care, that access doesn’t always look the same. Because of differences in how information is received and disseminated in different cultures and communities, Deaf and hard of hearing patients have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.  

  • 33% percent of respondents reported experiencing new challenges to accessing healthcare. 
  • Among respondents who needed regular health care, 50% reported access had been disrupted. 
  • Meanwhile, 96% of respondents reported that they are following COVID recommendations, meaning that despite challenges and barriers, the community is taking the pandemic very seriously.  
This graphic is titled The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community During COVID-19 and shows three pie charts that display the following information. 96% of respondents reported following COVID recommendations. 50% of respondents reported regular healthcare access was disrupted. 33% of respondents reported healthcare burdens due to COVID.
Read more about the impact of COVID-19 on the Deaf and hard of hearing community, here. 

In many ways, the novel coronavirus pandemic is presenting unfamiliar and unanticipated challenges for persons with and without disabilities. A key difference is that persons with disabilities already encounter documented disparities in accessing health care treatment and services and involvement in emergency planning programs and activities. Of considerable concern is that 33% of the sample reported experiencing new challenges to obtaining health care treatment, health care access, and/or prescriptions. An analysis of the open-ended responses as to why these new barriers exist is underway.


We are very excited to now have Certified Deaf Interpreters available on our Martti platform. To learn more about how Video Remote Interpreting can help make a difference for Deaf and hard of hearing patients, read our case study with VCU Health. If you’d like to know more about how to request a CDI, please contact us.