I am sending this as an open letter to the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID), in response to a RFP they are distributing.
RID wants a logo for its upcoming national conference. They are calling artists to send them sketches of possible logos and a bid as to the cost for the artistâ€™s time. I am disappointed in the way they are doing this. â€œRFPâ€ here is just a nicer way of saying â€œlogo contest.â€
We Deaf artists have been repeatedly subjected to â€œlogo contestsâ€ that exploit free labor and are not ethical processes. Iâ€™ve spoken many times on this issue and did not want to respond to yet another example, but many people have been telling me about this RFP. So I need to speak up once again.
Would RID summon a group of interpreters and ask them to interpret for three, four hours, in order to observe their work and then decide to pay one of them for the work, but not the rest? No. This would have been unethical. But that is what RID is asking Deaf artists to doâ€”to think about possible logos, to sketch them down, and they will pay only one of us. The rest of us would have wasted our time and efforts.
The ethical process, what RID should be doing, is to ask artists to send our portfolios. They would see what work weâ€™ve done in the past. They then decide whom to approach to discuss the project and rates. Then sign a contract. The artist will then work on it and complete the work.
RID already uses this good approach for hiring interpreters. They know the interpretersâ€™ history, areas of expertise, and would simply hire accordingly. Interpreters do not go to school, go through intensive training, pursue CEUs, just so that they would do work for free in hopes of maybe being hired or being the winning bidder. No, they expect to be hired.
Deaf artists are the same. We invest years of work in honing our craft, go to school, earn degrees, and keep up with developments in our areas. We are happy to share our portfolios to be considered. We expect to be hired if a client likes what weâ€™ve done in the past. It is respectful and professional.
RID values itself in upholding a high standard of professionalism and respect for professionals. I ask you, RID, to reconsider the conference logo RFP and to do it differently, by requesting portfolios and simply hiring the artist whose work you feel is the best match for your needs.
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