Southern California Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf

SCRID is an affiliate chapter of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID). It is the mission of the Southern California Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf to promote best practices, equity, and representation within the profession of Sign Language Interpreting; provide professional development and education for current and future practitioners; serve as a forum for ongoing assessment of and response to community needs; and, advocate to the public for the highest standards in the provision of interpreting services for users of both sign languages and spoken languages.

Lou Fant Distinguished Service Award


The Lou Fant Distinguished Service Award was established in honor of the beloved and renowned Lou Fant, interpreter, educator, mentor, author, and actor. This award affords the opportunity to acknowledge the accomplishments of two worthy local individuals: one exceptional interpreter and one Deaf community member who has been of significant support to the interpreting community.


Lou Fant was a pioneering teacher, author, interpreter, and expert on ASL. He was a CODA, born in South Carolina, in 1931, who eventually made his way from there to Texas, New York, Gallaudet College, then California, and lastly to Seattle, Washington. He passed in 2001. Lou was a key player in the establishment of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf  (RID) in 1964 at Ball State Teachers College. He helped to establish the National Theatre of the Deaf in 1967. While living in California, during the early 1970s and into the 1980s, Lou served as an instructor at San Fernando Valley State College (later to become CSUN) teaching ASL and Deaf Culture classes. It was here he wrote two of his books: Ameslan: An Introduction to American Sign Language (1972), which was the first book to approach teaching ASL as a full language rather than as a collection of signs, and The American Sign Language Phrase Book.

Lou was renowned for his poetic sign language art, including such pieces as the Jabberwocky and his rendition of Teyve’s “If I Were a Rich Man.” He played signing roles in various TV and film productions (General Hospital, Little House on the Prairie, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, My Name is Jonah). He also served as a sign language coach for some well-known actors, including Henry Winkler and Diane Keaton, and was a sign language consultant for Children of a Lesser God and Clan of the Cave Bear.

During Lou’s tenure at CSUN and beyond, he exemplified the qualities of a professional, and this impacted his work as an interpreter greatly. His insights into how interpreting should be looked as a profession, with standards, was instrumental in leading RID to become the first professional organization for sign language interpreters, and to begin the process of developing a set of tenets (the Code of Ethics) by which interpreters could understand their role and responsibilities to the communities they served.

So too, Lou provided leadership and experience to those who had established the Southern California Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. He served as a wise leader, mentor, and champion for all those who came after him. His are the shoulders on which those who developed and supported SCRID, by membership or service, stand. 

In order to show how much Lou’s life and work is cherished and to memorialize his work and influence, both locally and nationally, and to show respect for the huge impact that he has had on our field, SCRID developed the Lou Fant Distinguished Service Awards in 2003.


Nominations must include a one-page rationale or up to 5 minute video in support of the nominee. If the person making the nomination is not a SCRID member, the nomination must be co-signed/approved by a SCRID member. The nomination form is posted on the SCRID website.

There are no specific requirements for the type of contribution to the field that has been made by the recipients. Please consider carefully your colleagues or those with whom you interact professionally, and nominate one Deaf/Hard of Hearingprofessional and/or one Hearing or Deaf interpreter who you feel has truly made a positive impact on our field and the greater community at large.

Award Timeline:

There is no scheduled frequency of this award. Rather, it is offered at appropriate moments, not more than annually, to honor individuals who have shown exceptional service to the interpreting field. When awarded, announcements will be made during the SCRID Annual Membership Meeting.

Click here to donate to the Lou Fant Distinguished Service Award fund.

Click here to submit a nomination of a deserving individual.



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