Depending on the level of qualification of the interpreter they may be suitable for different types of work.
British Sign Language is the preferred and first language of many Deaf people. It is a language in its own right with it’s own structure, grammatical and linguistic rules.
In 2003 the British Government officially recognised British Sign Language as a language.
According to the Department of Work and Pensions there are about 70,000 British Sign Language users in Britain, although it is estimated that approximately 250,000 use BSL regularly as part of everyday life.Conventionally the use of the word ‘deaf’ (with a lowercase‘d’) refers to any person with a significant hearing loss, whereas ‘Deaf’ (with a capital ‘D’) refers to a person whose preferred language is BSL.
There is a broad duty under the Equality Act 2010 to consider the provision of BSL/English Interpreters in providing goods and services to Deaf sign language users.
Signature administers the Register of BSL/English Interpreters through the National Registers of Communication Professionals Working with Deaf and Deafblind people (NRCPD). They also produces an on-line directory of their Registered Interpreters. When you book a freelance Interpreter, it is important to check that they are registered as this brings a guarantee of professionalism and confirms that a set of standards are in place.
There is a national shortage of BSL/English Interpreters, which means that they are likely to be booked up well in advance. Book early.
You should give as much information as possible when you make a booking with an Interpreter.
What you need to know before contacting the agency/interpreter:
If the event will last longer than two hours and depending on the complexity, you may need to book two or more interpreters. This will also depend on the nature of the assignment e.g. where you might want back-up / multi-workshop event etc.
Interpreters know what information they are likely to need, so please give the opportunity to discuss the assignment in advance if requested. It is also helpful for interpreters to have time to discuss any issues on arrival so please allow for this.
Effective communication requires that the sign language user and interpreter are able to see each other clearly and that those relying on spoken English are able to hear the interpreter clearly. Good practice means that one person speaks at a time. It is impossible to interpret two people at the same time.
There will be a short time delay when a BSL/English Interpreter is working from BSL to English because the interpreter needs time to comprehend and reproduce in spoken English what is signed in British Sign Language and vice versa. This is especially important during questions or discussions to ensure that nobody is excluded. This process is taxing and it is important to ensure breaks are scheduled.
A Deaf Relay Interpreter is an intermediary for Deaf people and they work alongside BSL Interpreters. They provide a specialist interpreting services assisting Deaf people communicate if they are not fluent in BSL or have issues that affects their ability to communicate.
This service is offered at Deaf Solutions 3, if you would like to know more please contact us.