- British Sign Language Interpreters: What is BSL Interpretation?
BSL Interpreters: the basics
BSL interpreters provide simultaneous interpretation of spoken English into British Sign Language. Sign language interpreters train for many years and gain advanced qualifications in order to achieve the right levels of expertise for interpretation at professional meetings and conferences.
Who uses British Sign Language (BSL)?
BSL is frequently used by people who were born deaf or who had hearing loss early in life. For many users of BSL, British Sign Language is their first and preferred language. BSL is not simply a signed version of English: it is a distinct language, and in 2003 it was recognised by the UK government as a language in its own right.
Some people who become deaf or have hearing loss as adults prefer to communicate in English and do not use BSL. For these users, Palantypists / Speech to Text is the right choice for support at meetings and events.
What types of meetings can use BSL Interpreters?
BSL interpreters support meetings of any size, from small committee meetings to huge conferences. For one-on-one or small group meetings that are relatively short in duration, we usually provide one BSL interpreter. For larger events and conferences, or for longer meetings, sign language interpreters work in pairs, switching every 20-30 minutes.
Is any equipment needed for BSL Interpretation?
Yes and no. The interpreters themselves require no equipment except their own ears, hands and expressions! However, very often the signing needs to be made visible to many users around a large meeting room or conference hall – or to be video recorded and integrated with a video of the speaker for distribution on DVD or over the web.
When you need video projection or recording of the BSL interpreter’s work, we can provide all the equipment and technical expertise you need. We can also help with the issue of copyright: the interpreter owns the copyright of his or her own work, so when you need a video we can help to ensure that provisions are made for copyright.
A BSL Interpreter's skills and training
Sign language interpreters go through a comprehensive course of study on the way to becoming fully qualified professionals. The key qualification for a professional BSL Interpreter is the achievement of the Level 4 NVQ through the series of qualifications administered by Signature, formerly the CACDP (Council for the Advancement of Communication with Deaf People). Our BSL interpreters hold the Level 4 NVQ and are members of professional registers.
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