BSL Go! | Interpreting
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Interpreting

What is the role of a BSL/English Interpreter?

British Sign Language (BSL) is the sign language used in the UK, and is the first or preferred language of some deaf people. BSL was recognised by the Government as a language in its own right in March 2003. BSL is the first or preferred language of an estimated 70,000 Deaf people in the UK. BSL is a visual-gestural language, with its own grammar and principles, which are completely different from the grammatical structure of English.

British Sign Language interpreters are available to facilitate smooth communication between hearing and Deaf people in any setting.

I am a regulated Trainee British Sign Language interpreter.

Interpreting service available for a wide variety of settings:

BSL Interpreters  and trainees must hold a DBS check, must have an advanced knowledge of English and BSL and must be able to process information quickly and accurately.

All trainee and qualified interpreters  follow a Code of Conduct, have an up to date Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), hold Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) and are subject to a complaints procedure and will carry an NRCPD badge.

As a trainee interpreter I can provide a service in the following settings –

  • Meetings
  • Education and training
  • Employment
  • Health and care (subject to information provided)
  • Special events

For any bookings for legal, mental health and social services, please book a fully qualified interpreter. Listings can be found at the NRCPD NRCPD | Home and at https://www.bslsouthcentral.com .

When contacting me to arrange a booking please provide the following:

  • Dates and times of the event
  • The full address and meeting point at the place where you need the interpreter.
  • The purpose of the booking such as office support or a meeting.
  • The name of the deaf person and any other people involved in the event.
  • Preferences of the deaf person if known such as BSL or signed supported English.
  • Any paperwork to prepare the interpreter is essential:
    • Agenda
    • Participants
    • Powerpoint slides
    • Previous minutes
  • Ensure only one person contributes at any one time to allow a successful interpretation.
  • For assignments over 1 hour in length, two interpreters will be required. I am able to arrange for a second interpreter, if required.

Once a booking is confirmed, my terms and conditions apply. All firm bookings will be confirmed in writing within 24 hours.

If you would prefer to discuss your booking requirements, please email me to arrange a phone or video call.

Contact details – admin@bslgo.co.uk

Meet Dianne

I have been studying BSL myself for 10 years. It was always something I wanted to learn, but never quite got around to. But one day everything changed for me. (I didn’t know then what a huge impact learning BSL would have on me). I was working in a local mobility shop when a Deaf couple came in to order something. They had written down on a piece of paper what it was that they wanted. They probably do this all the time, knowing that, as British Sign Language users, they would not be able to have a full conversation and be able to explain what it was they needed. This had a profound impact on me and I vowed to learn BSL so that I could be able to communicate with deaf people in their own language. I have never regretted it and never looked back.

I have completed my Level 6 in BSL and am currently training to be an interpreter, with BSL Link for Communication (Stewart Bailey and Byron Campbell). I am a regulated NRCPD trainee interpreter, hoping to be fully qualified by mid 2021.

Based in Fareham, Hampshire, I am able to interpret within Hampshire, Surrey, Isle of Wight and East Sussex.

My work background prior to interpreting includes supported living management, occupational therapy, care management, retail, child care, school governance, support work in the fields of learning disability and mental health, teaching and business. I also have experience interpreting in these areas (mental health excluded) in addition to health.

I am professional and friendly, which is so important in an interpreting environment.

I hold a current DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) certificate and public liability and indemnity insurance. I am a qualified Emergency First aider.

So, my chance encounter has led me to the place I am at now. I have been fortunate to volunteer at Deaf club and with Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, and I have been supported and championed along the way by people from my local Deaf community.

When I am not interpreting, I enjoy running along the cliffs and around our beautiful countryside, reading or kayaking with my family.

I look forward to meeting you.

Tips to help you work most effectively with a BSL/English Interpreter

1. Ensure the Deaf person can see both the Interpreter and the speaker clearly

usually by sitting them [the Deaf person] opposite. It would also be difficult to see a person signing, if for example they are sat in front of a window. The Interpreter and Deaf person will be able to advise you on the best seating arrangements.

2. Ensure you speak clearly and at a normal pace.

You might try to pause every few seconds in mid-sentence thinking this will ‘help the Interpreter’. However, this is not the case as Interpreters do not translate word for word. For example, they might listen to a speaker, process the meaning of what is being side and then convey the meaning into BSL.

3. Look at and speak directly to the Deaf person.

When talking to a Deaf person, don’t speak to the Interpreter to ask them to ‘tell him/her…’ It’s much better to look at and speak directly to the Deaf person.

4. Ensure you consider the Interpreter and Deaf person’s needs.

For example, both will need regular breaks as Interpreting is hard work and Interpreters will need time to switch off and recharge. Similarly, the Deaf person receiving content via an Interpreter can be very tiring for them, so will also need breaks.

5. Principles for medical/ optician/ dentist situations

*In medical/ optician/ dentist situations where examinations need to be carried out, it is likely that for reasons of dignity, practicality or space constraints, that the interpreter will not be able to interpret during the examination. In this situation please give full information to the Deaf person before the examination takes place, explaining what will happen. If the lights will be switched off please inform them as this cuts off all communication. Please refrain from talking throughout the examination as the interpreter is unlikely to have eye conatct with the Deaf person until afterwards.

6. Advice for reading material

You may decide to give out handouts and ask the Deaf person to read through. However, remember it’s not possible for them to listen and read the handouts simultaneously. Ensure that you stop speaking whilst you give time for the Deaf person to read through and understand. When they have finished reading, you can carry on speaking.

7. Preperation for the Interpreter

You may have booked an Interpreter for an event or a conference for example. Ensure your preparation such as PowerPoints or handouts are provided to the Interpreter before the event. This allows the Interpreter to read through and prepare themselves, feeling more confident and knowledgeable about the context. This means when they arrive at the event, they are ready to start interpreting. Also, ensure you give a copy of the preparation material to the Deaf person.

8. In a group situation, ensure that only one person speaks/signs at a time.

If everyone speaks over one another, it will be impossible to interpret all the information.

9. If you have any videos to show, ensure they have subtitles.
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10. You may ask the Interpreter for their personal opinions; however, they can’t be actively involved in the conversation.

In addition, please don’t ask them not to interpret something you have said.

11. Briefing the Interpreter

Sometimes Interpreters arrive and they have received no preparation beforehand. If you decide to have a brief before the event, ensure the Interpreter is involved so they can fully understand and be prepared for what is going to happen.