Q. Why do I need to book an interpreter?

A.  Deaf people whose first or preferred language is British Sign Language (BSL) use interpreters to ensure that they are able to fully access information in the same way as their hearing counterparts.  The Equality Act 2010, “puts legal responsibilities on employers, service providers, those who carry out public functions, private clubs, educational bodies, landlords and transport providers, among others” to “make reasonable adjustments” in order to comply with this law.

Please click here for a summary of The Equality Act 2010 as compiled by Action on Hearing Loss.

Q. Is Sign Language universal?

A.  No.  Nearly every country around the world has its own signed language. Even with the UK there are quite strong dialectal differences between different areas.

Q. What is the difference between an Interpreter and a Communicator?

A.  An interpreter has reached a level of skill, experience and formal training which identifies them as having met the ‘SignSafe‘ standards.  A Communicator will generally have some sign language training and may have experience of working with Deaf people, but they are not backed by the formal registration and insurance that Interpreters have and therefore should you seek to complain about the service provided, there is no formal system in place to do this.

Q. Will I offend someone if I say “Deaf”

A.  No, this is usually the correct term for someone who uses British Sign Language. It’s always best to ask the individual because they might prefer something else. However, ‘Deaf’ is not usually offensive.  Someone might prefer to use Hard of hearing, Hearing Impaired or Deafened.

Q. Can BSL interpreters work all day?

A.  Yes and no!  It depends on the intensity of the situation.  Even a simple meeting can be very demanding upon an interpreter due to many factors: number of participants, level of complexity, jargon and the length of the meeting can all take their toll upon the interpreter’s ability to work effectively.  After about an hour, an interpreter will need regular breaks.  In some situations (all day courses/meetings) two interpreters will need to be booked to share the work and to support each other throughout the assignment. Similarly, the Deaf person might need a break too as focussing on an interpreter and processing the information for a long time can be mentally tiring.

Q. Can interpreters be booked to work anywhere?

A.  Yes – we have compiled the following list to illustrate the breadth of places where we have previously worked:

  • Meetings
  • Housing
  • Social Services
  • Local Authorities
  • University lectures, open days and graduation ceremonies
  • College courses
  • School meetings / parents’ evenings / plays and assemblies
  • Banks and financial meetings
  • In the workplace during training or general support
  • Conferences
  • Police interviews
  • Court and legal settings
  • GP, Dental and Medical appointments
  • Hospital appointments (including in theatre!)
  • On top of a Scottish mountain in winter
  • On a football pitch
  • Theatres and performances
  • Job interviews
  • Weddings and funerals

If we are asked to work in an area where we feel a colleague may have a more appropriate area of skill, then we will direct you to the most appropriate interpreter.

Q. What happens if I need to cancel?

A. As with many things, we understand that sometimes things will change and cancellations do take place. A cancellation fee will only be applicable if the cancellation is received less than 15 days before the assignment is due to take place. Therefore, if you do need to cancel, please let us know as soon as possible to avoid unnecessary fees as they are structured on a graduating scale.    Please see our Cancellations Policy on the Information page for full details of this.

Q. What areas do you cover?

A.  Most of our interpreters usually travel far-and-wide on a weekly basis.  Although we all live in Dorset, we travel all over the south of England but would be prepared to go anywhere within the UK… or beyond! If we are unable to cover an assignment in your area we can recommend other RSLIs in neighbouring counties.

Q. What do I do if I have a complaint?

A. If you’re not happy with the service you received, please contact the interpreter directly in the first instance. If your complaint can not be resolved satisfactorily, you have the right to make a formal complaint to our registrations body, the NRCPD.  More information about this can be found in clause 15 of the Terms and Conditions.

Q. How much notice do you need?

A.  The more notice you can give us the more helpful it would be, especially if you are looking to book an interpreter for a full day or more. But, even at short notice, it is always worth checking to see if someone is available because we can recommend others if we are fully booked and many of our short bookings are received this way.  We always do our best to make sure we can offer the best coverage.

Q.  How much does it cost?

A.  A short booking will typically cost between £70-£80 depending on varying factors.  Travel (at 45p per mile) and parking is in addition to this.  For further information about costs, please have a look at the ‘Fee Structure’ page or feel free to ask us.

Q.  Why is there a minimum charge?

The job itself requires travelling to various locations which can take up a large amount of our day.  During these hours we are unable to be working and earning so to make a visit financially viable, we generally have to allow a 2-3 hour time frame per visit for local bookings.  Any hours in addition to this are charged at an hourly rate.

Q.  Any more questions?

Please feel free to ask!