General info

What is an interpreter?

A British Sign Language/English interpreter is a trained bilingual who can move quickly and efficiently between spoken English and British Sign Language (BSL), interpreting the spoken language into sign, and the signed language into speech. This is done simultaneously which means that participants do not need to pause to allow the interpreting to take place – we will put your words into BSL as you are speaking, with just a small time lag.

Interpreter or translator..?

There is a big difference between a sign language interpreter and a spoken language translator.  This is because there is not a literal translation from the spoken language to a signed language, therefore we take the information and turn it into an interpretation of the detailed content, intent, tone and meaning of the speaker’s words.

We are often referred to as signers, communicators and translators but the correct title is interpreter, or in full parlance – Registered Sign Language Interpreter (RSLI).

What about written documents?

Written English can also be a challenge for people whose first language is not English and therefore we are also trained to offer Sight Translations of documents that contain information that the deaf client needs to know about, for example Consent Forms and other legal documents.

Why is a co-worker sometimes needed?

The process of simultaneous interpreting is very intense and without adequate breaks in this process, an interpreter would suffer fatigue which would have an impact of the quality of the interpreting process.  For this reason alongside health and safety recommendations, some assignments (for example lengthy presentations or training sessions) require a second interpreter to co-work to ensure accurate coverage of information at all times.

MASLI refers to a full Member of the Association of Sign Language Interpreters.  ASLI

MVLP refers to a Member of Visual Language Professionals.  VLP