What do the registration levels mean?
RSLI – Registered Sign Language Interpreter
TSLI – Trainee Sign Language Interpreter
What do the different coloured badges mean?
Yellow – RSLI
Blue - TSLI
Why do I need to book a registered interpreter?
You may need to communicate with a person who uses sign language, or you may be a person who uses sign language and need to communicate with someone who doesn’t sign. Sign Language Interpreters are trained to high level not only in Sign Language, but also in how to interpret between languages. Simply knowing both languages is not sufficient to interpret, and additional extensive training is needed. Registered SLIs are regulated by the registering body (NRCPD), have met minimum standards in both Sign Language and Interpreter training, follow a Code of Conduct, have Professional Indemnity Insurance and have a current CRB Enhanced certificate. If you are not happy with any element of their service a complaint can be made to the NRCPD. under the Equalities Act. Reasonable adjustments are required to be made by service providers and employers, and for Deaf people who use Sign Language, a BSL interpreter would be considered a reasonable adjustment.
Is sign language universal?
No, sign language is not universal. Sign Languages around the world have developed and evolved over thousands of years, just like spoken languages have. The language roots and history can be tracked back in time just the same as spoken languages.
Is British Sign Language the same as Makaton?
No, BSL is not the same as Makaton. Makaton is a’man made’ communication tool that has borrowed some signs from BSL which have then been changed and manipulated to simplify them. Makaton is mainly used with hearing children and adults with a learning disability to aid their communication and support spoken language. Makaton has a limited amount of signs within its vocabulary, whereas BSL has an infinite number of signs that evolve and develop over time as the language is used.
What are the responsibilities of a working interpreter?
An interpreter has a responsibility to ensure that communication occurs between all parties. They do not just interpret from one language to another, but take into consideration power imbalances, cultural differences, assumed knowledge and shared experiences. An interpreter does not become involved in the interaction and should not express or share their opinions – unless communication is breaking down and they are trying to offer professional suggestions on how to repair the breakdown.
My Deaf client lip reads very well. Isn't that enough?
Lip reading is very tiring and extremely difficult. Whilst a person may be able to lip read you for a short time in non stressful situations on a one to one basis, lip reading may become impossible when not in these situations. If a deaf person has requested that you book an interpreter, it is probably because they are finding lip reading difficult and recognise they need an interpreter. Lip reading is also very much a guessing game as only 30 – 40% of words in the English language are distinguishable by lipreading. This means that up to 70% of what you are saying to the deaf person is not actually lip reading – but is guessing' based on the 30% they are lip reading.
Lip reading is a very tiring way of receiving information in a one to one situation (eg: appraisals or interviews), even with a person that is aware of clear communication tactics. Many people can speak up to 200 words per minute (http://www.lipspeaking.co.uk/fact_lipspeaking.htm). In small or large groups (eg: team meetings or training courses), it is impossible to follow what is happening by lipreading alone.
Although the deaf person may seem to lip read very well, on what basis are you making this decision? Just because they may have hearing aids, this may not help them with reception of what is being spoken, depending on their level of deafness.
How much will the interpreter cost?
This website is a portal to a variety of Kent-based freelance NRCPD registered Sign Language Interpreters who operate independently of each other. It is therefore not possible to list the fees that each interpreter charges. As a guide, the fee will depend upon the level of registration and skill of the NRCPD registered Sign Language Interpreter, the number of hours involved, location and certain other factors.
When you submit an enquiry via this website seeking interpreters for your event, those interpreters available will reply to your enquiry, and include details of their fees once they have sufficient details of your event to make a considered decision.
Who will pay for the interpreter?
It depends upon the situation. In some circumstances, ‘Access to Work ’ (ATW) funding may be available through the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). In other circumstances, funding may be available if the deaf person has a ‘Disabled Students Allowance’ whilst pursuing Higher Education. In medical settings, it may be that the Primary Care Trust etc has a contract with an agency, although there may be conditions attached if using this option.
Ultimately, failing the above options, under The Equality Act (2010), providers of goods and services must make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to ensure they are fully accessible, including providing an interpreter.
What's the correct term for someone who can't hear?
Bert, Mark, Sheila, Mrs Smith or whatever name they prefer to be called by. This may sound flippant, but it is important not to forget that they are a person first. There are a variety of generally accepted terms which include:
deaf (or Deaf): generally taken to mean people who are deaf from birth or from a very early age. These people often use British Sign Language as their first/preferred language, but this is not a hard and fast rule for a variety of reasons. These people may use hearing aids, but these aids will not assist with general communication.
deafened: this would usually mean those people who were born hearing and then lost their hearing during childhood or later life. They may often have used English before losing their hearing and may use British Sign Language (BSL) or Sign Supported English (SSE) as their first/preferred language. They may or may not use their own voice. These people might use hearing aids which may help with general communication but, equally, they may not find hearing aids of benefit.
hard of hearing: these people were born hearing, but their hearing has declined a little over time (eg: through old age). These people will use English or Sign Supported English (SSE) as their preferred language and will use their own voice. These people will often use their hearing aids to assist them with communication and may not need an NRCPD registered Sign Language Interpreter. Instead, they may prefer to use another type of Communciation Professional such as a Lipspeaker, Notetaker or Speech to Text Reporter.
There are a variety of terms which are no longer acceptable and should not be used, even in light-hearted moments. Such an example is ‘deaf and dumb’ which is generally seen by most deaf people as an offensive term.
Will the interpreter tell my friend?
All NRCPD registered Sign Language Interpreters are committed to uphold the NRCPD’s Code of Conduct and supporting Guidelines. The first item on the NRCPD Code of Conduct is ‘Confidentiality’. This means that the NRCPD registered Sign Language Interpreter will not disclose details of the venue, parties involved or what was discussed at the assignment, so you can be rest assured that everything about the assignment will remain confidential.
The only exceptions to this would be:
if the assignment is in the public domain (such as interpreting a gallery tour)
if it is necessary to protect an individual or the community at large
if failure to do so would result in prosecution or if required to do so in law
for professional development purposes, and with the agreement of parties involved whilst respecting their confidentiality
What if something goes wrong?
If you book a Sign Language Interpreter who is not registered with NRCPD, you usually have very little option to pursue matters further.
By only booking NRCPD registered Sign Language Interpreters, you can have great confidence in their professional and linguistic behaviour. However, in the unfortunate event that any party (deaf or hearing) has cause to complain about the Sign Language Interpreter(s), there is a published ‘Complaints Procedure for Communication Professionals’ from the NRCPD