The long road to becoming a RSLI starts with learning BSL and becoming fully proficient in that language. Students may start learning BSL whilst at university or on a part time course. As with any language it takes years to become competent and fluent. In BSL there are 6 levels to master; you can find out more about these levels and recommended centres of learning on the NRCPD website.
Depending on the student’s competency of both English and BSL, experience and background a student may join a BSL/English interpreting programme at BSL Level 6.
During the first module, the student may be able to register as a Trainee Sign Language Interpreter with NRCPD. They can then start interpreting in ‘safe’ settings.
The interpreting programme will test the student’s ability at working in a variety of ways. This includes, but is not limited to: writing essays on the theories of interpreting, understanding the various models of interpreting, filmed interpreting sessions, live testing of skills and attendance to class for a variety of practical and theory based work.
Once the programme is completed and the student is recognised to be at a level deemed ‘safe’ by various verifiers, they can apply to register as a RSLI.
With full dedication this whole process would take a minimum of 4 years to complete. On a part-time basis it could take as long as 6 years.