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A Career in British Sign Language Interpreting

June 06, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 138

The language of many Deaf people is British Sign Language (BSL). BSL is a language in its own right, which is a separate and distinct from English.

The language differs from English due to the grammatical structure; therefore English in a written form may not be understood by a person using BSL.

There are 70,000 BSL users in Britain currently, as indicated by the Department of Work and Pensions. Currently, there is a National Shortage of interpreters in the UK.

On the 18th March 2003, BSL was accepted officially as a language by the UK Government.

What do BSL Interpreters do?

A BSL interpreter helps facilitate communication between a person who uses BSL and person who uses a spoken language. They may also interpret from written English. Interpreting is a complex process that requires a good knowledge of both languages and cultures.

As English and BSL are languages with completely different sentence structures, therefore a BSL/English interpreter always need to wait until the sentence is finished, before starting to interpret into the other language.

Where do Interpreters Work?

Interpreters are required in a many types of situations, such as:

job interviews,

Meetings in the workplace,

legal situations,

educational classes and exams,

doctor's appointments,

hospital appointments,

council meetings,



Interpreters can either work as a self-employed interpreter or work through Interpreting Agencies found nationwide, such as a British sign language interpreter Diversus Interpreting.

BSL Interpreters are currently registered with CACDP (the Council for the Advancement of Communication with Deaf People).

Interpreters can be registered with directories such as CACDP, ASLI (Association of Sign Language Interpreters), and the on-line directory of RAD (Royal Association for Deaf people).

Currently, there is a national shortage of BSL Interpreters, which means that they are likely to be booked up well in advance and can always find work.


The Council for the Advancement of Communication with Deaf People (CACDP) is be body BSL Interpreters in England or Wales should be registered with. They can also be members of the Association of Sign Language Interpreters (ASLI).

A BSL Interpreter registered with is expected to to be competing or have passed a course recognised nationally.

The minimum standard in BSL for Interpreters is CACDP Stage 3/Level 3 NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) or equivalent.

The training enables the Interpreter to have achieved agreed standards in Interpreting and in British Sign Language.

British Sign Language courses run throughout the country in community colleges, local centres for deaf people, and private organisations. Teachers of BSL are usually native to the use of sign language and also have a relevant teaching qualification.

Expected Pay

Most Interpreting Agencies charge a booking fee, and most Interpreters have minimum call out rates, these vary depending on locality. However, a minimum call out charge is around £75.

For a BSL Interpreter in the UK the average salary is £34,200.

A BSL Interpreters salary tends to vary by age; figures suggest average pay is £25,650 for a worker in their 20s, £33,516 for a worker in their 30s, £39,672 for a worker in their 40s, and £39,672 for a worker in their 50s.

See here for more information on BSL interpreting or to hire a BSL interperter.

Source: EzineArticles
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