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Using an Interpreter

A BSL/English Interpreter is there to facilitate two-way communication; find out how to make best use of their skills.

Do you have a new member of staff whose first and preferred language is British Sign Language (BSL)? If so, are your staff nervous on how they will be able to communicate with their new colleague?

Have you and your workforce used a BSL Interpreter before or are you unsure of the process?

Are you a service provider and have clients that want to use your services and they need a BSL Interpreter?

The Equalities Act (2010) defines a service provider as: “A service provider is anyone who offers goods, facilities or services to the public (called ‘services’ for convenience). It doesn’t matter whether the services are free or paid for, or how big or small the organisation is (one person or a large company) or who runs it; for example, government, a voluntary organisation or commercial business”

Some examples of providers of goods, facilities and services to the public:

  • Banks, building societies and insurance companies
  • Health services, including hospitals, GPs, dentists and opticians
  • Courts, solicitors, and advice and information services
  • Local and central government services
  • Estate agents and private landlords
  • Accommodation agents, councils and housing associations
  • Property developers, management agencies and investment companies 
  • Cinemas, theatres, museums, art galleries and libraries 
  • Railway and bus stations, airports and seaports, and travel agents 
  • Sports centres, parks and other leisure facilities 
  • Private and voluntary sector providers of further and higher education 
  • Schools, colleges and universities when they provide services to the public – for example, parents’ evenings, fundraising activities and conference facilities

The Equality Act requires reasonable adjustments (changes) to be made and if reasonable adjustments are not made then it is treated as discrimination; an example of not making reasonable adjustments would be a hospital not providing communication support, such as a sign language interpreter, for a medical appointment.

The Act also says: “If the absence of auxiliary aids or services puts a user at a substantial disadvantage in accessing a service, the service provider has to provide them.” This includes under Communication Support the provision of a qualified sign language interpreter.

The Academy of BSL can provide you with a short workshop on how best to interact with an Interpreter and communicate with a BSL user.

As well as interactive scenarios between a Deaf BSL user, the BSL Interpreter and your hearing staff we will also provide some basic Deaf Awareness training on how to facilitate communication within the working environment.

If you would more information please contact us: