What is your deaf family background?
Both of my parents are deaf as well as my extended family. I grew up using BSL at home everyday as my first language.
What BSL training and qualifications did you have before you joined the IDPHS course, if any?
I had already done my Level 6 BSL before joining the course.
Why did you choose the IDPHS pathway over the traditional route to becoming an interpreter?
Although I'd already done my Level 6 BSL, I had seen what was offered on the course was a unique learning experience, and one that I knew I wouldn't be able to get again.
What do you feel were the benefits of the IDPHS course?
Every single class was brilliant, the teaching was varied and interesting and the knowledge that they have is incredible. We were learning from people with a huge range of lived experiences, both deaf and hearing, who had endless stories! It was really good to be exposed to the huge range of BSL within the formal teaching we received. The resources that Akbar provided were excellent, and we had opportunities to meet other interpreters/translators via webinars or for teaching sessions.
What was learning with other heritage signers like?
We instantly became a tight-knit group from our first class, I feel sad as I type this knowing I won't be seeing them again this month! We were afforded a space to discuss everything that comes with being an interpreter and everything that led us to this point, with a teaching environment that allowed us to make the best use of the time and people we had throughout the course to have conversations about the big and the small. It was also amazing as we had students from all over the country with different deaf parented backgrounds, which meant all of our natural signing styles were so different.
What’s next for you in your interpreting career?
I'm going to focus on getting my deafblind training qualifications! I want to specialise in this area as I feel really passionate that more attention is needed in deafblind interpreting and work.
What advice would you give to other heritage signers thinking about becoming a BSL interpreter?
This is an opportunity to change your life! Go for it!