Deaf Interpreter Development Programme

Deaf Interpreter Development Programme

Upcoming courses:
10 September 2021 - 18 June 2023
16 September 2022 - 23 June 2024
8 September 2023 - 8 June 2025
Last Updated: 09-03-21

At a glance:

Level 6 (RQF)
Open to deaf people
2 years - 1 weekend per month
Leads to RSLI with NRCPD and NIC with RID
Includes BSL and ASL training
London venue
From £2,750 per year (inc. VAT and exam fees)

Downloads

Guide to BSL Courses
How to become a Sign Language Interpreter

Course content

The Deaf Interpreter Development Programme (DIDP) course is open to deaf native and first language BSL signers who would like to pursue a career as a qualified sign language interpreter or translator. You will achieve the Signature Level 6 Diploma in Sign Language Interpreting and Translation qualification. This course leads to Registered Sign Language Interpreter (RSLI) and/or Registered Sign Language Translator (RSLT) status with the NRCPD. This is currently the only course of its kind in the UK.

This course recognises the value and expertise that deaf native signers bring to the sign language interpreting and translation profession, and aims to encourage more deaf people to consider a career as a sign language interpreter or translator.

We have developed the DIDP course based on our extensive experience in the interpreting, translation and training fields. The course is made up of 180 hours of guided learning and 180 hours of independent learning spread over 2 years. This is an intensive programme and requires your full commitment.

This course will take you from little or no knowledge of sign language interpreting to Registered Sign Language Interpreter (RSLI) and/or Registered Sign Language Translator (RSLT) status. You must already hold a Level 6 BSL qualification or have completed our Interpreting Foundations course.

You will be able to register as a Trainee Sign Language Interpreter (TSLI) and/or Trainee Sign Language Translator (TSLT) in the first year of this course (subject to you also meeting all other requirements set out by the NRCPD).

You will have the option to study American Sign Language (ASL) alongside your BSL and interpreting training. Students who complete the ASL training will be eligible to sit the RID National Interpreter Certification (NIC) exam to register as an ASL interpreter in the USA, as well as with the NRCPD as a RSLI/RSLT with BSL/English/ASL as core languages.
Year 1
Year 2
The first year is made up of 120 hours of guided learning hours and 120 hours of structured independent study (total 240 hours). The guided learning sessions are divided into 10x 12-hour sessions over a weekend once a month over 10 months. This is followed by an additional 12 hours of structured independent study per month, which is completed through our e-learning platform.

In the first year, you will develop your knowledge, understanding and skills in the following areas:
ModuleTopics covered
Beginners American Sign Language

You will start learning American Sign Language alongside your training as a BSL interpreter, working towards pre-intermediate level (A2). Topics include:

  • ASL manual alphabet
  • Meeting people, numbers, time
  • Weather, transport, directions
  • Healthy living
  • Family, clothes
  • Countries
  • Colours
  • Feelings and behaviours
  • School, work and jobs
  • Home life
  • Social and recreational activities
  • Education
  • Employment
Theories and principles in interpreting and translation studiesYou will be introduced to a wide variety of key theoretical frameworks in interpreting and translation studies, such as functionalist theories, ethical models and the role of the interpreter and translator. It will introduce you to some of the current principles and issues in the public service interpreting and translation professions, with a focus on signed language interpreting and translation, and will encourage you to think critically about your own practice by applying a range of theoretical frameworks. You will also discuss ethical dilemmas that may arise during interpreting assignments.
Maintain skills and systems for interpreting tasksYou will understand the importance of maintaining interpreting and language skills as a professional interpreter and you will critically evaluate a range of systems to help you maintain your professional skills. As most sign language interpreters and translators are self-employed/freelance, you will learn about the requirements and demands of working as a freelance interpreter/translator, including practical business administration skills, the importance of maintaining good relationships with clients and how to find and charge appropriately for interpreting work.
Prepare for interpreting assignmentsYou will learn about the importance of preparing for interpreting assignments, applying key theories in interpreting and translation studies to plan and prepare appropriately for assignments. You will be able to assess your own ability to undertake, and accept, interpreting assignments, as well as plan and prepare for assignments as part of a team of interpreters. You will learn about the importance of maintaining a glossary for domains you regularly work in. You will critically evaluate and apply a range of preparation strategies and you will produce evidence of preparing for 4 assignments.
Plan and implement continuous professional developmentYou will work with your professional supervisor to plan your development points over the course of your studies. You will create, maintain and update a Professional Development Plan throughout your studies. Your plan will be informed by trends, developments and good practice in the sign language interpreting/translation profession as well as your own evaluation of your gaps in knowledge, skills and competence. You will have regular meetings with your supervisor to review your PDP (required to maintain your TSLI registration).
Consecutive and simultaneous interpretingThis is a practical module where you will practise interpreting between BSL and Modified BSL and between ASL and BSL. You will be encouraged to critically analyse your own interpreting by applying relevant theories in interpreting and translation studies. You will be introduced to consecutive and simultaneous interpreting and you will be taught interpreting techniques, including note-taking skills. You will practice both one-way and two-way interpreting, working with English, BSL and ASL. This module will also introduce you to some of the main domains that interpreters work in.
Introduction to translationThis is a practical module where you will practise translating between English and BSL. You will be encouraged to critically analyse your own translating by applying relevant theories in interpreting and translation studies. You will be introduced to text translation, sight and immediate translation, in-vision translation and subtitling.
The second year is made up of 120 hours of guided learning hours and 120 hours of structured independent study (total 240 hours). The guided learning sessions (including assessment time) are divided into 10 x 12 hour sessions over a weekend once a month over 10 months. This is followed by an additional 12 hours of structured independent study per month, which is completed through our e-learning platform.

In the second year, you will develop your knowledge, understanding and skills in the following areas:
ModuleTopics covered
Intermediate American Sign Language

You will continue to develop your ASL skills towards intermediate level (B2). Topics include:

  • Consumer issues and daily living
  • Deaf history and culture
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Society and politics
  • Science and technology
  • Media and culture
  • Employment and business
  • Education
Professional interpretingThis module will focus on the practical skills required for one-way and two-way consecutive and simultaneous interpreting. It will introduce you to the cognitive processes and stages of the interpreting process as well as key skills used in the field, including note taking. You are expected to practise regularly by working as a trainee interpreter and you will also receive regular formative feedback throughout the course. You will continue to have regular supervision meetings with your supervisor
Work as part of a team of professional interpretersThis module will give you the knowledge and skills to work effectively as part of a team of interpreters. It will equip you with a range of co-working techniques, such as feeding, checking and monitoring skills, as well as strategies to work with other professionals (i.e. relay interpreters and English>BSL translators). You will consider a wide range of co-working techniques in various situations and domains, using key principles and ethical models to justify your decisions.
Remote interpretingYou will learn about the emerging field of Video Relay Interpreting (VRI) and engage critically with current debates about VRI in the sign language interpreting field. You will learn how to prepare and perform VRI assignments, including how to set up, check and monitor equipment effectively and how to manage the specific demands relating to this mode of delivery. You will also be introduced to subtitling and audiovisual translation.
Professional translationYou will carry out translations of written English texts to a professional standard, such as text translation, in-vision translation, sight translation and subtitling. You will be able to apply a wide range of interpreting and translation theories and principles to justify your translation approach and ethical decisions. 
Evaluate performance as a professional interpreterYou will use a wide range of theoretical frameworks, ethical frameworks and key principles in interpreting and translation studies to critically evaluate your own interpreting performance. You will be able to justify and analyse the interpreting approach, as well as evaluate the consequences of ethical decisions made. You will also have the opportunity to engage in group reflective practice sessions. You are required to produce a critical analysis of your interpreting performance for all of the 6x internal assessments.

Assessments

There are total of 17 assessments for this qualification over the total 2-year duration. There are 5 assessments in year 1 and 12 assessments in year 2. All assessments in year 1 involve written coursework. In year 2, there are a total of 6x internal assessments of one-way and two-way interpreting, 4x external assessments of one-way and two-way interpreting and 2x sight translations (externally assessed). This means students are required to produce 6x evidence of real interpreting assignments in the community (some of these assessments will be conducted in the classroom).
Year 1 Assessments
Year 2 Assessments
No.AssessmentMethod
13,000 word essay (including in-text citations)Written essay - externally assessed
2Business plan (detailing systems and processes in place to do business)Coursework - internally assessed
3GlossaryCoursework - internally assessed
44x evidence of preparing for interpreting assignments, including evidence of preparing for co-working assignments, 1-way interpreting, 2-way interpreting and sight translation.Coursework - internally assessed
5Professional Development Plan and reflective journalsCoursework - internally assessed
No.AssessmentMethod
1
  1. One-way consecutive ASL>BSL and critical analysis
  2. One-way consecutive BSL(M)>BSL and critical analysis
  3. Text translation English>BSL and critical analysis
Live observation or filmed clip - internally assessed
2
  1. One-way consecutive BSL>ASL and critical analysis
  2. One-way simultaneous BSL>BSL(M) and critical analysis
  3. In-vision translation English>BSL and critical analysis
Live observation or filmed clip - internally assessed
3
  1. One-way simultaneous ASL>BSL and critical analysis
  2. Two-way face-to-face consecutive interpreting and critical analysis
  3. Extended text translation English>BSL and critical analysis
Live observation or filmed clip - internally assessed
4
  1. One-way simultaneous BSL>ASL and critical analysis
  2. Two-way face-to-face consecutive interpreting working in a team and critical analysis
  3. Subtitling BSL>English and critical analysis
Live observation or filmed clip - internally assessed
5
  1. Two-way face-to-face interpreting (BSL/ASL) and critical analysis
  2. Two-way face-to-face consecutive interpreting (BSL/BSL) and critical analysis
  3. Live consecutive interpreting English>BSL and critical analysis
Live observation or filmed clip - internally assessed
6
  1. Two-way remote interpreting (BSL/ASL) and critical analysis
  2. Two-way remote interpreting (BSL/BSL) and critical analysis
  3. Live simultaneous interpreting English>BSL and critical analysis
Live observation or filmed clip - internally assessed
7
  1. One-way consecutive ASL>BSL
  2. One-way consecutive BSL(M)>BSL
  3. Live simultaneous interpreting English>BSL
Filmed clip - externally assessed
8
  1. One-way consecutive BSL>ASL
  2. Two-way face-to-face interpreting (BSL/BSL)
  3. Live simultaneous interpreting English>BSL
Filmed clip - externally assessed
9
  1. Two-way face-to-face interpreting (BSL/ASL)
  2. Two-way face-to-face interpreting (BSL/BSL)
  3. Text translation English>BSL
Filmed clip - externally assessed
10
  1. Two-way remote interpreting (BSL/ASL)
  2. Two-way remote interpreting (BSL/BSL)
  3. Text translation English>BSL
Filmed clip - externally assessed
11Sight translation English>BSLFilmed clip - externally assessed
12Immediate translation BSL>EnglishWritten product - externally assessed

Entry Requirements

Deaf native or first language BSL signer
Level 6 qualification in BSL
Pass the interview and aptitude test
Good level of English (e.g. GCSE grade C, CEFR B2)
You must have a good level of literacy to be able to read and understand the course materials. Your English skills will be tested at the interview.

Ideally, you will have a network of contacts to help you to collect evidence of your interpreting work for your portfolio.

Language Combinations

This qualification is available in the following language combinations:
British Sign Language (BSL)
English
American Sign Language (ASL)
Irish Sign Language (ISL)
French Sign Language (LSF)

Progression

There is a growing demand for signed/signed interpreters, relay interpreters and sign language translators.

Interpreters working between two signed languages (e.g. BSL/ASL) can find work in international conference settings (e.g. EU and UN institutions, international deaf organisations), as well as community settings (e.g. deaf community events and conferences, working with foreign deaf nationals in the public services, working with deaf professionals abroad etc.).

In particular, there is a growing demand for sign language interpreters at international conferences. WFD and WASLI have an accreditation process for international sign interpreters, and qualified interpreters with two signed languages are highly sought after.

Relay interpreters often work in public service settings, e.g. police, court, mental health, child protection, DWP assessments. They often work alongside a BSL/English interpreter. The demand for relay interpreters in the public services is rapidly growing.

Sign language translators often find work in the TV and media industry, e.g. in-vision translator of TV programmes. Many sign language translators are approached by deaf and hearing organisations and public bodies (e.g. NHS) to translate written English communication materials into BSL, e.g. for social media and websites. There is a growing demand for BSL translators as organisations seek to make their content and communications accessible to the BSL community.

You will achieve the Signature Level 6 Diploma in Sign Language Interpreting and Translation qualification, which allow you to apply for Registered Sign Language Interpreter (RSLI) with the NRCPD and start working as a qualified sign language interpreter.

Careers

Many qualified BSL/English interpreters are freelance sole-traders. There are several interpreting agencies that offer work to qualified BSL/English interpreters. These include some big multinational agencies that offer interpreting services in several languages and some smaller specialist agencies that deal mainly with BSL/English interpreting services.

NUBSLI publish guidance on rates for freelance interpreters, which vary depending on the region of the country. On average, a newly qualified interpreter can expect a starting salary of £30,000 per annum. This can go up to as much as £50,000 per annum for experienced freelance interpreters.

For more information about starting out as a professional BSL interpreter:

National Union of British Sign Language Interpreters (NUBSLI)

Association of Sign Language Interpreters (ASLI)

Visual Language Professionals (VLP)

Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI)

Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIoL)

International Association of Conference Interpreters

European Commission

United Nations

Dates and times

10 September 2021 - 18 June 2023 (DIDP-2122)
Friday 13:00-20:00, Saturday 10:00-17:00 and Sunday 09:00-16:00 once a month
Year 1
10-12 September 2021
8-10 October 2021
12-14 November 2021
10-12 December 2021
14-16 January 2022
11-13 February 2022
11-13 March 2022
8-10 April 2022
13-15 May 2022
10-12 June 2022
Year 2
23-25 September 2022
21-23 October 2022
18-20 November 2022
16-18 December 2022
20-21 January 2023
17-19 February 2023
17-19 March 2023
21-23 April 2023
19-20 May 2023
16-18 June 2023
16 September 2022 - 23 June 2024 (DIDP-2223)
Friday 13:00-20:00, Saturday 10:00-17:00 and Sunday 09:00-16:00 once a month
Year 1
16-18 September 2022
14-16 October 2022
11-13 November 2022
27-29 January 2023
24-26 February 2023
24-26 March 2023
28-30 April 2023
26-28 May 2023
23-25 June 2023
21-23 July 2023
Year 2
15-17 September 2023
20-22 October 2023
17-19 November 2023
15-17 December 2023
19-21 January 2024
16-18 February 2024
15-17 March 2024
19-21 April 2024
17-19 May 2024
21-23 June 2024
8 September 2023 - 8 June 2025 (DIDP-2324)
Friday 13:00-20:00, Saturday 10:00-17:00 and Sunday 09:00-16:00 once a month
Year 1
8-10 September 2023
6-8 October 2023
10-12 November 2023
8-10 December 2023
12-14 January 2024
9-11 February 2024
8-10 March 2024
12-14 April 2024
10-12 May 2024
6-8 June 2024
Year 2
6-8 September 2024
11-13 October 2024
8-10 November 2024
6-8 December 2024
19-12 January 2025
7-9 February 2025
7-9 March 2025
11-13 April 2025
9-11 May 2025
6-8 June 2025

Fees

For RSLI pathway only: £2,750 per year (inc. VAT and exam fees)
For RSLI and RSLT combined pathway: £3,325 per year (inc. VAT and exam fees)

Monthly: £332.50 per month x 10 months

£332.50 deposit required to reserve your place (this will be subtracted from the total cost)

Fees include awarding body assessment fees and access to Moodle. Monthly Direct Debit payment plan comes as standard. Our fees are always all-inclusive so there are never any unexpected costs!
BSL First LTD | Company number: 12860304 | VAT number: 379905441
Designed & Development by Ridge Digital
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram