Diploma in Sign Language Interpreting

Diploma in Sign Language Interpreting (INT)

Upcoming courses:
Interpreting Diploma (2 year course): 2 October 2021 - 3 July 2022
Interpreting Diploma (2 year course): 8 October 2022 - 9 July 2023
Interpreting Diploma (2 year course): 23 September 2023 - 1 May 2025
Last Updated: 09-03-21

At a glance:

Level 6 (RQF)
2 years from Level 6
2 days/month
Leads to RSLI
London venue
£3,325 per year (inc. VAT and exam fees)

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Guide to BSL Courses
How to become a Sign Language Interpreter

Course content

The aim of this course is to give you the underpinning knowledge, understanding and skills to work as a professional sign language interpreter. You will achieve the Signature Level 6 Diploma in Sign Language Interpreting and Translation (RQF) qualification. This course leads to Registered Sign Language Interpreter (RSLI) status with the NRCPD.

This course is aimed at hearing people who have learned BSL as a second language. You must have completed the Level 6 Certificate in BSL qualification or our Interpreting Foundations course. You will complete Stream 1 of the qualification (spoken/signed interpreting) in BSL/English language combination.

We have developed this course based on our extensive experience in the interpreting, translation and training fields. The course is made up of 480 hours of guided and independent learning spread over 2 years.

This course will take you from little or no knowledge of sign language interpreting to Registered Sign Language Interpreter (RSLI) status.

You will be able to register as a Trainee Sign Language Interpreter (TSLI) in the second year of this course (subject to you also meeting all other requirements set out by the NRCPD).
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
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 development You 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 English 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 between English and BSL. This module will also introduce you to some of the main domains that interpreters work in.
The second year is made up of 96 hours of guided learning hours and 96 hours of structured independent study (total 192 hours). The guided learning sessions (including assessment time) are divided into 8x 12-hour sessions over a weekend once a month over 8 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
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.
Sight translationYou will learn about the situations when you might be required to produce sight translations of written and signed texts. You will consider the appropriateness and feasibility of the sight translation task. 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 a total of 17 assessments spread across the two years. 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
3Glossary Coursework - 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
1One-way consecutive BSL>English and critical analysisLive observation or filmed clip - internally assessed
2One-way consecutive English>BSL and critical analysisLive observation or filmed clip - internally assessed
3One-way simultaneous interpreting BSL>English and critical analysis Live observation or filmed clip - internally assessed
4One-way simultaneous interpreting English>BSL and critical analysisLive observation or filmed clip - internally assessed
5Two-way face-to-face interpreting and critical analysisLive observation or filmed clip - internally assessed
6Two-way remote interpreting and critical analysisLive observation or filmed clip - internally assessed
7One-way simultaneous interpreting BSL>EnglishFilmed clip - externally assessed
8One-way simultaneous interpreting English>BSLFilmed clip - externally assessed
9Two-way face-to-face interpretingFilmed clip - externally assessed
10Two-way remote interpretingFilmed clip - externally assessed
11Sight translation English>BSLFilmed clip - externally assessed
12Immediate translation BSL>EnglishWritten product - externally assessed

Entry Requirements

Native or near-native English
Level 6 qualification in BSL
Pass the interview and aptitude test
You must also have a good level of literacy to be able to read and understand the course materials.

Ideally, you will already be working or socialising with native signers on a regular basis.

Progression

After you have completed the Signature Level 6 Diploma in Sign Language Interpreting and Translation course, you can register with the NRCPD as a Registered Sign Language Interpreter and start working as a qualified sign language interpreter.

You will also be eligible for full membership of the Association of Sign Language Interpreters (MASLI) and Visual Language Professionals (MVLP).

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/English interpreter:

National Union of British Sign Language Interpreters (NUBSLI)

Association of Sign Language Interpreters (ASLI)

Visual Language Professionals (VLP)

Dates and times

2 October 2021 - 3 July 2022 (INT-2122)
Saturday 12:00-18:00 and Sunday 09:00-15:00 once a month
Year 1
2-3 October 2021
6-7 November 2021
4-5 December 2021
8-9 January 2022
5-6 February 2022
5-6 March 2022
2-3 April 2022
7-8 May 2022
4-5 June 2022
2-3 July 2022
Year 2
3-4 September 2022
1-2 October 2022
5-6 November 2022
3-4 December 2022
7-8 January 2023
4-5 February 2023
4-5 March 2023
1-2 April 2023
8 October 2022 - 9 July 2023 (INT-2223)
Saturday 12:00-18:00 and Sunday 09:00-15:00 once a month
Year 1
8-9 October 2022
12-13 November 2022
10-11 December 2022
14-15 January 2023
11-12 February 2023
11-12 March 2023
8-9 April 2023
13-14 May 2023
10-11 June 2023
8-9 July 2023
Year 2
9-10 September 2023
7-8 October 2023
11-12 November 2023
9-10 December 2023
13-14 January 2024
10-11 February 2024
9-10 March 2024
13-14 April 2024
23 September 2023 - 1 June 2025 (INT-2324)
Saturday 12:00-18:00 and Sunday 09:00-15:00 once a month
Year 1
23-24 September 2023
28-29 October 2023
25-26 November 2023
27-28 January 2024
24-25 February 2024
30-31 March 2024
27-28 April 2024
25-26 May 2024
29-30 June 2024
27-28 July 2024
Year 2
28-29 September 2024
26-27 October 2024
23-24 November 2024
25-26 January 2025
22-23 February 2025
29-30 March 2025
26-27 April 2025
31 May-1 June 2025

Fees

Year 1: £3,325 (inc. VAT and exam fees)
Year 2: £3,325 (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!

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