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 Certificate in British Sign Language (RQF) qualification and be eligible to register as a Trainee Sign Language Interpreter. You will be able to progress directly on to the Signature Level 6 Diploma in Sign Language Interpreting and Translation (RQF) course upon completion.
This course is aimed at deaf and hearing people who would like to start training as a professional sign language interpreter or translator. You must have completed the Level 3 Certificate in BSL qualification before starting this course (or have equivalent BSL skills).
We have developed this course based on our extensive experience in the interpreting, translation and training fields. The course is made up of 240 hours of guided and independent learning spread over 1 year.
You may be able to register as a Trainee Sign Language Interpreter (TSLI) or Trainee Sign Language Translator (TSLT) at the end of this course (subject to you also meeting all other requirements set out by the NRCPD).
The course 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 delivered in 3-hour weekly evening sessions over 40 weeks. This is followed by an additional 3 hours of structured independent study per week, which is completed through Moodle.
In this course, you will develop your knowledge, understanding and skills in the following areas:
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.
After you have completed the Interpreting Foundations course, you can progress directly on to either the Diploma in Sign Language Interpreting
or the Deaf Interpreter Development Programme
, which both lead to Registered Sign Language Interpreter (RSLI).
You will also be eligible for associate membership of the Association of Sign Language Interpreters (MASLI).
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