Interpreting Foundations

Interpreting Foundations

Upcoming courses:
One weekend a month, 4 September 2021 - 5 June 2022
One weekend a month, 10 September 2022 - 11 June 2023
Last Updated: 29-03-21

At a glance:

Level 6 (RQF)
Leads to TSLI/TSLT
Open to deaf and hearing people
1 weekend per month
Includes BSL and interpreting training
London venue
£2,500 per year (inc. VAT and exam fees)


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 Certificate in British Sign Language (RQF) qualification. 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.

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 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 first year, you will develop your knowledge, understanding and skills in the following areas:
ModuleTopics covered
Advanced British Sign LanguageYou will develop your skills in British Sign Language from level 3 (B1) towards advanced level (C2). You will develop your productive and receptive skills, vocabulary and grammar. You will also study the history of BSL and deaf culture as well as contemporary issues in the British deaf community. The assessment for this module takes the form of 3x live observed BSL discussions, 1 externally marked presentation, 1 externally marked discussion and 1 receptive exam. You will achieve the Level 6 Certificate in BSL qualification upon completion of this module. Topics include: medicine, politics and the law, employment and finance, education, science and technology and media and society.
Theoretical principles in interpreting and translationThis module will introduce students to some of the key theoretical frameworks in interpreting and translation studies, including functionalist theories, ethical models and the role of the interpreter. It will introduce students to some of the current principles and issues in the public service interpreting profession, with a focus on signed language interpreting.
Introduction to interpretingYou will be introduced to the main interpreting theories in spoken and signed language interpreting. You will also study the history of the sign language interpreting profession. You will be introduced to consecutive 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, including health, employment, education and community.


1Informal one-to-one discussion in BSL (15 minutes)Internal
2Informal group debate in BSL (15 minutes)Internal
3Formal group meeting in BSL (15 minutes)Internal
4Formal discussion in BSL (15 minutes)External
5Formal presentation in BSL (15 minutes)External
6BSL receptive skills exam (1 hour 30 minutes)External

Entry Requirements

Level 3 qualification in BSL (or be able to demonstrate BSL skills at level 3/4)
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.


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 (VLP)

Dates and times

4 September 2021 - 5 June 2022 (INTF-2122)
Saturday 12:00-18:00 and Sunday 09:00-15:00 once a month
4-5 September 2021
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
10 September 2022 - 11 June 2023 (INTF-2223)
Saturday 12:00-18:00 and Sunday 09:00-15:00 once a month
10-11 September 2022
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
23 September 2023 - 28 July 2024 (INTF-2324)
Saturday 12:00-18:00 and Sunday 09:00-15:00 once a month
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


£2,500 (inc. VAT and exam fees)

Monthly: £250 per month x 10 months

£250 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