Interpreting and Translation Services

Face-to-Face interpreters
Remote Interpreters
BSL Video Translations

Welcome to BSL First

We are an independent specialist provider of sign language interpreting, translation and training services. We have extensive experience in the sign language interpreting and translation field. We train many of our interpreters ourselves. We are focused on delivering high quality interpreting and translation services, so if you are looking for a specialist, tailor-made service, get in touch!
Akbar Interpreting

BSL Interpreting Services

Make your meeting or event accessible to deaf BSL users
Face-to-face interpreters
Remote interpreters
NRCPD Registered (RSLI or TSLI)
DBS checked
Specialist skills and expertise
Access to Work bookings
DSA NMH Provider

BSL Translation Services

Make your content accessible to deaf BSL users
English-to-BSL and BSL-to-English translations
Deaf native BSL translators
NRCPD Registered (RSLT or TSLT)
Specialist skills and expertise
Documents, websites, pre-recorded videos
Filming, editing, subtitling and formatting
End-to-end project management

Explore our interpreting and translation services

BSL interpreting

Make your event accessible by booking a BSL/English interpreter. We offer face-to-face and remote interpreting services. All our interpreters are registered with NRCPD and specialise in a wide range of areas.

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BSL Translation

Make your content accessible with BSL translations. We specialise in a wide range of areas and can translate documents, websites, pre-recorded videos and more. All our translators are registered with NRCPD.

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“I’ve worked with Akbar for 3 years and he has consistently provided me with high quality interpreting. Akbar is a professional and presents himself really well. He is one of the best interpreters in my books.”

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I know what kind of service I need?
Most of the time, the deaf service user will contact you to request a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter for your event. This is the most common type of service re-quested. If another service is required, the service user will normally advise you.

When you contact us, we will ask you lots of details about the booking. This is in order for us to be able to advise you about which service is the most appropriate for your needs.

If you would like to have video, written or audio content translated into BSL then you should request a BSL translation service.

2. How do I book a BSL interpreter?
Please contact us at [email protected] or fill in our booking form online. Please give as much information about the event, including:

  •  Date and times
  •  Location (face-to-face or remote)
  •  Number of participants in total
  •  Number of users of the service requested (e.g. deaf BSL users)
  •  Details about the nature of the event (e.g. conference, meeting etc.)
  •  The topic/subject content of the event

3. What kind of information do I need to provide when I have booked an interpreter?
Any preparation materials in advance of the event are extremely helpful. Professional interpreters rely on this preparation material to make sure they can familiarise themselves with the subject content and to make sure that they can deliver the best possible service for you. Without any preparation, it makes the interpreter’s job much more difficult and will ultimately affect the quality of service you will receive.

Useful preparation materials include:

  •  Agenda or running order
  •  Scripts or notes of speeches
  •  Abstracts of presentations
  •  PowerPoint slides
  •  Videos/podcasts that will be presented
  •  Names of speakers and participants
  •  Notes or minutes from previous meetings
  •  Any particular dress code

If this is an Islamic booking, it is extremely important that you send us the scripts and presentation notes in advance so that we can prepare an appropriate translation of the Arabic into BSL.

4. How much do your services cost?
Our fees are in line with NUBSLI rates. Your quote will depend on the type of service you require and so each quote is bespoke according to the needs of the client. We will ask you lots of questions when you make an enquiry to produce an accurate quotation for the work.
5. My event will be filmed or live streamed - do I need to inform the interpreters?
Yes, please! Interpreters take great pride in their work and need to prepare if they are going to be filmed or live streamed. Some interpreters may refuse to take the booking if they will be recorded or live streamed. The fee may also change to reflect the additional pressure on the interpreter of being live streamed or recorded.
6. Can I record the interpretation?
We do not allow recordings of the interpreters or interpretations for any purpose. You must ask the permission of individual interpreters before recording their work.

If you would like to record the interpreter because you would like to have a BSL translation of your website or conference proceedings, then you should book a qualified BSL translator (RSLT). This will ensure a high quality translation.
7. I am not expecting any deaf people to attend but can I book an interpreter an-yway?
It is always good to have interpreters available so that your event is accessible to deaf BSL users. However, as interpreting requires talking to someone (i.e. a target audience), the interpreter(s) will not interpret the event if there is no target audience.

If there are no deaf BSL users requiring the interpreting service, the interpreters will wait on stand by in case someone arrives.
8. How many interpreters do I need?
Events over 1 hour in duration, conferences or technical meetings/training events will usually require 2 interpreters.

The interpreters will work together, supporting each other to ensure accuracy in the translation process. The interpreters will take 15 to 20 minutes shifts of active interpreting, while the other interpreter supports and monitors.

We will advise you how many interpreters you will need when you contact us with a booking request
9. Where will the interpreters be positioned during the event?
The interpreters will work flexibly to ensure that everyone’s needs are met. It is important that the interpreter is directly facing the deaf BSL service user. In a meeting, this may be the opposite side of the table. For a conference or training event, it may be next to the presenter/speaker/trainer.

It is important to meet with the interpreter before the event starts to discuss arrangements for best positioning.
10. Will the interpreters be intrusive or interrupt the speakers?
The interpreter will try to be as least intrusive as possible – it is important to discuss positioning arrangements with the interpreter before the event.

The translation process is very difficult and requires immense concentration. The interpreter may therefore stop the speaker to clarify points, or to ask for repetition if they cannot hear the words clearly.

If the interpreter is working on stage, the interpreter may need in-ear headsets or an additional speaker set up so that they can clearly hear the speaker.

11. How can I give feedback about the interpreters?
Feedback about the quality of the interpretation and the professionalism of the service provided is highly valued and sought after. If you would like to offer any feedback about the interpreters after the event, please drop us an email.

If you are unhappy with the service provided, please contact us in the first instance. All our interpreters are registered with the NRCPD, so if you would like to make a formal complaint about an interpreter’s conduct or quality of work, please contact the NRCPD:

12. How can I arrange payment for interpreting services?
We will send you an invoice after the event with the agreed fee and payment details. Payment by bank transfer in GBP is preferred. We also have a Euro and US dollar account for international transactions.
13. What if I need to cancel?
Our cancellation terms are in line with NUBSLI recommendations:

0-7 days notice: 100% cancellation fee
8-14 days notice: 50% cancellation fee
15+ days notice: no fee

Please also refer to our terms and conditions for interpreting.
14. How do I book an interpreter remotely?
You can book a remote interpreter in the same was as booking a face-to-face interpreter, please email [email protected] or complete the online booking form, indicating that the booking is remote.

We can work with clients from across the UK remotely.
15. What is the best platform to use for remote interpreting services?
We recommend Zoom as the most accessible video conferencing platform. Zoom has features that allows the deaf BSL service users to multi-pin the interpreters and speakers, as well as the ability to ‘split screen’ when screen sharing.

We do not recommend MS Teams or Google Meet for accessibility.

Another option is to have two separate platforms open. For example, if your main meeting is through MS Teams, a separate Zoom platform can be open between the interpreter and the deaf BSL service user.
16. What information do I need to provide for BSL translation work?
BSL translation work is bespoke according to the needs of the projects of individual clients. When requesting a quote for BSL translation work, please provide the following information:

  •  Topic/subject content
  •  Type of media (e.g. print, website, video, audio)
  •  If video or audio, are subtitles or a transcript available?
  •  Length of text (number of words or minutes)
  •  Expected completion date
  •  Editing requirements (e.g. in-vision, subtitling or none)
  •  Preference of presenter (e.g. male, female, ethnicity)

17. What materials do I need to provide for BSL translation work?
In order to go ahead with translation work, we will require the following materials from you:

  •  Media file (document, website, video, audio)
  •  Subtitle or transcript file (if applicable)
  •  Additional documentation for preparation or background information

We will send you a link to upload your files to our secure Cloud server. We normally film in HD and return video files in .mp4 or .mov format.
18. How long is your turn around period for BSL translation work?
Our BSL translators are busy people! We can usually turn around small projects within two weeks. Larger projects will take more time.
19. Can you do subtitles and video editing?
Absolutely! We work with a video editor to produce professional grade video products, including creating in-vision videos and subtitles. We can produce closed captions and send you the .srt file, or we can burn open captions on to your video.

We film in HD as standard and work with the most common video formats, including MP4, MOV, WMV, MPEG-4, WEBM and HTML5.
BSL First LTD | Company number: 12860304 | VAT number: 379905441
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BSL First LTD | Company number: 12860304 | VAT number: 379905441

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