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To become an interpreter you need to demonstrate competence as detailled in the national interpreting standards established for both spoken and signed languages. The national standards define three areas required for an interpreter: theoretical knowledge, language fluency and practical interpreting. There are two different levels of BSL/English interpreters: Registered Sign Language Interpreter (RSLI) and Trainee Sign Language Interpreter (TSLI).
This system allows for interpreters to either follow a university qualification or to compile an individual portfolio under the NVQ system of assessment to meet the national interpreting standard’s requirements.
Levels of Interpreter Training
1. Those who are acquiring theoretical knowledge in accordance with the national interpreting standards and follow the criteria below can apply to be a TSLI with the National Registers of Communication Professionals working with Deaf and Deafblind people (the NRCPD) if they:
- are undertaking an approved development plan or an approved interpreter training course that leads to Registered status;
- are supervised or mentored by appropriately qualified or experienced Registered Sign Language Interpreter(s); and
- have sufficient interpreter training or experience to be aware of developing professional competence boundaries:
- languages at Extended Level and
- meet the requirements set out in the Trainee Interpreter Standards
(taken from the NRCPD website)
TSLIs are eligible to join as Associate Members of ASLI when they have successfully completed an approved course.
2. Those that have proven BSL skills (at equivalent of NVQ Level 6), knowledge and practical experience meeting the national interpreting standards are eligible to be Full Members of ASLI (MASLI) and are eligible to apply to the NRCPD to become Registered Sign Language Interpreters (RSLI).
Initial University Training
The first British Sign Language (BSL) interpreting degree in Scotland has been launched at Heriot-Watt’s School of Management & Languages with the support of funding from the Scottish Funding Council (SFC). Click here for more details.
Advanced University Training
Advanced Interpreter Training is available via Heriot-Watt university in their EUMASLI Programme.
The University of Central Lancashire, jointly with SLI Ltd, offers a part time postgraduate diploma in BSL/English interpreting and translation. If a student successfully completes this diploma, they are eligible to become a Full Members of ASLI (and to become RSLI via the NRCPD.
The University of Leeds offers a PhD, MPhil, Master by Research in Translation and Interpreting.
MA Translation Studies - BSL Strand, Durham University: Part-time, two year programme for entry-level and novice interpreters leading to full professional qualification.