British Sign Language – Helpful information

One of our very concerned hospital customer called in this morning. They have a consultant’s appointment for a newly registered patient, a native English hence does not require an interpreter in any of the 189 languages we provide. However she is deaf and hence would not hear and respond to the medical staff. We have booked a BSL interpreter for them. Dr Fred has asked us to produce some basic introduction on BSL to be published to their staff. Here it is for the benifit for our other users too.

The following will increase your working knowledge of BSL

Also called British Sign Language is a sign language used in the United Kingdom. It is the first or preferred language among the Deaf community and is now recognised as one of the four indigenous languages in the British Isles. The language has its own grammar and syntax, very different from the grammatical rules of English. BSL uses both manual and non-manual components: hand shapes and movements, facial expression and body movements.

Thomas Braidwood, a teacher from Edinburgh, founded ‘Braidwood’s Academy for the Deaf and Dumb’ in 1760. It is the first school for deaf children in Britain.[15] The school primarily taught oral communication method.

It is used mainly by people who are Deaf or to support those who have a hearing loss.
Can BSL users read English?
It is impossible for monolingual BSL users to comprehend English fully. They must have information in their own language. The new law ensures this for NHS patients. However until BSL is granted ‘legal status’ it won’t happen in other public institutions, where the bench mark is always set in English
It’s much easier for sign language users to keep track of who is speaking with a qualified interpreter, who will also take on aspects of the character that they’re conveying. And unlike sign language interpretation, subtitles rarely indicate sound effects or music.
A Bill to recognise British Sign Language as a language of England, Wales and Scotland; to require the Secretary of State to report on the promotion and facilitation of the use of British Sign Language by ministerial government departments.

The British Sign Language Act 2022 recognises BSL as an official language of England, Scotland and Wales – the same status afforded to Welsh and Scots Gaelic. Under the new law, the government must promote BSL and make it easier for people to use it in their dealings with government agencies.

How many BSL interpreters do you need?
For meetings and events longer than two hours, two interpreters are necessary. They can co-work with each other and take turns to interpret. For a BSL user, watching an interpreter for a long period of time can also be very tiring.
You may use this form to book your BSL interpreter.