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British Sign Language

Bostico International provide professional British Sign Language interpreting services. British Sign Language (abbreviated as BSL) is a form of language using just hands and motion and is the preferred method of communication of some deaf people in the UK. Bostico can provide professional and registered British Sign Language interpreters on-site anywhere in the UK. Various sign languages have their own words with completely different hand gestures that could not be understood in other dialects and how one language signs a certain number could well be completely different to how another signs it.

BSL interpreters

British Sign Language (BSL) Services

Sign language Interpreting is both a mentally and physically taxing task. Over the years, many interpreters have suffered debilitating RMIs or Repeated Motion Injuries. Some have consequently had to leave the profession. With the scarcity of interpreters already an issue, (approx 1200 registered interpreters UK) this is something interpreters have to consider when taking assignments. More significantly, research has shown that both spoken language and sign language interpreters begin to experience mental fatigue after approximately 20 minutes of work, leading to errors in production (Brasel, B. The effects of fatigue on the competence of interpreters for the deaf).

The incidence of repetitive motion injury (RMI), carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), and tendinitis is high among sign language interpreters. Because of the constant motion involved, working constantly without periodic, scheduled breaks can injure service providers. Repeated injury can result in inability to perform interpretation services, as well as other related physical problems in the neck, shoulders, and back. Working in shifts of 15 to 20 minutes attempts to allow a physical break, thus, greatly improving the quality of the interpretation, while allowing the consumer to have the clearest communication access possible.

There is no hard and fast rule about how long one interpreter can continue to work alone. Two interpreters should be considered for any assignment over one hour; however, some one hour jobs - or even significantly longer jobs - can be done by one person. Things to consider are the number of speakers (deaf and hearing); the complexity of information conveyed; the use of media (e.g. videos) and whether that media is accessible without an interpreter (e.g. captioning provided on videos); and speed and duration of information. A three hour computer lab with instruction then practical work might only require one interpreter; a one hour, highly technical staff meeting might require two interpreters.Some assignments, because of complexity of setting, audience, and information, may require even more interpreters.

The difference between Sign language interpreting and spoken languages is that two processes are occurring with the mental processing of two languages, the listening to the English and then physical delivery of Sign language, these two process often occur simultaneous. In addition to this Sign language interpreters have to culturally mediate the situation for example they may see that the deaf person’s expression is one of confusion and may have to pause the speaker to clarify or change the level of language.

When interpreting the spoken language may not be at a level of language that is directly accessible to the same level in Sign language, for example many deaf people struggle to understand English so there is often no direct translation word for word, as a result the interpreter has to understand the meaning of the English sentence and then form an appropriate BSL equivalent without losing the intonation and expression of which the information is delivered, this means the correct hand-shape, placement, facial expression and lip pattern, of all which must be linked to deliver an accurate interpretation. This process happens within seconds for most skilled interpreters, however there is often a delay between the languages causing the time given to communication being of a longer length than that of spoken conversations.

Interpreters co working is not only about having a processing rest, but also supporting one another. For example the active interpreter will be interpreting while the inactive will be following and processing with the physical element so that when a sign or word is missed they are able to feed there co worker to ensure the accuracy continues through their section.

In conclusion although it may seem cost effective to use one interpreter, this can take longer and potentially cause inaccuracies in interpretation and often those interpreters that will accept lone working when it is required for two can be potentially not at the skilled level required for complex assignments, especially within legal, mental health and social care settings. Often is the case that when two interpreters are used where appropriate the level of service is higher and the time used is shorter.