Sign Solutions
Sign Solutions is a language and learning company, specialising in interpretation support for Deaf people, we provide BSL interpreting; face-to-face and via video, BSL translations, expert witness reports, BSL and CPD training and deaf awareness training via e-learning, 24/7/365 throughout the UK.

Latest News from Sign Solutions

Deaf shoppers now have greater high street access


Sign Solutions, have launched their latest initiative on Bromsgrove high street, Worcestershire. Providing their online video interpreting app, Interpreterslive! Deaf shoppers now have the ability to immediately communicate in British Sign Language, with retailers.

Funding for the initiative has been provided by the Bromsgrove District Council who are committed to helping Deaf people interact with a range of high street outlets including shops, pubs, solicitors and estate agents.

The app, which can be used on phones, tablets and computers, was launched on Wednesday, 6th March 2019, at the popular coffee shop ‘Bayleys of Bromsgrove’ where owner and manager, Jack Bayley, and Clare Vale, Managing Director of Sign Solutions, demonstrated the system to members of the Council and BBC media.

In attendance was Cllr Karen May, the Council’s portfolio-holder for Economic Development, who said: “There’s always more reasons to shop in Bromsgrove as the town continues to grow and develop. This latest initiative means that even more people can access our wonderful array of shops, cafes, restaurants and service providers”.

Bromsgrove District Council is providing funding that will allow retailers to sign up to an initial 12-month pilot scheme. The only time a retailer incurs a cost is when the service is used, and a Sign Language interpreter interprets, enabling the customer and the trader to communicate.

Deaf visitors can use the app on their phone or tablet, or a device installed by the outlet. The app launches an immediate call to an interpreter who can see the service user. The Deaf person’s British Sign Language is then translated into English to be understood by the retailer.

Sign Solutions’ Managing Director, Clare Vale said:

“The aim of Sign Solutions, over the last 20 years, has been to enable Deaf people to have equal access to all products, services and support.  We are augmenting this through the introduction of our video interpreting service. This access is available
immediately and on-demand for short and emergent communication requirements.

As we were already providing our ‘InterpretersLive!’ video service to retailers online, enabling customers who use BSL to connect over the phone via an interpreter, it seemed a natural progression to help those same retailers communicate with customers in person. Through this high street launch we are able to introduce the concept to other retailers and make shopping and dining experiences accessible to all. I am delighted that this has been picked up by Bromsgrove District Council, as I believe it will be a huge benefit to the town.”

Sign Solutions are currently working with retail consortiums, Business Improvement Districts (BIDS), Town Centre Managers and Local Authorities.

Outlets that have signed up to the pilot programme will display a window sticker that shows Deaf people that they are an accessible retailer. The pilot is focused on the high street and market area of Bromsgrove with plans to expand the project soon.

So far 15 retailers have already signed up to the pilot and it is expected that many more will follow their example over the coming months.  With a range of retailers already in the process of rolling out the app in Bromsgrove, it is hoped that other towns and cities will also recognise the benefits of the system and follow this great initiative.





Interpreting & other communication services

We are able to provide a full range of communication professionals available for Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing users in any domain, be it legal, business, medical, educational, conference, community, theatre, etc: 

  • British Sign Language (BSL)/English Interpreters (NRCPD Registered)
  • Lipspeakers (NRCPD and/or Association of Lipspeakers Registered)
  • Deafblind interpreters: Visual Frame, HandsOn or Manual (NRCPD Registered)
  • Speech-to-text operators (Palantype and SpeedText) (NRCPD/BIVR or AVSTTR Registered)
  • Notetakers (electronic and manual [hand-written]) (NRCPD Registered)
  • Deaf Relay Interpreters (Language intermediaries for Deaf people who are not fluent in BSL)
  • Deaf Intermediaries: Deaf intermediaries to support vulnerable Deaf adults/children in legal proceedings (Home Office accredited)
  • BSL/English translations (video, DVD, website etc)
  • UK Registered Expert Witness Services (Interpreting/Translation issues)Lip-reading services (CCTV, covert surveillance, etc)

Is it ‘interpreter’ or ‘signer’?

Many people refer to Sign Language interpreters as ‘signers’, however this is an incorrect term. They describe a BSL (British Sign Language) interpreter as a ‘signer’ because they use Sign Language, i.e. they sign in order to communicate. The common language for Deaf people in the UK is BSL (British Sign Language); therefore these Deaf people require interpreters for many aspects of life.

There is no one way to interpret – interpretation is subjective to the interpreter (or ‘signer’ as some hearing people incorrectly term them), therefore every interpretation will be different.

The company was launched as the first independent Sign Language interpreting agency, and here at Sign Solutions, we are Sign Language specialists, i.e. we specialise in the field of BSL (British Sign Language) and interpreting. Our reputation is well established within the industry of interpreting; 75% of all NRCPD interpreters are registered with us and take freelance work through us. We are now one of Britain’s leading providers of interpretation and translation services.

We are available 24/7, and offer competitive rates with no administration charges.

BSL (British Sign Language) Translations

Translation is a carefully prepared and considered piece of work involving the translation of written text from one language to another. It is performed by a translator, and it is different to an interpretation; it is more exact.

A ‘for information’ translation, also  known as a ‘sight translation’, is an accurate but unpolished piece of work that is produced in-house using a camcorder (English to BSL) or using standard printing and letter/document formats, or alternatively, audio tape (BSL to English).  They are produced faster and much more cheaply than a publication translation.  Sight translation is suitable for letters or information that is intended for individual/personal use only.  Examples range from an explanation of a leaflet to court/tribunal judgements.

Sight translations

Sight translation is suitable for letters, video-letters or information that is intended for individual/personal use only. Examples range from an explanation of a leaflet to court/tribunal judgements.

Public Translations

A ‘publication translation’ requires a much higher standard of preparation, accuracy, fidelity, clarity and quality and will be filmed in a professional recording studio. The final product will reflect the style/image of the source material and of your company/product.

Publication translations are required for any documents where it is important to portray a professional image.

Because they are filmed in professional recording studios, the cost will be greater than that of a sight translation.

It is almost always preferable to use a Deaf presenter for ‘publication translations’. This is because the Deaf person will have first language fluency and this creates an instant rapport with your Deaf audience. The majority of BSL (British Sign Language) interpreters (or ‘signers’ as some hearing people incorrectly term them) only have second language fluency and their translations can be immediately recognised as a non-native production. This is because the BSL (British Sign Language) may not flow as smoothly as it should, i.e. word order or choice of vocabulary may be unduly influenced by the English source text. It is equivalent to listening to a heavily accented and perhaps ungrammatical foreign person presenting in English. This lowers the quality of your product and can often alienate your client.  Using a Deaf person will not usually incur any extra expense.

With Sign Solutions you can be sure that the final product will be an accurate and high quality translation.

BSL (British Sign Language) & Interpreter Training

We are an award-winning and accredited NVQ6 Training & Assessment Centre dedicated to the provision of high-quality training, assessment, monitoring and continuing professional development (CPD) for BSL/English Interpreters and other professionals who use BSL (British Sign Language) on a regular basis. We also provide Deaf Awareness Training and Levels 1-6 BSL (British Sign Language) courses for individuals and organisations.

We can deliver training courses anywhere in the UK, and can tailor the training to suit your needs; therefore the training will be bespoke. This can be done for any course: BSL (British Sign Language), Interpreting or Deaf Awarene.

Our course portfolio includes:

Level 6 NVQ Diploma, Sign Language Interpreting
Level 6 NVQ Certificate in BSL (British Sign Language)
BSL/Interpreting Level 6 Development Training
NVQ3 in BSL (British Sign Language)
BSL (British Sign Language) Level 1
BSL (British Sign Language) Level 2
Deaf Awareness face-to-face training & via e-learning
Introduction to BSL (British Sign Language) Linguistics
Induction into Police & Magistrates’ Court Interpreting
Professional Deaf Relay training
Introduction to Interpreting in Mental Health Settings
Advanced English for Interpreters
Language Processing & Coping Strategies
Intensive Voice-Over Training (BSL-to-English)
Intensive English-to-BSL Training
Totally CPD (a chance to earn all your CPD points in one course)

Sign Solutions provide the largest range of CPD (Continuing Professional Development) training courses of any UK Sign Language agency; therefore if you are a BSL (British Sign Language) interpreter, who is looking to develop your interpretation skills and knowledge of interpreting and BSL (British Sign Language), why not sign up to one of our CPD (Continuing Professional Development) training courses?

Innovations

We offer various innovations available to both Deaf and hearing people – whether an interpreter or not – to assist in communication between the two communities. In addition to in-house training, we provide Deaf Awareness via e-learning; this method raining is available online and so provides an alternative to Deaf Awareness training face-to-face. The user(s) will receive a certificate of Deaf Awareness upon completion of the course.

In addition, we offer a finger-spelling app which provides the first steps for a hearing person to communicate with a Deaf person. It teaches the user how to spell their name in BSL (British Sign Language), and the finger-spelling is demonstrated by a Deaf presenter.

Our Head Interpreter has also developed a range of Training DVDs which aim to help interpreters improve their BSL (British Sign Language) kills. Each training DVD contains two discs: one for interpreting English-to-BSL and the other for interpreting BSL-to-English. Each individual nstructured CPD points when completed.

He has developed a supplementary DVD which is designed specifically to assist interpreters working in police settings. Police cautions can often cause difficulties, and this DVD is designed to assist interpreters in interpreting this challenging procedure. The DVD is intended to be used as a guideline for interpreters; it features three Deaf people providing alternative ways of interpreting the caution.

Expert Witness

Here at Sign Solutions we offer a diverse team of expert witnesses. An Expert Interpreter/Witness is someone who has specialised knowledge in BSL (British Sign Language), beyond that of a regular BSL interpreter, and can advise and/or work with counsel on specific language and cultural issues relevant to Deaf people, British Sign Language and Interpretation. They can provide accurate transcripts of police interviews with Deaf people, and verify the accuracy of in-court interpretations. Expert witnesses are indispensable in high-profile legal assignments.

It is inevitable that interpreters will make mistakes, and without establishing that the Deaf person understands what is being asked of them during the interview/court hearing and verifying the accuracy of every minute aspect of interpretation, the outcome of the court case could very well be compromised. Sign Solutions currently offers six Expert Witnesses.