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

Innovative Interpretation provider secures significant Midven investment


  • Investment in Sign Solutions will help create seven additional jobs over the next two years in sales, marketing, interpretation and client facing support
  • Sign Solutions will use the funding to develop and increase awareness of its British Sign Language (BSL) video interpretation service InterpretersLive
  • Its digital applications will be further developed to ensure more public and private sector organisations are accessible to people who use BSL as their first or preferred language.

Birmingham – 05 February 2019 – Sign Solutions, specialists in providing high-quality communication support services for Deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the public and private sector, has secured significant investment from venture capital firm Midven, who were appointed to manage the £35m equity portion of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) in March 2018.

Historically focused on the provision of face-to-face interpreters, BSL translations and training Redditch-based Sign Solutions was founded in 1998 and provides all types of interpretation services, for Deaf people nationwide, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Since 2004, its innovative video interpreting service has improved the accessibility and financial viability of interpretation for Deaf people, by providing NRCPD qualified BSL Interpreters online for short and emergent interpretation requirements, enabling organisations to communicate in person or over the phone via an online BSL video Interpreter. Promoting equal access for all, all of the time.

Sign Solutions is aiming to leverage their current reputation as market leaders in this field and conquer the rapidly growing video interpreting market. With Midven’s investment, seven jobs will be created at Sign Solutions over the next two years, with further plans to invest in developing their service and make it available in new areas.

Clare Vale, Managing Director of Sign Solutions said:

“We are absolutely thrilled to have received the investment from Midven. The team members will help to grow our business and enhance services offered to new and existing clients. I want the roles we create to support our growing client base, and through greater promotion of our on-demand video interpreting service, we can help more public and private sector organisations to become aware of their responsibilities regarding equality and accessibility. Every organisation should be equally accessible to all their clients, customers, employees and patients.”

Sign Solutions has a number of new commercial opportunities available which will have both financially and socially positive rewards. One example being focused on making retail shopping and dining out more accessible to Deaf customers and meeting the on-demand communication requirements of Deaf employees. Also with health services required to make themselves accessible for Deaf people under the ‘Accessible Information Specification’, the real time video interpreting service allows instant access to a BSL interpreter for Deaf patients to call their GP or hospital from home, or receive medical help in an emergency.

Roger Wood, Director at Midven, said:

 “Sign Solutions has grown steadily in recent years and now has an opportunity to really broaden the accessibility of Sign Language through the advent of technology. It is a rare opportunity that combines compelling commercial imperatives with the chance to deliver valuable social outcomes, and we are delighted to be working with such an innovative company”.

Ken Cooper, MD at British Business Bank, said:

“This investment into Sign Solutions is a great example of how the Midlands Engine Investment fund can help companies address new markets to grow their business.  There is an additional social impact here but that isn’t always the case and the MEIF has the firepower to back many more growth stories from a wide range of business types across the Midlands.”  

Gary Woodman, Chief Executive of Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: 

“It is excellent news to have a growing Worcestershire firm such as Sign Solutions receiving investment from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund; it is a fantastic example of the variety of businesses that can be supported from this regional initiative. The Worcestershire economy is set to benefit as a result of the funding as well, with new jobs being created locally.”

The MEIF project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

 

Photo credit: (left to right):Ryan Cartwright, Senior Manager, UK Network, British Business Bank, Karen Nicholson, Head Interpreter, Roger Wood, Director, Midven, Clare Vale, MD, Sign Solutions, Sean Nicholson, Non-Executive Director, Sign Solutions

 





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.