BSL/English Interpreters

Available in the following locations:
  • Aberdeenshire
  • Dundee
  • Edinburgh & Lothians
  • Fife
  • Glasgow
  • Perth

British Sign Language interpreters work between two languages to facilitate communication between deaf* people who use British Sign Language (BSL) and those that use English. British Sign Language/English interpreters assist deaf and hearing people in communicating with one another.

Deaf Action currently has a team of registered BSL Interpreters (SASLI or NRCPD) that work in a variety of settings.  Our interpreters are all skilled, experienced and registered professionals that receive continuous training and support. We also have a group of registered, professional freelance interpreters to ensure that we can offer you the type of communication support you need.

Please remember: A BSL/English Interpreter is not permitted to offer personal advice or opinions. Deaf Action interpreters adhere to a strict code of practice ensuring a confidential and impartial service. You might want to check out our handy guide for working with an interpreter.

To book a BSL interpreter call:
Freephone: 0800 014 1401
Text: 0131 557 0419
SMS: 07860018761

Or click here to access the booking form


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How people use our BSL/English Interpreters
Below are just some examples of where our BSL interpreters work:

  • Health Appointments: GP, dentist, hospital, optician, podiatrist etc.
  • Employment: job interviews, staff and client meetings etc
  • Theatre: Q&A events, shows, pantomimes, musicals etc
  • Legal: solicitor appointments, Police dealings, Court cases
  • Community: accessing groups, attending classes
  • Council Services: council appointments and meetings
  • Parliamentary Business: for public and private meetings and consultations
  • Conferences, Seminars or Workshops


BSL/English Interpreters are suitable for:

  • People who use British Sign Language (remember not all deaf people will use BSL)
  • Communicating with deaf BSL users

Working with English/BSL Interpreters

BSL/English Interpreters facilitate communication between deaf people who use British Sign Language (BSL) and hearing people who use English.

Providing prior information and materials for our BSL/English Interpreters allows us to work more effectively and prepare for the booking in advance; prior information may include minutes of previous meetings, presentations, notes or theatre scripts.

Simultaneous interpreting of dialogue between two languages is very demanding and becomes tiring after prolonged periods.  Some assignments may require more than one interpreter; all day events and conferences may require a team of interpreters.

BSL/English Interpreters listen to the spoken English and interpret it into Sign Language, or will watch the Sign Language and translate it into spoken English.  The interpreter has to listen and watch before they can interpret so there may be a short time delay.

Occasionally interpreters will need to clarify what has been said or signed to ensure a correct translation can be given. This is an important part of interpretation and contributes to better communication and understanding.

When working with a BSL/English Interpreter:

  • Ensure the deaf person is seated with a clear view of both the interpreter and the speaker
  • Sign or speak clearly and at your normal pace
  • Ensure that only one person signs or speaks at a time – In larger meetings It may be useful to raise your hand when you want to speak as this also indicates to the deaf person who is speaking
  • Address the person directly and avoid phrases such as “tell him” or “ask her”
  • Allow regular breaks for the interpreter

Please do not:

  • Ask the interpreter for an opinion
  • Attempt to engage the interpreter in conversation whilst working
  • Refer to people as “deaf and dumb” or “deaf mute” as these terms are no longer acceptable. The word ‘deaf’ is sufficient.

A BSL/English Interpreter is not an advocate or a social worker and is not permitted to offer personal advice or opinions. Deaf Action’s interpreters adhere to a strict code of practice ensuring a confidential and impartial service.

Our services

We offer a range of services across Scotland. Search for what's near you...

Our courses

Book an Interpreter

Deaf Action currently has a team of registered BSL Interpreters that work in a variety of settings. Combined, we have over 45 years of interpreting experience.

Registered Company Number SC 396876. Registered charity SC 009898. Registered address as above. If you have any problems using or accessing the site, or for any other comments on this site, please click here to contact us
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*deaf includes people who are Deaf BSL users, deafened, deafblind and hard of hearing

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