BSL Interpreting: A Profession with Potential

On Friday, we announced the beginning of undergraduate BSL courses here at Heriot-Watt. This is the first time that BSL has been taught at undergraduate level at a Translation and Interpreting school. To celebrate this breakthrough, here are three excellent reasons why BSL interpreting is a profession with potential.

1.    There is lots of work for signing professionals to do. While Scotland, for example, has a few dozen qualified sign language interpreters, a similar-sized country such as Finland has hundreds. Legislation UK-wide entitles Deaf people to interpreting provision, but these rights have yet to be met by an adequate supply of professionals. Could this be you?

2.    Working as a BSL/English interpreter, you are assured that no two days will ever be alike. “Every day is different and you never stop learning… I have also met some amazing people both colleagues and clients, and ended up interpreting for people in a variety of places: Parliament, Glastonbury and in a hospital interpreting for someone giving birth.” See this page for more details.

3.    BSL/English interpreting is widely admired as a well-established language profession. Other minority language groups often envy the organisation and professional structure available to interpreters in this field. Bodies such as NRCPD and SASLI work hard to ensure that BSL/English interpreters have clear standards, procedures and working conditions.

Exciting times are ahead for BSL in Scotland and across the UK – and for signers globally! From the prospect of new parliamentary activity in 2012 to raise the status of BSL, to developments in areas such as broadcasting and the arts, all the way to the rise of Deaf politicians like Ádám Kósa MEP, the national and international sign communities are looking forward to good times ahead. If not now, then when?

Go to for info on how to sign up.