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Translation Services

Did you know that British Sign Language (BSL) is the first or preferred language of approximately 87,000 Deaf people?

Ensuring that your website and the services you provide are accessible to the Deaf Community has never been more important.

Providing information in BSL will demonstrate your organisation’s commitment to meeting your requirements under the Equality Duty Act 2011, and more importantly shows people that your organisation is committed to equality of access.

What is English / BSL translation?

BSL is the signed language of the Deaf Community in the UK. A rich and complex visual spacial language, it involves a combination of hand shapes, facial expressions, lip patterns and body language.

BSL has its own grammar and sentence structure and is not a signed equivalent of English.

Read our article ‘What is BSL?’ to learn more.

There are situations when a Deaf person will require written English to be translated into BSL.

Here at the Royal Association for Deaf people, we advocate that organisations use a native BSL user with a RSLT qualification for translation work.

What information should our organisation consider translating into BSL? ?

We provide two types of translation service:

Sight Translation

A ‘sight translation’ is suitable for letters or information that is intended for individual/personal use only.

An example could be a letter from the Council explaining council tax rises for the following year with vocabulary and jargon that the Deaf recipient wouldn’t understand. An RSLT would translate that information to the Deaf person. It is only the information on the letter that would be translated, if the Deaf person has any questions not related to that, the RSLT wouldn’t be able to help.

Another example could be a short report from Social Services, again with a high level of English and jargon, which can be translated on to DVD which the Deaf person can review.

Publication Translation

A ‘publication translation’ requires a much higher standard of accuracy and is usually filmed in a professional recording studio.

Publication translations are required for any documents where it is important to portray a professional image. (Examples include website pages, brochures, leaflets, consultation documents and videos.)

We have been working in partnership with HMRC to ensure that Deaf people have access to tax services online. Visit to see our translation work in action.

Want to learn more about how we can support your organisation’s translation needs? Contact our friendly and professional team

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