How to Become a BSL Interpreter


How to Become a BSL Interpreter

Do you want to help deaf people communicate with the hearing world? Are you fluent in both British Sign Language and English? Becoming an interpreter

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Do you want to help deaf people communicate with the hearing world? Are you fluent in both British Sign Language and English? Becoming an interpreter may be the perfect career for you! In this blog post will discuss the steps necessary to become a BSL interpreter.

What Qualifications Do You Require to Become a BSL Interpreter?

There is no specific route or set of qualifications to become a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter. But you must earn some necessary skills and qualities to start this role.

  • Excellent communication skills help you to express yourself clearly in BSL. Good general knowledge enables you to interpret a wide range of topics.
  • Your work experience or shadowing opportunities give you valuable insight into the role. 
  • Alternatively, there are many courses available which can help you develop the necessary skills.
  • The National Register of Communication Professionals Working with Deaf and Deafblind People (NRCPD) offers a nationally-recognised qualification for BSL interpreters, which consists of a portfolio of evidence and a series of assessments. This is not essential, but it can help secure work as an interpreter. For more information, visit the NRCPD website.

How Can You Improve Your Chances of Getting a Job As An Interpreter?

Some interpreters start as communication support workers or lip speakers before training as interpreters. In contrast, others may have a background in teaching BSL or working as sign language tutors.

The most important thing for anyone considering a career in interpretation is a passion for the language and a commitment to helping deaf people communicate. You can volunteer at events and community groups, or as a communication support worker or lip speaker. There are also many work-based learning programmes available that can help you to gain the skills and experience you need to become an interpreter.

There are some qualifications available that can help you become an interpreter. Still, most employers will also require experience working with deaf people before they will consider you for a role. If you have a qualification in signature level 2 certificate in British sign language, add it to your resume and become qualified.

Benefits of Becoming an Interpreter

As an interpreter, you can expect to enjoy several benefits, both professional and personal.

  • On the professional front, being an interpreter can be an advantageous and enriching experience. In many cases, you will be the bridge between two cultures, and your work will be vital in ensuring that communication is effective.
  • Being an interpreter can be a great way to learn about new cultures and better understand the world around you. Moreover, being an interpreter can be a fantastic process for meeting new people and making new friends.

Overall, becoming an interpreter can be beneficial both professionally and personally. However, it may be a perfect choice if you are passionate about communication and languages.

How Much Money Can You Earn as an Interpreter

As an interpreter, you can earn a good salary. The average salary for an interpreter is $60,000 per year. However, your exact earnings will depend on your experience, skills, and the type of interpretation work you do. For instance, if you work as a freelance interpreter, you can charge more per hour than if you work for a company. The most in-demand interpreters can earn over $100,000 per year.

In addition to your salary, you may also be eligible for benefits such as health insurance and vacation pay. However, you may not receive these benefits while working as a freelance interpreter. 

What Challenges will You Face When Working As an Interpreter?

You will communicate information accurately and effectively between two or more parties as an interpreter. This can be challenging, especially if the parties do not share a common language. However, you may have to interpret complicated concepts and terminology, which can be challenging to convey in another language.

You will need to improvise when necessary. For example, you can join any certificate course in BSL and improve your proficiency level.

This might happen if there is a communication breakdown or one of the parties must cooperate. In these cases, it is essential to keep calm and find a way to continue the interpretation without compromising the quality of the communication.

Finally, you will need high concentration and focus on doing your job effectively. This can be difficult, especially if the conversation is long or complex or you are interpreting in a noisy environment. However, you must maintain your focus to accurately convey the meaning of the communication.


Becoming a BSL interpreter takes work, but it is gratifying. If you are considering becoming an interpreter, research and choose a suitable course or training to succeed in this career. So, why are you waiting? Best of luck!