Sign Language Interpreters
BSL interpreters translate meaning from one spoken or signed language into another signed or spoken language, in one-way or two-way settings. Interpreters will use their skill and knowledge of the two languages, and their understanding of cultural differences between those for whom they are interpreting, to transfer a message in one language into the other language. With the assistance of technology, it is now possible for an interpreter to assist with communication remotely, via a webcam. However, for the majority of assignments it is preferable for all parties to meet face to face.
Lipspeakers have been professionally trained to speak with a clear lip-pattern. They repeat or rephrase the speaker’s message clearly, but without vocalising, producing the natural patterns of speech and the emphasis of the original message. Lipspeakers can also support the message using facial expression, gesture and fingerspelling, if required.
Electronic Notetakers provide a summary in English of what is being said, for example working in an educational setting. They are trained to takes notes for Deaf people in meetings, on courses, or at other events, which in general are one-way assignments, but can also be two-way as the Deaf client may wish to ask a question or offer a point of view. The Deaf client can choose to watch the interpreter or read the words as they appear on the screen and have the facility to add their own notes from the information being relayed by the interpreter. These notes can be printed off or emailed to the client.
Speech to Text Reporters/Palantypists
Speech to Text Reporters/Palantypists use a specialist keyboard equipped with computer software to produce the speaker’s message word for word. As the words are typed they can be projected onto a large screen for the whole of the audience to read. They are suitable for people with varying degrees of deafness who are comfortable reading English, often at high speed. It is generally a service used for a one-way assignment, for example at a conference or training session.
Deafblind Manual Interpreters
Deafblind Manual Interpreters work with clients that have a dual sensory loss. Communication is by using ‘hands on’ signing, with the client holding the interpreter’s wrists, or using the deafblind manual alphabet, where the interpreter will spell out what is being said on the client’s palm. These Communication Professionals also relay visual and other non-verbal information, such as reactions to what has been said.
Deaf Relay Interpreters
Deaf Relay Interpreters generally, but not exclusively, work in conjunction with sign language interpreters. They facilitate communication when deaf individuals have idiosyncratic language use; for example where there are articulation problems, minimal or compromised language, mental health issues, or users of foreign sign languages. The speaker’s message is signed, via a sign language interpreter, to the deaf relay interpreter, who in turn rephrases this message to the deaf client. Likewise the deaf relay interpreter will repeat what the client has signed to the interpreter and then the interpreter will voice-over what the deaf relay interpreter is signing.