Why is paying for BSL/English Interpreters such an issue?


Deaf, hubby to Rachel, dad to Corey, Libby and Emily, Solicitor, Lecturer in Legal Practice at University of South Wales, PhD student at University of Leicester.

13 Responses

  1. JGJones says:

    For some reason even though this post’s HTML code appears to be fine – your RSS code for this post was broken (a and some “‘s in the wrong place) – did they creep in and you corrected afterward?

    No matter I’ve corrected the invalid codes on deaf-blogs.com – no need to allow this comment to show on your blog šŸ™‚ Just delete when you’re moderating this but wanted to let you know before I forget, in case it was something you did (ie posted with mistake which went into rss and then corrected after deaf-blogs.com got the invalid code?)


  2. Alison says:

    Intangible costs, that reoccur. Also I don’t believe the DDA is a good piece of legislation as far as Deaf people go.

  3. John Savva says:

    It is true that many deaf students who want to become a lawyer (solicitor or barrister) on the principle of using BSL interpreter to access to the course, those were denied to (even they give it 1000 percent effort). I am one of them.

    Rob, you need to ask your MP to arrange a meeting (face to face) with a BSL interpreter. I have tried written – got nowhere! If you are meeting via face to face meeting, the MP will more likely to be shocked and embarrassed, and will do something about it more. I am meeting with my MP this month with a BSL interpreter, because I have shouted at him directly front of deaf people – I mean I was really really crossed with him! That got his attention to meet me!

  4. rob says:

    Alison, I know what you mean re intangible costs that reoccur, but let’s say for example, a law firm. How often will a solicitor see a Deaf client in their entire career? Think about this – a lot of hearing people I meet say they’ve never met a Deaf person before. The same will be true of solicitors in a law firm. The only flaw to my argument is that once word gets around that a specific solicitor is providing the BSL/English Interpreters and paying for them, that solicitor will become popular and have to fork out more!

    Mmm John, getting in touch with my MP is a good idea. I think I will try that. Thanks.

  5. jgjones says:

    Rob – it’s a damned pity it had to happen to you.

    It does make me worry for myself too…recently I went to a job interview with Amazon – the two interpreters I had for the interview (which was 3 and half hours long) struggled to keep up. There was nothing wrong with their signing but since I work in IT, there are a lot of technical terms that often went over their head and I often have to explain to the interpreters what it mean etc so that I can get to tell the people at Amazon what I want to say.

    I’ve never seen a single interpreter that could be of use for me in IT – so I’m often wondering what to do when I get a job. Have a interpreter that struggle to keep up with the technical language? Or if there’s a meeting – that would be a problem…so I might need to switch to different method ie a SpeedText? But then again technical language come into play.

    Oh well I’ve not yet found a job yet so I’m still looking (Amazon declined me yesterday).

    BTW your videos – pls use more lighting – if you do it too dark, your webcam struggles to record you and so you get “blur effect” as you move your hands and it’s not as clear. Shine a light into yourself so that we can see you better šŸ™‚ Cheers

  6. Piers Kittel says:


    That’s true, but you can choose say one or two interpreters and *always* use them – they’ll learn the technical words and you both can make up signs for them and they will remember it for next time. That’s what my friend does and it works well. Of course, it’s a problem if the interpreter gets ill!

    Cheers – Piers

  7. Tony B says:

    Hey Rob,

    Did you ever manage to sort out the interpreters for training course at BPP court school? Have you follow this up using DDA stating that they are treating you less favourable compared to normal service? I’m no legal eagle but it looked to me a case of denying you access to their service.

  8. funnyoldlife says:

    Eeewww. I had this problem at law school too. They flatly refused to give me any communication support, saying they couldn’t afford it. I argued with them for 2 years then gave up. Are things any better now?

  9. Rob says:

    Tony B/Tina

    I did challenge BPP Law School, and got some pretty shoddy emails from them that I could have used in a DDA case against them. However, my principal solicitor advised that I should seek the opinion of counsel, so we drafted a brief and sent it to a barrister known for his expertise in the DDA field.

    I got a response a few weeks later, and the barrister had concluded that I had a less than 50% chance of success, and based on his advice, my training principal decided that South West London Law Centres wouldn’t be able to support any litigation against BPP Law School, so I dropped the case.

    Nevertheless, I did find another training provider, Altior. They too refused to cover the cost of BSL/English Interpreters, but they did at least offer to reduce the course fee by about ƂĀ£250. I managed to use ATW to pay for one interpreter, and RAD paid for the other.

    I finished the Professional Skills Course in March, and passed!

  10. Noelle says:

    Hi Rob

    I’m new deaf person and comes from Ireland. I have read these above comments.

    I wonder why they refuse to pay the cost of BSL interpreter for your course ? Is it because of too expenseive to pay the costs of BSL interpreter ?

    Does the British Law in the UK have a power to enforce the law firm to provide the interpreter for deaf people’s needs ?


  11. Rob says:


    It seems to be because they don’t consider themselves as responsible for paying the cost of BSL/English Interpreters. Also, the cost is equivalent or more than the cost of the course itself, which is a sticking point for many course providers.

    There seems to be a huge denial among course providers (and most service providers generally) in that the DDA applies to them.

  12. Noelle says:


    I find bit strange because if DDA applies to them – they should provide the same, but abvisously not !

    I wonder is anyone in the UK, who have a strongest power to enforce them the same ? I suppose says – no one ?

    What about the MP in your local area ?


  1. 4 February 2006

    Quality of BSL/English Interpreting…

    Following up on what Joe mentioned in a comment to my previous post, about the two BSL/English Interpreters struggling to keep up with the technical language during his interview at Amazon.
    This led me to think: with the rise in the number of Deaf prof…

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