BSL is the first language of 87,000 Deaf people in the UK. On 28th April 2022, the BSL Bill was given Royal Assent and became the BSL Act 2022. This act ensures that BSL is recognised as an official language of England, Wales and Scotland in its own right. This helps to ensure BSL users are fully included in society and recognises their language, history and culture.
The BSL Act is supported by a duty on the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to regularly report on what each relevant government department has done to promote or facilitate the use of British Sign Language in its communications with the public. The Act will create a greater recognition and understanding of BSL. Guidance will be provided to government departments and public bodies on how to meet the needs of BSL as their first or preferred language.
What does the BSL Act mean for you?
It’s vital that all employers, especially those in the public sector, eliminate discrimination and advance equality of opportunity by taking into consideration the needs of the Deaf community. The BSL Act will increase awareness of the challenges faced by Deaf people in the UK and highlight the importance of recognising BSL.
For example, employers sometimes provide information in written English for Deaf employees and customers, without recognising that their primary language is BSL. The BSL Act highlights the importance of providing qualified BSL interpreters and BSL translation of documents, videos, online content, etc.
What can we do to ensure your business is meeting the requirements of the BSL Act?
Firstly, we can work with you to understand your organisation and see where BSL services could benefit your staff and customers, providing advice on how you can be more accessible to Deaf people.
Using our bespoke video recording and editing studios, we add professional quality BSL translation to any written, digital, and audio content you create and distribute (such as websites, information videos, social media content, presentations, and community messaging) to ensure it is fully accessible to Deaf people. All BSL translations are created by our in-house team of experienced, qualified, and diverse interpreters.
We also provide a remote BSL interpretation service, working across a wide range of sectors including health, legal, education, employment, commercial and public sectors to interpret meetings, appointments, and conferences/events. Our BSL service can be pre-booked or on-demand, and delivering it remotely provides a cost-effective, easily accessible, and safe way to support Deaf people to communicate and access services. We use the very best in class video technology, providing smooth life-like video and audio connectivity. This has been designed to bring the quality and importance of face-to-face interpreting; remotely.
To start your journey into accessibility, we run Deaf Awareness and Basic BSL training courses. All organisations should be Deaf-aware to show a commitment to accessibility to your staff and customers. Involve Interpreter runs a remote 3-hour Deaf Awareness Course that serves as a useful precursor to learning BSL. The course provides critical information relating to communication with Deaf people, Deaf culture and how to be Deaf-aware.
For more information about our services and how your organisation can be more Deaf accessible, please contact us now.