The National Union of British Sign Language Interpreters (NUBSLI)

What is it?

NUBSLI – the National Union of British Sign Language Interpreters have been established to protect the rights of BSL/English Interpreters, Deaf Interpreters and Registered Sign Language Translators (RSLTs).

The organisation has been undertaking various activities in order to raise awareness to the public that these groups of Communication Professionals are under threat.

NUBSLI have a vision that if these groups of Communication Professionals join a larger Union, it will give them access to support and guidance that will lead them to achieve the goals and recourses to overcome the problems that are faced.


Why are they doing it?

The Government, hospitals and other like-minded organisations have always shown little understanding of deaf people’s needs, putting little value on Interpreters and Translators.  NUBSLI believe strongly that this must change.

This lack of awareness and understanding is pushing Interpreter fees lower and lower which is, in turn, having a huge effect on the quality of interpreting services being received by the deaf service user as well as reducing job prospects for Interpreters.

This is also making numbers of Interpreters consider whether they should leave the profession and find a ‘safer’ career!

Currently, there are around 1 000 Interpreters registered with NRCPD in the UK, and should half of these individuals leave the profession (which is what a recent NUBSLI survey has indicated). We would have around 500 Interpreters to serve the 105,000 deaf people who use British Sign Language as their first of preferred language.

An area where some of these Government cuts are being made is Access to Work.

Access to work is a grant that supports those with disabilities (including deaf people) and those overcoming work-related obstacles. The Government are proposing cuts to this fund which puts Deaf people at risk of not receiving the support that they require in the workplace.

Click here to read more about the campaign called ‘Stop the changes, ’ which is rallying against these proposed Government cuts.

NUBSLI has been very clear that they will not accept poor terms and conditions or unsustainable or inappropriate working conditions.

What are they doing?

NUBSLI believe that ‘together we are stronger’ and that operating as a Union will help to resolve the various problems that are being faced within the profession.

It provides a structure that:

  •       Represents BSL/English Interpreters, Deaf Interpreters and RSLTs
  •       Persuades the Government and other organisations to recognise the appropriate qualifications, experience and pay are needed

Our opinion?

NUBSLI has the potential to unite and sustain our profession. In the form of a Union, we can represent our profession and all that we have worked for and educate those decision-makers who really don’t understand the reasons for working with highly trained and highly skilled Professionals.

We our under threat from the changing political landscape that we now find ourselves in, and action must be taken!

If you are an Interpreter who is interested in joining NUBSLI – take a look at their website

Please comment with any thoughts or information you want to share, and we’d love to hear it! 🙂