What Is EFSLI?



EFSLI stands for European Forum of Sign Language Interpreters, consisting of 31 national and regional associations and fewer than 300 individual and associate members. Their mission is to improve the profession of Sign Language interpreting throughout Europe to the highest level possible. Therefore, every year following the Annual General Meeting (AGM), an EFSLI seminar or conference is held that allows participants and guests from all over Europe to join the discussion and come together to improve the Sign Language profession, year by year.


Their aims and objectives that will help them to achieve their vision are:


– To encourage and promote deliberation and mutual exchange of the profession of interpreting    services within Europe

– To work to secure official recognition of the profession of Sign Language interpreting

– To encourage and promote scientific and pedagogic initiatives to improve standards of Sign Language interpreting and Interpreter training

– To provide advice and support to Sign Language Interpreters, Interpreter trainees, Interpreter trainers, and users and providers of Interpreting services

– To present the interests of the profession of Sign Language interpreting to appropriate bodies


Back in 1987, a conference held in Albi, France, examined Sign Language interpreting in relation to the European region and culture. This was organised under the auspices of the French Association of the Deaf in conjunction with the European Community Regional Secretariat of the World Federation of the Deaf (known today as the European Union of the Deaf).

This was the first time interpreters had the opportunity to meet and formally examine the most important issues.

After years of work and organising, the very first seminar for EFSLI was held in 1994 in Edinburgh, Scotland, and the Annual General Meeting (AGM) followed shortly after. The theme of the first seminar was ‘Working Conditions’. The next event is in 2016, from 9th – 11th September, in Athens, Greece.


ESLI’s members (national organisations of Sign Language interpreters) – NASLIs include the likes of:

  • Austria (ÖGSDV)
  • Czech Republic (CKTZJ)
  • England/Wales/Northern Ireland (ASLI)
  • Estonia (EVKTÜ)
  • Ireland (CISLI)
  • Norway (Tolkeforbundet)
  • Scotland (SASLI)
  • Sweden (STTF)

And many more! They are also in communication with the following:

  • Bulgaria
  • Cyprus
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Malta (AILSM)
  • Montenegro
  • Serbia


EFSLI are constantly looking to grow their number of member associations and improve the Sign Language profession throughout Europe.


EFSLI also have a variety of contacts and contact details for those looking to acquire a Sign Language interpreter in the countries where EFSLI has members.

They have also received increasing requests for International Sign (IS) interpreters. So at the EFSLI AGM in 2009 in Estonia, members invited International Sign interpreters living in Europe to provide their details so they could be contacted. There is no formal education, registration or accreditation of International Sign interpreters. The list of IS interpreters provided by EFSLI defines themselves as qualified International Sign Interpreters.


To find the list of International Sign interpreters listed by EFSLI, visit their page here – http://efsli.org/sli-profession/interpreting-services-in-europe/international-sign-interpreters/

Special Attendance Fund – (SAF)


As mentioned earlier, once a year, Sign Language Interpreters from all over Europe gather at the EFSLI AGM and Conference to share knowledge, gain expertise and share valuable experiences.


However, there are many countries with low GDP (typically used to determine the economic performance of a whole country or region and to make international comparisons.) EFSLI set up the EFSLI Special Attendance Fund (SAF) in 2004.

SAF provides financial support primarily to interpreters from European countries with a GDP of €15.000 or lower. Interpreters from other European countries are also welcome to apply for funding.

The Special Attendance Fund depends entirely on donations.

The EFSLI SAF committee consists of seven interpreters from:

–          The Netherlands

–          Germany

–          Greece

–          Great Britain

They are always looking for new members. If you would like to join their committee or donate to the SAF via PayPal, you can do so here –http://efsli.org/about/special-attendance-fund-saf/


EFSLI Research Fund – ERF


EFSLI set up the EFSLI Research Fund to provide funds to individuals who would like to undertake research in a topic related to Sign Language interpreting but who do not have the necessary funding to complete the research on their own. If you’d like to donate to this fund, you can do so here –http://efsli.org/about/efsli-research-fund-erf/ via PayPal.


EFSLI also work in partnership with:

–          AIIC (The only worldwide association for conference interpreters)

–          EUD (A European non-profit making organisation whose membership comprises National Associations of Deaf people in Europe)

–          EULITA (Open to associations of legal translators and interpreters in the EU, as well as to general associations and individuals)

–          WASLI (The World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI) is an international non-profit organisation that works towards enhancing the profession of Sign Language interpreting worldwide)


We here at terptree hope you have found this information useful and insightful. If you would like to learn more about EFSLI, you can visit their website here – http://efsli.org/


Have a great day, and until next time! 🙂