Booking a communication professional for one of your clients can be a confusing process because there are different communication professionals available. Here is our easy guide to get you started and get the right professional first time and every time.

Profoundly Deaf people

Many D/deaf people use British Sign Language (BSL) as their preferred language. These Deaf people may not be able to lip read and they may not use or understand written English. They will usually need a Sign Language Interpreter.

Hard of hearing or Deafened People

Deafened or hard of hearing people often become deaf after they have acquired a spoken language and usually communicate using speech and rely on lipreading and reading from notes. Typically this group of people are likely to require lipspeakers, speech to text reporters or notetakers. Some hard of hearing people have chosen to learn British Sign Language and so they may choose to use to use a  sign language interpreter as well.

Deafblind People

The experience of every Deafblind person is different due to degree of sight and hearing loss and when the loss occurred. Consequently a Deafblind person may use speech, lipreading, writing, fingerspelling, sign language or a combination of these communication methods. The ideal communication professional is difficult to estimate so it is always better to ask the Deafblind person what communication method he or she prefers.

Nigel Cleaver
Nigel CleaverHead of Communications Interpreting
Sign language interpreters transfer meaning from a spoken language into sign language or from sign language in to spoken language. Interpreters will use their skill and knowledge of the two languages and their understanding of the cultural differences to facilitate communication between two people who do not share the same language.
Deaf Relay Interpreters interpret from British Sign Language to other forms of sign language. Deaf relay interpreters will usually work with a registered sign language interpreter to make sure that a Deaf person is fully understood and can understand information within a dialogue. Deaf relay Interpreters are often used when a Deaf person does not use a standardised form of BSL because they have learnt sign language in another country or because of an idiosyncratic use of language.
Lipspeakers repeat spoken messages for people who can lipread. They can be used to ensure clear communication in important situations, or in situations where there is more than one voice to follow. Lipspeakers use facial expression, natural gesture and fingerspelling to support communication.
Sign language translators translate written language (often English) into a signed language (often BSL). Most often this will be for making television programmes, websites or public information accessible for BSL users.
Notetakers produce an accurate summary record of speech within a meeting or lecture, which a deaf person may use for reference.
Speech to text reporters listen to words that are said and use a phonetic keyboard to show the words instantly on a monitor or screen viewed by the user. Speech to Text Reporters provide a complete transcription of spoken words and include notes of environmental sounds, like laughter and applause.
Interpreters for Deafblind people use a range of manual communication methods to enable Deafblind people to understand and participate in interactions. The communication methods include Visual Frame Signing, Hands on Communication and the Deafblind Manual Alphabet. The interpreter will also relay visual and other non-verbal information to the Deafblind person. This can include reactions to what has been said, movement and actions of other people.


All the interpreters have been professional and reliable … impartial in appointments, they are also friendly and helpful. I have great confidence in their service.
AudiologistBrighton and Sussex University Hospitals