Interpreter Brain Drain? NUBSLI’s Exit Survey of British Sign Language/English Interpreters

imageNUBSLI has done another excellent piece of work following on from the annual working conditions report out early 2015. This report found that an alarming number of sign language interpreters were exiting the profession. Now they’ve collected data by adding an exit interview to the website to find out how many were leaving or diversifying their income and what their plans were.

An astonishing 79 interpreters filled out the survey in the first four weeks indicating this is an ongoing issue. To put this number into perspective that’s around 7 percent depending on what figures you use (in this case NRCPD, RBSLI and SASLI combined). When there is a proposed shortage of qualified interpreters, that’s a big loss, especially when most of those leaving are skilled and experienced.

Recent work on updating a database of registered interpreters has provisionally shown that it’s either those new to the profession dropping out or the more experienced that are leaving. So even though numbers of NRCPD Trainee interpreters remain stable at just over 200, as they become Registered the total numbers of interpreters should be increasing faster than they are at present. NRCPD has been asked previously if they collect data on those not re-registering and they have said they do not.

The NUBSLI report is comprehensive and well worth a read.

The original article and report can be found on The Nub – NUBSLI’s news page:

An Uncertain Future: Findings from a Profession Exit Survey of British Sign Language/English Interpreters.


DWP on verge of repeating AtW mistakes.


NUBSLI, the National Union of British Sign Language Interpreters met with the DWP yesterday and can report that the DWP, instead of listening to the concerns and recommendations made by the Work & Pension Select Committed, seem about to repeat these very mistakes again.

It is clear that the DWP will contract ATW services using the framework agreement. What does this mean?

– No choice and control.
– No safeguarding (as subcontracted services do not have to adhere to providing NRCPD or registered RSLI/TSLIs)
– Caps to interpreter fees should you not wish to use the framework agreement etc.

Lessons have not been learnt from the past eighteen months.

There has been no consultation with the Deaf community. Again.
There has been no consultation with interpreters. Again.

Deaf BSL users are being represented by four organisations: BDA, NDCS, AOHL and Signature. One of these organisations has already registered an interest…

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Campaign highlights from 2014

If this campaign was not running, then AtW would surely be in a worse mess for Deaf people right now and probably be on the way out in the name of cuts. Keep it up Stop Changes! Let’s not see everything we fought for over 30 years destroyed.


The #stopchanges2atw group have been extremely busy over the past year. A lot has happened and there is a lot of work which we are enormously proud of. We thought we’d share a few of the key moments of the campaign and also what’s happened with AtW to remind you how far we’ve come.


Tom Watson, described by Limping Chicken as a “Labour Big Beast”, shows support for our campaign. We were very grateful for Tom’s support which got attention for our campaign and also, more importantly, raised awareness about the issue and what was happening within AtW.

We we’re delighted that Jenny Sealey joined the campaign and became our spokesperson. Jenny is hugely respected, and has experienced cuts not only to her own support, but has seen other people’s budgets cut too. Having witnessed the impact these changes were having across…

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