Alvechurch Sign Language interpreting company reports record demand in coronavirus crisis


The coronavirus lockdown has triggered an unprecedented rise in demand for video interpretation services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people, an Alvechurch-based interpretation company has reported.

Sign Solutions, which provides British Sign Language [BSL] interpreting face to face and via video across the UK, said it experienced its busiest ever period after lockdown, with a 250% rise in the uptake of its video services.

The company says this reflects the urgent need for better accessibility for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, who face communication barriers that make it even harder for them and their families to navigate the coronavirus pandemic.

Sign Solutions, based on Old Rectory Lane, was founded in 1998 and provides innovative communication services nationwide, including a high-quality and secure video interpreting service, InterpretersLive! The platform is used for a multitude of purposes, from NHS consultations to university and college courses and to enable Deaf BSL users to contact organisations over the phone.

Each of the company’s NRCPD registered and qualified interpreters work on-demand and in addition BSL users can also choose to book their preferred interpreter in advance, before joining the video session securely via an app where their interpreter will be waiting for them.

Clare Vale, managing director of Sign Solutions, said:

“The Deaf and Hard of Hearing community have always faced barriers in accessing information and communication, and the current pandemic has only served to highlight the continuing challenges they face as they struggle to keep abreast of developments whilst in lockdown.

‘Many people have been forced to stay at home and complete important duties like their work, studies and medical appointments virtually, which can be near impossible if the appropriate interpretation facilities aren’t in place, so we’re not surprised to see such a huge demand for our video interpretation service.’

“Through InterpretersLive!, we are not only able to bridge the communication gap between users and their GP or hospital, we can aid their conversations with absolutely anyone – from their colleagues and clients to job interviewers and even their TV or energy provider, so they can carry on their daily lives as normally as possible.”