The difference between a Registered Sign Language Interpreter (RSLI) and Trainee Sign Language Interpreter (TSLI)

The National Register of Communication Professionals working with Deaf and Deafblind People (NRCPD) have two registration categories for BSL Interpreters: Registered Sign Language Interpreter (RSLI) and Trainee Sign Language Interpreter (TSLI).

Registered Sign Language Interpreter (RSLI)

Registered Sign Language Interpreters (RSLIs) hold a Level 6 qualification in sign language interpreting and a Level 6 qualification in British Sign Language. RSLIs have been assessed against the National Occupational Standards for Interpreting.

There are some settings where only RSLIs should be employed, such as legal settings, court, mental health settings and child protection cases.

Trainee Sign Language Interpreter (TSLI)

Trainee Sign Language Interpreters (TSLIs) are working towards, and therefore have not yet completed, a Level 6 qualification in sign language interpreting and a Level 6 qualification in British Sign Language. TSLIs are assessed against the National Occupational Standards for Trainee Interpreters. The person who carries out this assessment must be both a qualified sign language interpreter (RSLI) and qualified A1 Assessor. The NRCPD also requires TSLIs to undergo regular supervision with a qualified supervisor so that they can reflect on their interpreting practice.

Trainee Sign Language Interpreters (TSLIs) have not been assessed against the National Occupational Standards for Interpreting and so are limited in the range of assignments they can take.

TSLIs should not be employed for assignments that could have an adverse or significant effect to human life, such as legal settings, court, mental health settings and child protection cases.

Communication Support Worker

Communication Support Workers (CSWs) hold a Level 3 qualification in British Sign Language or above. CSWs support Deaf people with communication in a range of settings, including school, college and at work.

Book a BSL Interpreter

To book a BSL Interpreter, Lipspeaker, Note-taker, palantypist, CSW or Deaf-relay interpreter visit our Intepreting page for more information or to submit a booking enquiry.

Training to become a BSL Interpreter

If you’re interesting in training to become a BSL Interpreter we offer the full route from beginner through to RSLI Interpreter. Visit our Training page to see our courses or find out what the training route to become a qualified BSL Interpreter is here.