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Breaking down barriers: Council partners with SignLive to provide translation and interpretation services

BSL user with SignLive interpreter
BSL user with SignLive interpreter

A Deaf-owned and Deaf-led organisation is partnering with the Council to enhance the organisation’s translation and interpretation services.

SignLive has transformed the lives of Deaf people and provides them with more independence. They have a pool of over 118 fully qualified and accredited interpreters, they are trained in anti-fraud and safe-guarding measures, and our community will be able to access this service 24/7.

The organisation has a great reputation amongst Sheffield’s Deaf community, who are already familiar with using the SignLive app when accessing other key Sheffield services, such as the NHS.

Users will be able to call the Council for free, following a one-time registration on the SignLive app, where they will be able to access the service.

Through this partnership, the Council is now implementing a new video relay service (VRS) and a new video interpreting service (VRI), which is supported by SignLive. This new functionality improves the experience of our Deaf citizens and those with a hearing impairment- supporting them with a live, on-demand British Sign Language (BSL) qualified interpreter when contacting the Council.

Cllr Tom Hunt, Leader of Sheffield City Council, said:

“The launch of SignLive is a brilliant step in making our services more accessible to everyone in our communities. We are paving the way to make sure everyone has the support they need when contacting us.  Introducing this functionality will make make our services more accessible to our deaf community.”

Fiona Mackay, COO of SignLive, said:

“We are thrilled to partner with Sheffield City Council to enhance accessibility for the Deaf community. This collaboration signifies a major step towards inclusive communication, ensuring that Deaf individuals can easily access essential services and support. We look forward to working together to break down barriers and create a more inclusive environment for all residents.”

Paul Ntulila, Community Network Coordinator at Disability Sheffield, said:

“I am delighted to see that Sheffield Council have registered with SignLive, the remote sign language interpreting service for deaf people. It is an amazing service and as the Community Network Coordinator at Disability Sheffield I simply couldn’t do my job with out them. It is hard to imagine how hard things were before they came along, the barriers that deaf faced were insurmountable. For the deaf residents of Sheffield being able to access council services at last is very significant.”

Steph Lotz, Director of Customer Success at SignLive, said:

“In my role, we’ve seen so many brilliant success stories from users of this service.

“One of these includes a Deaf lady who was pregnant and unable to book a BSL interpreter at the last minute, however, she could access the SignLive app on her phone and was able to use this while in labour to communicate with the GP and midwife.

“As a user of SignLive myself, this service has profoundly changed my life, making me feel significantly more independent and secure having instant access to a BSL interpreter in my pocket 24/7. This service not only enhances my personal life but also enables me to perform my job effectively, without any barriers, making me feel more integrated into mainstream society.

“It is brilliant to see this service being brought into Sheffield City Council, I am so pleased for those in the BSL community that they can now have independence in areas of their life that may have been difficult to access prior to this being launched.”

If users would like to access the service in person it is now available to access at First Point, Howden House, 1 Union Street, Sheffield S1 2SH. They are also plans to create more face-to-face access points in the future.