Deaf interpreting services

The Kent Deaf Interpreting Service (KDIS) provides British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters in people's preferred languages to allow you to access information and services.

For Kent residents, we offer a variety of communication services. If you need any help, just let us know, we are available from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. You can:

For questions outside of these hours, contact the Royal Association for Deaf People by calling or texting 07974 32556.

If you need an interpreter out of hours email as soon as you can with the details of the out of hours booking you made.

We can provide BSL/ English interpreters in a face to face location between Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing people.

British Sign Language (BSL) translators translate written English into British Sign Language. It's a highly technical skill that involves translating complex written documents from English into BSL.

Translations may include broadcast translations, for example, broadcasts on TV screens in public buildings, in-vision translations of TV shows for national TV, or translations of technical documents, like contracts.

Deaf Relay Interpreters will help you to fully understand what's being said to you, especially if you:

  • have a specific or complex language need
  • have learning disabilities
  • have mental health problems
  • use rare signs or what is described as “Grassroots Deaf” (a complex BSL structure mixed with issues of understanding basic concepts)
  • are not fluent in BSL as your primary means of communication.

Additionally, they work with Deaf interpreters who aren't fluent in British Sign Language by adapting what the hearing interpreters sign.

Using their fingers, a manual deafblind interpreter will trace letters and spell out words on your hand.

Alternatively depending on your needs, you can choose a visual frame deafblind interpreter, who will sign on a much smaller scale.

For Deaf people who don't speak BSL, our staff will get arrange an International Sign Language Interpreter.

A lip speaker uses unvoiced speech to communicate with lip-readers. In order to do this, they need to accurately reproduce the shapes and phrasing of words, as well as facial gestures, as well as the rhythm of speech.

A speech to text reporter or palantypist creates a digital copy of everything said between Deaf and hearing people. This includes:

  • all spoken words
  • surrounding noises
  • situations
  • laughter
  • applause
  • murmuring for example.

Transcription can either be done by a manual or electronic note taker.

Manual note takers take high-quality notes in a variety of settings, including education, healthcare, and the workplace.

An electronic note taker uses two linked laptop computers to record notes that can be re-formatted by a Deaf person later.

Trainee Sign Language Interpreters (TSLI) are people who are doing an approved training course for sign language interpreters or translators.

They are supervised throughout the process, and are endorsed by a registered sign language interpreter or translator as safe to practice as a TSLI.

Your employer can look into:

  • adding a Video Relay Service (VRS) to their website
  • using a Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) to communicate with you in person or remotely.

You can connect to an interpreter with any mobile device or computer.