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Accessible Events and Language Support Professionals (LSPs)

Deaf and hard of hearing people can be supported by Language Support Professionals (LSP). These are professional services and include:

British or Irish Sign Language interpreter

British Sign Language (BSL) is a language that uses visual gestures and space by using the hands, body, face and head and has its own principles of grammar. BSL interpreters translate the spoken language to BSL for the deaf person. They can also translate BSL into spoken language if the deaf person wishes. BSL has regional dialects. If this is a potential issue, it is best to have the interpreter present (rather than on video), so that they can clarify anything. Irish Sign Language (ISL) is the preferred language of some deaf people in Northern Ireland as well as in Ireland.

You do not always have to provide ‘live’ information through an interpreter – you could give signed information out on video, CD-ROM, DVD or on a website.

You could consider video interpreting. This means using an interpreter through a videophone rather than in person. This is useful for short, last-minute, one-to-one meetings.

International Sign Language is sometimes used instead of BSL where people are from minority ethnic groups.

Relay interpreter

Sometimes you might need to get a relay interpreter. This is an interpreter or a deaf person who puts BSL into a certain form so that the deaf person can understand it. Get advice when you book to make sure you get the right kind of interpreter.

Deafblind communicator and guide

A deafblind interpreter will communicate with a deafblind person if they are not able to use other forms of communication support. There are different methods of communication used by deafblind people including the deafblind manual alphabet and the block alphabet. The interpreter will describe non-verbal information such as people’s reactions.


A lipspeaker conveys the speaker’s message to a deaf or hard of hearing person using unvoiced speech supported by gesture and facial expressions. If the deaf or hard of hearing person who is lipreading requests it, the lipspeaker can also support the message using finger spelling. This method of communication is preferred by people who use English.

Note taker

A note taker now works mostly electronically, noting down on a computer the main points of what is being said.

Speech-To-Text Reporter (STTR) or Palantypist

The STTR uses a palantype or stenograph machine to produce verbatim report of what is said and any other environmental sounds such as applause. This will appear instantly on a screen for the deaf or hard of hearing person to read. One advantage of using STT reporting is that you can ask for a transcript of what has been said.


The information contained in this section was taken from the following sources: