Interpreter brings performances to life for deaf audiences

A London woman has been using her sign language skills to help deaf people enjoy live performances.

Now Bibi Lacey-Davidson is hoping her experiences will help inspire other young people to realise the potential career opportunities that British Sign Language (BSL) can present.

Studying to become an interpreter helped introduce Bibi to a whole new world of possibilities including giving her the chance to interpret live performances such as Beauty and the Beast and international music acts at Glastonbury.

As a Registered Sign Language Interpreter (RSLI), Bibi, 26, provides interpreting services to the public and voluntary sectors, as well as their service users.

It was whilst training to lead children’s workshops that Bibi, then aged 15, received her first taste of learning BSL from qualification provider Signature, and she has gone from strength to strength ever since.

She said: “Two deaf children joined our group so we decided some of us should learn BSL so we could easily communicate with them. BSL is such a visual language and I couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed completing my Level 1 qualification so I decided to carry on my training.”

After gaining her Signature Level 1 BSL qualification Bibi then went on to study Level 2 BSL, Level 3 BSL, Level 6 BSL and Level 6 in Interpreting all through Signature. During Bibi’s studies she was encouraged to socialise regularly with the deaf community and it was through the people she met that inspired her to continue.

Bibi added: “I really enjoyed all of my courses both from the experience the trainers provided and the peers that studied with me. Naturally as I progressed the courses became much harder and more involved but the support I received from my teachers and the people I met within the deaf community was fantastic, as well as peer support from other students and colleagues.”

Bibi was so overwhelmed by how welcoming the deaf community was during her training that she herself became a valued member, and now her BSL skills are often put to good use through her voluntary work.

As a voluntary member of the Association of Sign Language Interpreters (ASLI) Bibi chairs a working group, and she is also able to combine her passion for the arts and BSL by regularly interpreting performances, from community theatre through to music festivals and at sporting events.

Bibi said: “I would definitely recommend training to become an interpreter. As with any profession working in such a changing environment can be difficult at times, however the interpreting community is extremely strong and very supportive.

“There are so many people willing to offer advice and share their experiences with you, which is always beneficial whether you are just starting out or are two decades into your career, as we all need a little help from time to time.”

Signature Chief Executive Jim Edwards said: “We want to see BSL being used in all walks of life to break down communication barriers and to enrich lives by opening up new experiences to people.

“Interpreters are a real inspiration and I hope Bibi’s example will be followed by others who are interested in forging a career armed with BSL training.”

For further information about learning BSL or training to become an interpreter visit www.signature.org.uk.

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