Strictly has seen an explosion in British Sign Language learners, but…

29th November 2021

It’s been brilliant to see how Rose Ayling-Ellis has promoted British Sign Language during her appearances on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, with her partner, Giovanni Pernice being a willing student. Judges, presenters and fellow dancers have used some signs they have been picking up along the way too. It’s great too see hearing people making an effort to communicate in BSL (British Sign Language)  

Since this series began, there’s been an explosion in people signing up for BSL courses. Wonderful news. 

However, not all sign language courses are what they advertise. Some are downright misleading. So how can you tell if the course you’re signing up for is genuinely accredited by an appropriate awarding body and going to enable you to progress to the next course? 

Infographic for learning British Sign LanguageI’ve seen online BSL ‘Level One and Two’ courses advertised for a bargain £14.99 and with a mere 8 hours and 40 minutes’ worth of lesson time. You apparently get an ‘accredited certificate of achievement’ for another £39 once you’ve passed an online multiple choice test. 

Another ‘BSL Level One and Two’ online course is advertised for £29 and claims to be suitable for “suitable for those who aspire to become a BSL interpreter or translator.” Accredited by all sorts of official-looking bodies. It claims that “upon completing the course you’ll be efficient and expertise in british sign language (sic)”… but clearly not English. 

It must be quality training, right? Not so…

When is a level one course not a level one? When it doesn’t at least meet the following criteria:

Beware of the cheap and cheerful offers of short courses. It may sound official, but if it’s not accredited by Signature or iBSL, you very likely aren’t getting the quality teaching you need. 

If you want to progress to being a sign language interpreter, it takes years’ of study and commitment. There are 4 language levels and then interpreter training. It can take an average of 7 years and a significant investment, but we can promise you’ll enjoy a rewarding career with plenty of variety and work with some amazing deaf people. 

For more information on our corporate and individual training, visit We can also refer you to some fabulous Deaf BSL tutors and provide more guidance on training as an interpreter.  

sign language interpreter

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