Date lodged: 17 January 2018
To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to address the reported shortage of British Sign Language interpreters in rural areas such as Dumfries and Galloway.
Answered by: Maree Todd 31 January 2018
The Scottish Government acknowledges that further work is needed to address this issue. The British Sign Language (BSL) National Plan 2017-2023, published in October 2017, outlines 10 long-term goals and a total of 70 actions, including exploring the further work needed to ensure that a strong and skilled pool of BSL/English interpreters are working efficiently across Scotland. Furthermore, the Scottish Government has introduced the first nationally funded public sector online BSL interpreting Video Relay Service in the UK called contactSCOTLAND-BSL, which provides Deaf BSL users with access to public and voluntary services in Scotland, benefitting rural areas greatly and in line with our Digital Strategy.