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Questions and Answers


Common Questions We Get Asked Here at Team CommuniKate Limited: 

What is Sign Language?

Sign Languages commonly develop in Deaf communities, which can include Interpreters and friends and families of Deaf people as well as people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing themselves.

Sign Language is a language which, instead of acoustically conveyed sound patterns, uses visually transmitted sign patterns to convey meaning by simultaneously combining hand shapes, orientation and movement of the hands, arms or body, and facial expressions to fluidly express a speaker's thoughts. 

In linguistic terms, sign languages is as rich and complex as any oral language, despite the common misconception that they are not "real languages". Professional linguists have studied many sign languages and found them to have every linguistic component required to be classed as true languages.

Sign systems are sometimes developed within A single family. For instance, when hearing parents with no sign language skills have a deaf child, an informal system of signs will naturally develop, unless repressed by the parents. The term for these mini-languages is home sign (sometimes home sign or kitchen sign)

British Sign Language and American Sign Language are quite different, although in relation to their linguistic value, lots of Signs used in BSL are established from the ASL Alphabet.

 On occasion, where the prevalence of Deaf people is high enough, a Deaf Sign Language has been taken up by an entire local community. Famous examples of this include Martha’s Vineyard Sign Language in the USA, Kata Kolok in a village in Bali, Adamorobe Sign Language in Ghana and Yucatec Maya sign language in Mexico.

Types of Sign Language

Sign Supported English (SSE) - Another form of Sign Language used in Britain is known as Sign Supported English (SSE). SSE is not A language in itself. SSE uses the same signs as BSL but they are used in the same order as spoken English. SSE is used to support spoken English, especially within schools where children with hearing impairments are learning English grammar along side their signing, or by people who mix mainly with hearing people.

Signed English or SE - A signing system as well. It has one sign to represent each word in the English language, but is not a language like BSL. It is intended to be used to help with reading and writing, and has important signs to teach grammar.

International Sign - Also known as IS, is an international auxiliary language used at international meetings such as the World Federation of the Dead (WFD) Congress and events such as the Deaflympics.

Paget Gorman Signed Speech - A signing system used with speech to help those with language difficulties. There are 37 basic sign which when combined can make over 4000 more complex one.

Pidgin Signed English or PSE - A very crude signing system. It combines elements of BSL and spoken English to allow communication between hearing people and deaf who only know the strict confines of sign language.  It is not recommended but can be used when needed.

American Sign Language (ASL) - It is A complete, complex language that employs signs made by moving the hands combined with facial expressions and postures of the body. It is the primary language of many North Americans who are deaf and is one of several communication options used by people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

American Sign Language is the predominant sign language of Deaf community in the United States, in the English-speaking parts of Canada, and in parts of Mexico. Although the United Kingdom and the United States share English as a spoken and written language , British Sign Language (BSL) is quite different from ASL, and the two sign languages are not mutually intelligible.

British Sign Language (BSL) - is the sign language used in the United Kingdom and is the first or preferred language of Deaf people in the UK; the number of signers has been put at 30,000 to 70,000. The language makes use of space and involves movement of the hands. Body, face and head. Many thousands of people who are not Deaf also use BSL, as hearing relatives of Deaf people, Sign Language Interpreters or as a result of other contact with the British Deaf community.  

Finger spelling - A signing system generally used alongside sign language for one of two reasons. It may be that a name or other such word needs spelling out, and therefore finger spelling is the only way to do this. Place names and people’s names do not generally have a sign of their own and thus they need to be finger spelt. But finger spelling is also a way of giving greater clarity or emphasis to something. Sing language can be very expressive and beautiful.

BSL finger spelling is also different from ASL, as it uses the two hands whereas ASL uses one. BSL is also distinct from Irish Sign Language (ISL) (ISG in the ISO system) which is more closely related to French Sign Language (FSL) and ASL.

Research shows that babies are not born with A blank slate of their brains when it comes to language. Sign language enables infants to speak earlier than speech language in the early stage of physical development. Next generations might be able to speak both vocally and manually.

What Happens when a Deaf/Deafblind Student takes an Exam?

CommuniKate Limited's Assessments and Exams Protocol for all BSL CSA's/ DB CG's is subject to the following memory aid in accordance with the JCQ Regulations:

  • I am here to Sign in British Sign Language (or SSE if required)

  • I can’t Sign words or phrases that the examiner thinks the student should have learnt but I can finger-spell them

  • I am not allowed to Sign anything the examiner didn’t write (e.g. Text from a book, maps, tables, etc.)

  • I can Sign the questions more than once but I MUST NOT explain the question(s)

  • If a question contains a symbol (e.g. in math) then I must fingerspell the word if it is written in English BUT I can Sign it if is written in symbol-form

  • I can not explain to the student what the examiner wants them to write

  • The student can fingerspell answers or Sign an answer if it is one-word only and I can write this down

  • I MUST NOT prompt the student in any way

  • I am not a Learning Support Assistant and am here to communicate the questions as instructed

  • I must not indicate if an answer is correct or wrong

  • The student must focus on the assessment/exam and must not engage in other discussions                                                          

Failure to comply with the regulations contained above has the potential to constitute malpractice which may impact on the candidate’s result(s).

What parties are involved at CommuniKate Ltd.?

  • BSL CSA - British Sign Language Communication Support Assistant. These are persons who work for us as PAYE or Agency Workers. They provide Communication Support to Deaf and Deafblind persons to ensure they are fairly involved, encouraged, social and conversant at all times.

  • DB CG – Deafblind Communicator Guide. A Communicator Guide enables Deafblind individuals to access their local and wider community for social or leisure activities, shopping, health appointments or assisting with correspondence and telephone calls.

  • BSL Interpreter – A BSL CSA who is certified in one or all of the following:

  • Level 6 NVQ Certificate in British Sign Language

  • Level 6 Diploma in Sign Language Translation

  • Level 6 NVQ Diploma in Sign Language Interpreting

  • BSL Translator – A BSL CSA that signs images from written text. The translator converts text into finger spelling, number and SSE where allowed or appropriate. It essentially translates the regular alphabet and wording into the BSL Language as closely and linguistically relevant as possible.

  • Service User - the Deaf or Deafblind Service User. This is the person with whom we engage in provisions.

  • Guardian of the Service User - This is the point of contact for the Service User when they themselves are not in a position to liaise with CommuniKate Ltd. regarding the services we provide. Oftentimes, it is the direct family of the Service User that CommuniKate Ltd. liaise with in order to arrange, change, adjust, confirm Assignments etc.

  • Purchasing Authorities - Head of Budget & Authorised Signatory of CommuniKate Ltd's. Terms of Contractual obligations whom we invoice for services rendered. The Purchasing Authority will regularly confer with us regarding provisions. Examples are Bucks Council, Slough Borough Council, the NHS, DWP and Colleges. 

  • Client - the Client is the person who contacts CommuniKate Ltd. and subsequently appoints us as their preferred provider of Services to their Service User. This can be the Social Worker who represents the Service User and/or their family or staff members in various departments. We also work with "Category Three: Private Clients" whereby the Service User and/or their Guardian prefers us to invoice them directly for services rendered. 

  • SSE – Signed Supported English. This is where the BSL CSA Signs at the same time as written or spoken word into relatable BSL Signs. It is not a language in its own right and holds no linguistic value compared to BSL.

  • BSL Relay Interpreter / BSL Relay Communication Support Assistant - A BSL Relay Interpreter/BSL Relay Communication Support Assistant is Deaf and works alongside a BSL Interpreter who is usually hearing (or they could Deaf, Deafened or Hard of Hearing and have their own Access to Work Interpreter with them). You may wonder why the Relay Support needs to be present and this is so that the Deaf person can relay the information to the Client/Service User in a way that said person can comprehend. This is usually because the Client/Service User has limited language skills or has a learning difficulty or mental health problem which affects their ability to communicate effectively. Or it could be because there are multi-lingual and/or multi-regional variations of Sign that need to be considered and provisioned. The Relay Support, being Deaf, will be skilled at providing an effective means of communicative rapport between the BSL Interpreter and the Client/Service User.

Categories explained:

  • Category One is the “personal budget” client whereby the Council pay us to provide services directly to the Service User.

  • Category Two is the “commissioning body” Client.

  • Category Three is the "private contract" Client whereby the Service User (or a designated person) pay us for our Services directly via an invoice.

Do I need to sign a CommuniKate Ltd. contract?

 Yes, we require you to sign our CommuniKate Ltd. T&C’s contract. This will be emailed to you in full and you may sign and scan it back to us or sign it and post it back to us. Whatever is most convenient for you. We suggest you take your time and carefully peruse the contract in its entirety to remain confident of all contractual obligations before you sign and date it. The Contract will be dispensed specifically to the individual Purchase Authority

What if I need to contact a representative of CommuniKate Ltd.?

You may contact us on our mobile 07757212030. The CommuniKate Ltd. Business Mobile will be available to all Clients between the hours of 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday for any work-related correspondence and between the hours of 5-7pm Monday to Friday; the latter solely for any other notifications regarding changes to a Booking.

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