National Union of British Sign Language Interpreters

Become a member

nubsli-logoYou might already be a member of ASLI or VLP and wonder why you need to join a union. Both organisations provide training and an opportunity for interpreters to work together.

A union defends workers’ rights to ensure they are remunerated appropriately, have fair terms & conditions and work in a safe environment.  Members come from both VLP and ASLI (or are not members of either), both trainee and qualified interpreters and translators.

NUBSLI is part of Unite the union, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, who provide us with the structure needed to represent qualified BSL/English and Deaf interpreters/translators and those in training to become qualified collectively, working towards persuading the government and other providers to recognise appropriate qualifications, skills, experience, pay, and terms and conditions.

NUBSLI has accomplished much so far but can do even more with your support as a member.

The best thing about being a member is the knowledge that collective action is more powerful than individual action.

It’s great having a union that represents the views of the profession, run by people working in the profession.

How to join

Need some help in joining? See our joining instructions page.

Every time you introduce a new member, you make Unite stronger and to recognise your help, Unite will give you a Love2shop card worth up to £25. Find out more on Unite's website

Membership criteria

NUBSLI accepts membership from any regulated qualified BSL/English interpreter and Deaf interpreter or translator working in the UK, and any trainee interpreter or translator who is enrolled on an interpreter training course and has commenced an individual interpreter development programme.

Watch why others have joined NUBSLI

10 Reasons to join NUBSLI

  • Be part of a democratic collective voice and have your say on issues that affect you
  • Representation at the highest levels of government, giving interpreters a political voice
  • Access to a buddy system – find out more
  • Support for both employed and freelance interpreters
  • Access to monthly meetings via webinar and regular email updates
  • Free room bookings for CPD events at Unite regional offices for NUBSLI members
  • Access to CPD via attendance at monthly or annual meetings or webinar training
  • Representation to relevant groups (UKCoD, NRCPD, RBSLI, BDA, NRPSI/NUPIT/PI4J)
  • Support with late payment issues

Member FAQs

How much does it cost?

Membership starts from £3.25 per week, or £1.70 if you’re part-time. You can find out more about membership fees on Unite’s website.

Why do I need a union when I am already part of VLP or ASLI?

NUBSLI is not a professional association. We’re a union and we ensure that your views are represented at Government level. We also actively engage with other stakeholders on your behalf, such as the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) and the Crown Commercial Service (CCS).

We campaign to strengthen your working terms and conditions and to ensure that interpreting and translating remain viable professions.

There are NUBSLI benefits and wider benefits from being part of the union Unite, such as access to a 24 hour free legal helpline, free will writing service, free eye test, discounts on services such as insurance, car breakdown cover and professional financial advice and many more. Find out more on Unite’s website.

Does NUBSLI have a structure?

NUBSLI members democratically elect a Chair person, Branch Secretary, Equalities Officer and Treasurer every three years. These, along with other members, form a committee which guides the work that NUBSLI does.

While there is no regional structure we do have regional organisers.
There are NUBSLI members in every region across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and a regional contact can liaise between you and the committee and distribute resources locally. We hope to get an organiser in every county so that NUBSLI members will have someone more local
to liaise with.

When is NUBSLI’s regular meeting?

Our branch meetings take place on the third Thursday of each month. 
Meetings take place at Unite the Union, Unite House, 128 Theobald’s Road, London, WC1X 8TN.

As we are a national organisation, you can access the meeting using webinar software called GoToWebinar. Details on how to dial in, along with the meeting agenda, are forwarded to members in advance of the branch meeting.

We also use regional hubs and can open up local Unite offices to allow members to meet there and dial in together.  NUBSLI has occasionally visited regions and hosted open events and webinars so that members and non members can find out more about the vital work of NUBSLI in keeping our profession viable.

NUBSLI members can also make use of Unite meeting rooms for CPD opportunities.
Get in touch for more information.

How does NUBSLI communicate with members?

There is much happening at the moment that is having an effect on our profession, including the National Framework Agreement – which has now awarded contracts – changes to Access to Work, and cuts to interpreters’ fees by agencies across the UK. Things happen quickly and it’s important that members are up-to-date on what’s going on.

To make sure that members are kept aware of events, meetings and updates, the committee sends out 2 – 4 emails per month. Each email has a short summary of important issues that are happening, or a meeting report. We also post information on our website and on social media so if you are looking for specific information then you will be able to find it there.

There is also a members’ area on the website where members can access more information on what is happening and access resources that they can use. You can register to join here.

Unite member benefits

Being a NUBSLI member means you are a member of Unite the Union and have access to all the benefits being part of the UK’s largest union brings.

You get free legal advice and access to a free 24 hour legal helpline.* You also get personal injury cover for you and your family. You can read more about that on Unite’s website.

Unite also has partnerships with a range of providers who can offer discounts for members on financial, health, retail and travel services, along with other benefits, such as a free eye test. Have a look at Unite’s website and see some of the other benefits you get from joining NUBSLI.

You must be a member of Unite for a minimum of one month to benefit from legal advice.