National Union of British Sign Language Interpreters

Join us


If you’re an ASLI or VLP member you might wonder why you need to join a union.

A union is very different to your professional organisation because it defends workers’ rights to ensure they are remunerated appropriately, have fair terms & conditions and work in a safe environment.  NUBSLI members are from VLP and ASLI (or some are members of neither), both trainee and qualified interpreters and translators.

NUBSLI is part of Unite the union, the UK and Ireland’s second largest union. Unite 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.

We have accomplished much so far but can do even more with your support as a member. Watch our video below and see why you should join NUBSLI.

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

We're stronger together

How to join

  1. 1 Join Unite. Follow these instructions.
  2. 2 Wait for your membership number
  3. 3 Send us your membership number

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.

10 reasons to join NUBSLI

  1. Be part of a democratic collective voice and have your say on issues that affect you
  2. Representation at the highest levels of government, giving interpreters a political voice
  3. Access to a buddy system – find out more
  4. Support for both employed and freelance interpreters and translators
  5. Access to regular meetings via webinar and email updates
  6. Free room bookings for CPD events at Unite regional offices or online for NUBSLI members
  7. Access to CPD via attendance at NUBSLI meetings or webinar training
  8. Representation to relevant groups (Registration bodies, Associations, DDPOs, NRPSI/NUPIT/PI4J)
  9. Support with late payment issues

Member FAQs

  • Membership starts from £3.45 per week, or £2.03 if you’re part-time. You can find out more about membership fees on Unite’s website.

  • Yes! NUBSLI welcomes both trainee and fully qualified interpreters.

  • 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.

  • No. You can be self-employed or employed by a company and still be a member of NUBSLI.

  • 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.

  • No, only the branch secretary has access to your personal details via Unite’s secure portal. The wider committee have access to your name and email address for correspondence purposes.

  • Our branch meetings take place online every two months on the third Thursday of that month

    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.

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

  • To make sure that members are kept aware of events, meetings and updates, the committee emails several times a 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.

 woman talking on phone

NUBSLI buddies

NUBSLI is passionate about supporting its members. It can be daunting if you’re starting out as a freelancer or if you’re working as an employed interpreter or translator. Sometimes you just need someone you can turn to for a bit of advice. That’s why NUBSLI has set up its buddy scheme.

Find out more about buddying

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.