Content guide - British Sign Language (BSL) quality assurance standard

This standard outlines the clinical assurance process for creating BSL translations of pre-recorded videos for the NHS. It also includes guidance on video production.

BSL and accessibility

Providing BSL translations of pre-recorded audio and video content is a WCAG 2.2 AAA criterion. The NHS is legally required to meet, at a minimum, Level AA. AAA is best practice.

Make sure your original video is high quality health content

Before you create a BSL translation, your original video must meet the requirements in the Standard for creating health content. This includes, for example:

  • getting clinicians or other subject matter experts to review your content
  • meeting relevant laws, such as data protection regulations
  • focusing on user needs and, where possible, testing your content

Quality assuring the BSL translation

You must get BSL videos independently assured by a Deaf-led BSL supplier.

1. Choose a supplier with appropriately qualified staff

Your supplier must have sign language translators or interpreters who are registered with the National Registers of Communications Professionals Working with Deaf and Deafblind People (NRCPD).

The supplier should use 2 NRCPD registered translators to assure the video: 1 to translate it and the other to check their work. If this is not possible, they can use 1 registered translator and 1 registered interpreter or 2 NRCPD registered interpreters.

The translators or interpreters should be trained in medical translation and have experience in the healthcare field.

2. Get the video translated and checked

1 translator must present the BSL translation on video. The other translator must check that the translation is accurate and clear.

3. Document what you have done

Record the details of both NRCPD registered sign language translators or interpreters including:

  • their names
  • their registration numbers
  • evidence of current registration
  • which translator or interpreter translated the content and which checked it

We are also looking into creating BSL-only videos. We'll share guidance when we've researched and tested BSL-only content.

Production guidance for BSL translations of pre-recorded videos

  • Use a diverse and representative selection of presenters.
  • There are regional variations of BSL but try to cater for a nationwide Deaf audience.
  • Talk with the supplier to understand if there is anything in the script that would benefit from a graphic ("transliteration") on screen to help users understand it.
  • Do not hide any key content. Make sure BSL users can see the presenter at the same time as any graphics, text or other visual elements.
  • Place the translator or interpreter in the bottom right-hand corner of the video. The BSL presenter size should be at least 1/6th of the screen.
  • Make sure the video is culturally appropriate by working with the BSL community, testing it, or getting feedback.

Find out more

Developing this standard

This standard was created by the NHS website team in collaboration with:

  • the British Deaf Association
  • NHS 24 (Scotland)
  • the RNID (Royal National Institute for Deaf People)
  • SignHealth

It follows the process used for approving videos for the NHS website and NHS YouTube channel. It also aligns with the Accessible Information Standard implementation guidance (NHS England).

The standard is new and we're still testing it. Please feed back.

Help us improve this guidance

Share insights or feedback and take part in the discussion. We use GitHub as a collaboration space. All the information on it is open to the public.

Read more about how to feedback or share insights.

If you have any questions, get in touch with the service manual team.

Updated: January 2024