Using a British Sign Language Interpreter
Deaf people who use British Sign Language (BSL) often go to their local Chaplain, or specialist minister for Deaf people to conduct the funerals of family members in BSL. However, it should be remembered that many Deaf people come from families where most of the members are not Deaf and may not have knowledge of the Deaf community.
It is often much easier for non-Deaf family members to arrange funerals because they can use the phone and communicate easily with the funeral director, but care needs to be taken over finding out what the Deaf person really wants. (For example, typically, a Deaf person may marry someone who is also Deaf but the children will probably be hearing. If one partner dies, the wishes of the surviving partner may be overlooked if the children arrange the funeral without an interpreter involved.)
The funerals of Deaf people are often extremely well attended by members of the Deaf community and this can sometimes be a surprise to other members of the family who may not have realised the extent of the Deaf community. If the funeral is a short service at the crematorium, the Deaf community may wish to hold a memorial service in order that several people can pay tribute to the person who has died.
The normal convention at funerals whereby the family sit at the front may need to be discussed if there are likely to be a large number of Deaf people since they will need to see the interpreter. These conversations need to be sensitively handled.
Sign Language interpreters are highly trained professionals who will need to be paid for their services just like anyone else taking a professional role in the funeral.
Frequently asked questions