Leeds Sign Language Interpreting Service

Sign language is a visual means of communicating using gestures, facial expression and body language. It is used mainly by people who are Deaf or to support those who have a hearing loss. In the UK, the most common sign language used is British Sign Language (BSL). It has its own grammatical structure and syntax; as a language, it is not dependent upon or related to English.

On the 28th April 2022, the BSL Act was given Royal Assent. The Bill recognises British Sign Language as a language of England, Wales and Scotland; it requires the Secretary of State to report on the promotion and facilitation of the use of British Sign Language by ministerial government departments; and to require guidance to be issued in relation to British Sign Language.

Leeds Sign Language Interpreting Service (LSLIS)

Leeds Sign Language Interpreting Service (LSLIS)

LSLIS was established in 1995 and provides a confidential and impartial sign language interpreting service to all deaf people living in Leeds.

We have both an in-house team and access to a pool of freelance interpreters who can interpret in various settings.

The LSLIS team are skilled and experienced in a number of domains, and specialise in medical-based interpreting. They are also professional, friendly, and flexible, so they are easy to work with too!

We ensure that all of the interpreters we use are: –

  • Registered Qualified Interpreters
  • Registered with the NRCPD (National Registers of Communication Professionals for Deaf and Deafblind People)
  • Have a DBS Certificate
  • Have Professional Indemnity Insurance
  • Have photo identification
  • Are trained in a variety of settings
  • Receive continuing professional development to maintain and improve standards

In addition, LSLIS believes strongly in supporting interpreters to develop and grow, so work with the freelance interpreting community and seek ways to provide training or offer advice to trainee or newly qualified interpreters.

Meet the Team

Melissa Barker-Simpsoon
Accessibility Team Manager/British Sign Language Interpreter

My first role within the Society was Administrator of the Leeds Sign Language Interpreting Service, a position I held from 1999 to 2004. I left for a while and returned to the team in 2017. In 2021 I became Accessibility Manager, a role which has given me the opportunity to share my skills and knowledge, while learning and developing within a diverse and talented team.

I have been a registered qualified interpreter for eighteen years and am passionate about improving my practice and helping others to do the same. After training to become a professional supervisor with 360 Supervision, in June 2022 I successfully completed my Diploma in Supervision for Sign Language Interpreters and Allied Professionals.

In my spare time I enjoy writing and began self-publishing in 2018. A few of my books are science fiction and fantasy related, genres I particularly love. If you put those together that’s even better – I might be slightly obsessed with all things Marvel!

Richard Jackson
British Sign Language Interpreter

I started working with the Leeds Society for Deaf and Blind in 2009 following completion of my BA/Hons degree from the University of Wolverhampton. Initially joining the interpreting service as a trainee interpreter.

Following a period of further training, I then qualified as a fully qualified interpreter with a Post-Graduate Diploma from the University of Central Lancashire in 2013. I’ve worked for the interpreting service full time since 2009.


Prior to working for the Society, I was a CSW in a range of settings: schools, colleges, nurseries and in workplaces. I enjoyed this role and gained a lot of knowledge and experience.

Whilst working as a CSW I completed my MA Interpreting BSL/English at the University of Leeds and got my all-important NRCPD yellow badge.

Since February 2017 I have worked here at the Leeds Society for Deaf and Blind People. I have been fortunate to interpret for many people in Leeds and the surrounding area.

Naomi Todd
British Sign Language Interpreter

I have worked as a communication support worker for 10 years supporting children and young people from ages 5-16 years old. In this time, I have interpreted a range of different topics in education settings from Maths, English and Science to performances, college visits and day trips. While in work I completed Signature Levels 1, 2, 3 and 6 in British Sign Language.

In January 2022, I completed Signature Level 6 NVQ diploma in Sign language Interpreting and decided to reduce my working days in order to develop my own freelancing business and widen my interpreting experience in the Deaf community.

I joined the Leeds interpreting team in February 2023. In this short amount of time I have thoroughly enjoyed being involved in the deaf community and meeting people from all walks of life.