Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Contacting the service …

How can I give feedback about the service?
We welcome feedback on our service – it helps us improve what we do.

feedbackYou can use our Feedback page to leave a comment or you can upload a document or BSL video letting us know what you think.

  • You can give feedback using our form here <<<

We also welcome feedback in other ways – feel free to contact us by:

  • You can send an email to:
  • You can ask to see a manager ‘there and then’ if one is available (depending on work/hours)
  • You can ask for a ‘Call-back’ from a Supervisor/Manager – ask any of the online interpreters
  • Face-to-face, make an appointment at the office – we can also come and meet you if suitable.
How to make a complaint? > BSL Video <

How to make a complaint?

A complaint is when you are not satisfied with our service, lack of service or about the standard of our service.

Complaints help us to improve our service.

Watch in BSL here

Video here


[Video refers to SASLI which is now known as SRLPDC]
Read text here

Summary of our Complaints Procedure

What is a complaint?

A complaint is when you are not satisfied with our service, lack of service or about the standard of our service. Complaints help us to improve our service.

What you can complain about You can complain about:

  • Failure to provide a service
  • Our standard of service
  • Treatment or attitude by a worker of Sign Language Interactions (Sli)
  • Failure to follow proper procedures
  • You have to tell us why you are making a complaint (including date, time and who the complaint is about).

Complaints Procedure

  • You can make your complaint in person, by email, by video letter, or in writing.
  • We have a three-stage complaints procedure.
  • We will always try to deal with your complaint quickly.
  • But if the matter (complaint) will need a further detailed investigation, we will tell you and keep you updated on our progress. This may take longer.

Handling your complaint

  • We will acknowledge your complaint by email, by video letter, or in writing within 2 working days
  • We aim to resolve complaints within 21 working days
  • If urgent we will try and resolve the complaint in 2 working days
  • We will keep you informed of the progressWe will let you know the outcome/decision by email, by video letter, or in writing.

Getting help to make your complaint

We understand that there may be reasons you cannot make a complaint yourself. We can accept complaints from a representative appointed by you if you give them permission. This can be a friend, relative or an advocate.

Stage 1

  • If you have a complaint, please contact the Sli office (administration team) as soon as you can (by email, by video letter, or in writing) and let us know what the complaint is about
  • We will always try and resolve complaints straight away
  • If we cannot resolve it straight away or you are not happy with the outcome, you can ask us to consider your complaint at Stage 2.

Stage 2

  • The Finance and Administration Manager will consider your complaint and let you know what happens next
  • Further investigation may be needed and we will tell you how long this may take
  • If you are not fully satisfied, the complaint will be dealt with by the Company Director.

Stage 3.

Depending on the nature of your complaint, we may pass your complaint to SRLPDC (The Scottish Register of Language Professionals with the Deaf Community (previously SASLI)) or NRCPD (National Registers of Communication Professionals working with Deaf and Deafblind People) or to the contracting body of the service to deal with (NHS, Local Authority etc.).

I'm hard of hearing/deafened, can I use this service?

contactSCOTLAND-BSL is primarily aimed at deaf people who use BSL as their first or preferred means to communication.

BSL is a visual gestural language, has its own distinctive grammatical structure, which is at times strikingly different from English.

HoH and deafened people would find it better to use services such as Next Generation Text (NGT) Service which has replaced Text Relay (also known as TextDirect and Typetalk)

Options of ‘Type & Read’, ‘Speak & Read’ and ‘Type & Hear’ are available via NGT.

For more information on NGT please refer to their web pages >>> here

How do I call a Deaf person?

It is as simple as making any other call

All you have to do is call, using your usual phone (landline/mobile), contactSCOTLAND-BSL on 0131 510 4555

For more detailed information and some tips – visit our ‘Public Authorities’ page.

I'm a Deaf BSL user, how do I receive calls? >BSL Video<

Simple, by using the same app you use to make calls?

For Deaf BSL users to receive calls from public authorities you will have to have the ‘interpreternow’ App running.

If it’s not running we can’t connect to you.

As a hearing person, can I call ANY deaf person?

Potentially yes, but in short, No!

When you call contactSCOTLAND (0131 510 4555) we can only put you in contact with deaf people who are already contactSCOTLAND registered users – and are ‘on-line’ at the time.

More information on our ‘Public Authorities’ page.

What happens when I receive a call from a Deaf person?

It is as simple as answering any other call

Again, same as making a call – for more detailed information and some tips – visit our ‘how-to-use’ page

Can I have a 'consultation' with my GP using contactSCOTLAND? >BSL Video<

contactSCOTLAND-BSL is not a Video Remote Interpreting Service (VRI)

contactSCOTLAND-BSL can be used to contact your GP surgery and make appointments etc – it is not a replacement service for visiting your doctor.

Can I still use NHS 24?

Yes you can.

contactSCOTLAND-BSL can be used in the same way to contact NHS 24 as the previous service – this has not stopped – just the name has changed.

Can I use contactSCOTLAND for advice? >BSL Video<

No you can’t.

contactSCOTLAND-BSL on-line interpreters can only ‘interpret’ between you and who you are calling. The same as in other situations where an interpreter is being used.

Please don’t ask the interpreter “What do you think?” Or “What do you think I should do?”

What about regional dialects in BSL? >BSL Video<

Not a problem!

All our interpreters still work in the community and are skilled and experienced in adapting to regional variations in BSL.

We not only have a wide knowledge of regional variations in Scotland but within the UK as a whole.

Using the service …

VRS - VRI: What's the difference? > BSL Video <

We have created a short video explaining the differences between a VRS (Video Relay Service) and VRI (Video Remote Interpreting) …

Can I ask for different interpreter? > BSL Video <

Yes. When you connect to the online interpreter, you can ask to be switched to another interpreter.

Is there a 'dress code' or 'behaviour' expected when using the service?

Yes! We expect both our on-line interpreters and callers to be appropriately dressed and behave in a professional manner!

  • treat a call the same way as you would a face-to-face meeting – clothes – behaviour – attitude etc
  • sometimes bright clothes can make it difficult for the interpreter to make out what you are signing clearly
  • please do not eat or drink when ‘on-line’
  • treat the on-line interpreter the same was as you expect to be treated
  • our on-line interpreters have the right to ‘cut off’ calls that they feel are inappropriate.
Do I need to have the telephone number I want you to call? >BSL Video<

Yes! You will need the number of who you want to call

  • If you have the number of who you want to call this will make the whole process quicker and smoother
  • If you do not have the number at hand – check your paperwork – or do a quick search on the internet
  • Unfortunately our on-line interpreters do not have the time to look up numbers for you – an emergency call may be waiting to connect!

As a BSL user How can I ensure the best possible quality of service? >BSL Video<

To get the best possible results you should consider the following:

  • Avoid patterned clothes – dark clothes of one colour is best
  • Have a calm background – no visual distractions (they use up bandwidth)
  • Have good lighting – make sure you can be seen clearly

What connection do I need?

FAQs will appear here & below

The faster the better, but not always needed?

  • For Deaf BSL users to use contactSCOTLAND-BSL it will work better if you have a good reliable broadband connection if your using a PC, Mac or laptop. It may be better to have a cable connection rather than using your WiFi (but WiFi can work).
  • If your using a smartphone/tablet – make sure your WiFi is strong and that you have good connection.
  • You can use your smartphone/tablet using 3G or 4G with a good signal.
  • Sometimes you may experience a frozen screen when connected to contactSCOTLAND, this could be down to the connection.
  • Remember – having a plain background will transmit far better than a ‘busy’ background such as a room, windows etc.

Other users in the household can use up bandwidth – examples:

  • Playing on-line games
  • Watching on-line films
  • Downloading films/music
Practical tips for improving your broadband speed from Ofcom

Practical tips for improving your broadband speed

There are a number of factors which can affect the speed of your broadband connection.

Ofcom have published a helpful guide that provides tips that could help bring your connection back up to speed.

Do I need special software? >BSL Video<

No you do not.

If you are working in the public sector all you need to contact contactSCOTLAND is a phone and call 0131 510 4555

If you are a Deaf BSL user all you need is the ‘interpreternow’ app which can be downloaded for your Android/Apple Smartphone/tablet – or you can connect direct from your PC/Mac – further information here <<<

What phone/tablet do I need?

FFcameraYou will need at least …

  • You will need an Apple or Android phone or tablet(currently not available for Blackberry or Windows phones)
  • Your phone/tablet has to be able to access the internet
  • You will need a ‘front – facing’ camera(so you can see the interpreter on screen and they can see you)
  • The App is just under 9Mb to download.
How much space do I need to install the App on my phone/tablet?

The App is under 18-20MBs in size

You will need at least 20mb free space on your phone or tablet.

(Android app: 18MB | Apple IOS app: 20MB)

It is the same size as around 10 high quality pictures!

Get your app from either Apples’s App Store or Google’s Play Store.

Do I have to pay for the 'App' from Apple or Google? >BSL Video<

No you do not – Apps are free form Apple’s App Store & Google Play.

Both Apple and Google have a mixture of ‘paid for’ and ‘free’ apps.

apple  Google  

the contactSCOTLAND-BSL app is free – you do not have give payment details or pay for this.

contactSCOTLAND-BSL is the service – the app is the software

Remember – get the right App:

  • Apple App Store is for IOS devices (iPhone, iPad)
  • Google Play is for Android devices (smartphones, & tablets: Nexus, Samsung, Sony, htc  etc)

If your using a computer (PC or Mac) you do not need the App – you can connect direct from your browser (Internet Explorer (IE), Safari, Chrome, Firefox etc)

Try to cut out as much background noise as possible!
FAQs will appear here & below

When using the service the on-line interpreter will call the public authority (who will be hearing) by using a headset to listen to what they say so they can sign it to you.

If there is background noise like TVs, washing machines etc, this noise is also heard by the on-line interpreter – that makes it difficult to hear what the hearing person is saying.

Please keep background noise to a minimum if possible.

How long can I use the service for?

Your call will take as long as it takes!

Depending who your are calling the call may take a couple of minutes or a bit longer – most calls take under 5 or 6 minutes on average. Sometimes calls may take longer.

We have to make sure the service is available for other callers – especially if there is a user who wants to make an emergency call!

Is there a cost to this service?

There are no ‘add-on’ charges.

For public sector/authorities – There are no additional call charges to call contactSCOTLAND-BSL – apart from the usual phone call cost.

For Deaf BSL Users – There is no cost to using the service – all you need is to be registered with contactSCOTLAND-BSL, have the appropriate device and an internet connection.

Can I use the App 'when out and about'?

You can use contactSCOTLAND-BSL anywhere you can connect to the internet.

You can connect to contactSCOTLAND-BSL anywhere that is suitable to make a call.

Think about the surroundings and suitability to make a call and don’t forget about privacy!

Please DO NOT use the app when driving!

This is very dangerous and we will not accept calls from anyone who appears to be in control of a vehicle (car, van etc) – we will ‘cut-off’ the call straight away.

Please find a safe place to call back like a lay-by, car park, side of road etc. Remember to turn off your engine!

New phone? New Tablet? - Lost Password?

Forgot your password

… lost the welcome email with your password in it?

You can now go to and insert your ‘username’ or ’email address’ and get a new password

More information here <<<

Want to de-register?

If you want to de-register/cancel access to the app?

To cancel your app registration just send an email to info@contactscotland-bsl asking us to delete your username.

We will need your email address and/or username, first and second name.

You will have to email us from the ‘registered’ email address so we know it is you that’s asking.

Your username/email address and name will be deleted.

If you want to use contactSCOTLAND-BSL again you will have start a new registration process.

Other topics …

Contacting DWP

Sign Video currently provide VRS services to the following DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) departments/benefits:

Attendance Allowance (AA) –

Access to Work (AtW) –

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) –

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) –, and

Employment Support Allowance (ESA) –

Can I use contactSCOTLAND-BSL to contact the emergency services (999)? >BSL Video<

Unfortunately no. You will have to register your sms/mobile number with the emergency service.

To contact the police, ambulance, fire service or coastguard in an emergency? You can do this by registering with the emergency SMS text service. Or you can use your text phone (Minicom etc.) by going through NGT (Typetalk).

More info here:

You can of course use contactSCOTLAND-BSL to contact Police 101

Will this service replace face to face interpreting? >BSL Video<

contactSCOTLAND-BSL has not been created to replace ‘face-to-face’ interpreting services.

contactSCOTLAND-BSL now allows members of the Deaf community to contact public authorities almost immediately. Advances in technology now allows this to happen. Providing equal access to services similar to what hearing people have taken for granted for such a long time.

Face-to-face interpreting will never be replaced by an online service. There will always be a need to have BSL/English Interpreters where Deaf BSL users have to communicate with hearing people and hearing people have to communicate with Deaf BSL users – contactSCOTLAND-BSL may indeed increase this demand as Deaf people control more of their civil and civic rights.

Do contactSCOTLAND-BSL interpreters follow a code of conduct?

Yes – all our on-line interpreters follow a code of conduct

For more information on our code of conduct and information on our service please visit our ‘code of conduct’ page here <<<

sasli   nrcpd


Receiving third party calls and security

contactSCOTLAND-BSL team of online interpreters are highly trained, qualified and experienced.

OFCOM has issued the following guidance’s for services who receive third party calls – wordicon  see attached Ofcom Statement

The ‘statement’ can be viewed on OFCOM’s website here <<<

When an interpreter contacts you they will explain their role and how the service operates.

Organisations may ask the online interpreter for their interpreter registration number, in order to verify that they are who they say they are. Interpreters will be registered with either the Scottish Association of Sign Language Interpreters (SASLI) or the National Registers of Communication Professional working with Deaf Deafblind people (NRCPD), you can confirm their credentials by checking the aforementioned websites or by calling 07970 848 868.

Will the call take longer than other calls?

Calls will be slightly longer

Calls will be going trough a ‘third’ person, the interpreter, so there will be a little extra ‘interpreting’ time to take into consideration – but will not be significantly longer than other caller-to-caller calls.

Who are public bodies & 3rd Sector Organisations?

Who are public bodies & Voluntary Organisations (3rd Sector) that can be contacted?

There are many public bodies in Scotland. They range from local councils, health boards and many more public services.

For a further list please see here <<<

Third (3rd) Sector includes: community groups, voluntary organisations, charities, social enterprises, co-operatives and individual volunteers etc.

The sector is made up of, among other things:

  • 23,700 registered charities, including 163 housing associations
  • 20,000 grassroots community groups, sports and arts clubs
  • Over 3,500 social enterprises
  • 4,000 grant making trusts, funding activities in Scotland and abroad
  • 432 community interest companies
  • 107 credit unions