ScotRail has teamed up with InterpreterNow to introduce a new British Sign Language (BSL) app to Scotland’s Railway, a first for the UK rail industry.

InterpreterNow is a service that delivers immediate access to online interpreting for deaf BSL users, enabling deaf and hearing people to communicate with each-other.

The service is available via a simple and straight forward app that can be used on both ScotRail staff and customer smartphones.

The pioneering app, launched today (Thursday 30 May), is designed to allow ScotRail to aid deaf customers in any part of their journey, from information on trains during time of disruption to customer queries at stations or ticket offices.

Customers will sign to an interpreter via the app through a video call, who will then relay the customer query to the member of ScotRail staff. The interpreter will then be able to sign the answer back to the customer.

ScotRail Access & Inclusion Manager Andrew Marshall-Roberts said:

“We’re committed to making the railway open and accessible for all, and teaming up with InterpreterNow to launch this new app is just one of the way we’re doing that.
“Customers using BSL as their main form of communication can now have the confidence to travel by rail, knowing our people can help with any query they have in a simple, straightforward way.”

InterpreterNow Operations Director (Scotland) Andy Irvine said:

“We at InterpreterNow are delighted to have been working with ScotRail on this solution.
“Providing access for passengers by means of a simple app, for many may seem trivial, but for those who rely on BSL, can be very reassuring and empowering.
“Just knowing that access in your own language is available throughout your journey is not far off ground-breaking.”

Deafscotland Chief Officer Janis McDonald said:

“deafscotland is pleased to see this collaboration between ScotRail and InterpreterNow and actively support the roll out across all ScotRail activity.
“We have campaigned for access, equality and citizenship for all those affected by deafness, and we see the British Sign Language (Scotland) Act 2015 promoting and supporting British Sign Language development as well as ScotRail’s actions as a huge step towards access and integration through travel.
“We encourage BSL users to register with InterpreterNow and take advantage of this progress and other service providers to consider similar action.”