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To want to be treated like a person and not an inconvenience?

(42 Posts)
teaforthree Tue 18-Jun-13 10:30:13

I am profoundly deaf and use BSL. Booked an appointment last week with the council to sort out a housing benefit issue. They cancel it because the interpreter's not available, so I go this morning.

When I turn up, the interpreter is not even an interpreter, but someone with a level 2 qualification who works there! Its like having an English speaker with a French gcse translating, it's understandable, but it doesn't flow and some words aren't quite translated correctly. Interpreters are expensive so clearly the council wanted to save costs somewhere hmm

When I get to the appointment, the man dealing with my case talks directly to the 'interpreter' and not me. The interpreter tells me about the claim etc, and when I ask to clarify something, she rolled her eyes and started again, not actually answering my point. This happened three or four times. The man and woman then started talking between themselves about what I was meant to do/should do (I can lip read) and when I asked was told 'never mind'.

They just treated me like they thought I was incapable of understanding even the most simplest of instructions, repeating things when I hadn't asked etc. I felt like a primary school child tbh.

IABU to not want to be treated like this and to expect a qualified interpreter?

Purple2012 Tue 18-Jun-13 10:32:44

Yanbu. I regularly see people with someone translating for them. I always speak to the person who has the problem not the person doing the translating. That's just basic manners and decency.

childcarehell Tue 18-Jun-13 10:35:10

Quite simply it's complaint time.

On a practical note, you shouldn't have to do this, but my sister takes our lovely priest who is fluent in BSL with her for very important meetings.

My sister though for her benefits received a letter informing her benefits would be stopped unless she called a number to discuss them...and absolutely no other way of contacting them. You've guessed it, they wouldn't talk to me on the phone for confidentially reasons.

ChunkyPickle Tue 18-Jun-13 10:37:22

YANBU - you need to put in a complaint and suggest that they have some training on dealing with people though an interpreter - they clearly have no idea what they're doing...

You could do everything by post/email (not that you should have to) - but we both know that'll never get anything sorted.

YouTheCat Tue 18-Jun-13 10:38:53

Complain. It's just not on.

1Veryhungrycaterpillar Tue 18-Jun-13 10:40:10

What a humiliating experience tea, YANBU, no one should be treated like that, anyone could lose any of their senses at anytime and should bloody well keep that in mind

CrapBag Tue 18-Jun-13 10:40:25

YANBU. How incredibly rude!!!

Definitely complain. That is not on. I am quite angry for you actually.

SauvignonBlanche Tue 18-Jun-13 10:40:38

Complain, that's not on! angry

Bluebirdonmyshoulder Tue 18-Jun-13 10:44:54

Before you complain look on the council's website for a copy of their "Equality and Diversity" policy. It should be on the website but if not, you can request a copy by emailing the general 'enquiries' email which should be on their "Contact Us" page.

Then you can underline everything that they failed to do! Also find out who is the elected member for equalities and diversity / people with disabilities and cc them into any complaint.

Utterly disgusting behaviour on the part of the council, please do complain.

BabyMakesMyEyesGoSleepy Tue 18-Jun-13 10:51:41

I'm disgusted for you. Complain absolutely. Appalling behaviour.

teaforthree Tue 18-Jun-13 10:55:49

I didn't think I was being unreasonable sad I thought I might have been overreacting though. It's happening in a lot of places now, if I request an interpreter, you get someone who just knows sign and not BSL.

I'm used to being treated like I'm stupid, people really don't understand but for some reason today just felt worse.

I use a minicom because otherwise I would never get anything sorted! It's a bit shit when you try and sort your mobile or bank stuff out in the shop and they ring someone and then hand the phone to you...! confused

Definitely going to complain though, it shouldn't be that hard to treat someone with respect, disability or not.

LunaticFringe Tue 18-Jun-13 10:57:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsApplepants Tue 18-Jun-13 10:59:50

Dreadful. YANBU

dragongirlx Tue 18-Jun-13 20:20:59

teaforthree this is not just rude its discrimination under the Equality Act. I would complain and mention this. The language you requested is BSL not any other form of sign language. They wouldn't provide a cantonese speaker with a translator that only speaks mandarin (I hope). They also need to adress the person not the translator.

childcarehell what happened to your sister is called indirect discrimination and is also illegal. Some councils have been heavily fined for this.

If you get no result complaining contact the equality and human rights commission and report them.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 18-Jun-13 20:23:18


I am really cross on your behalf.

phantomnamechanger Tue 18-Jun-13 20:25:44

That's crap OP, definitely complain.

Have some flowers


GeordieCherry Tue 18-Jun-13 20:26:11

This sounds like illegal discrimination to me. Put a rocket up them OP

CloudsAndTrees Tue 18-Jun-13 20:26:25

That's outrageous!

If you have the energy, complain like you have never complained before.

Maybe one of the larger charities for deaf people would help you put together a powerful complaint, and you should write to your MP as well.

What utter bastards those people were! angry

I'm so sorry you had to deal with this.

Raum Tue 18-Jun-13 20:28:23

They won't improve it unless people complain, do it through your local councillor not the department. Nothing annoys council managers more than a councillor sticking their nose in ! :-)

EllaFitzgerald Tue 18-Jun-13 20:29:54

Definitely an awful way to treat you. Not only would I be complaining about the lack of a suitable interpreter, I'd also be complaining about the attitudes of the staff. They should have a Diversity in the Workplace course and it sounds like they're due a refresher!

TolliverGroat Tue 18-Jun-13 20:30:46

YANBU. It's nice that they have staff who have bothered to get a BSL qualification, but they also need to realise that that's NOT the same thing as being a translator, not in any shape or form. And the man you were seeing ought to know that whatever the language that's being interpreted he always addresses the person he's talking to rather than the interpreter; that's basic training stuff.

teaforthree Wed 19-Jun-13 12:05:26

I've complained smile. Had to send it to the customer services department because I couldn't find what I needed on the website, but hopefully it'll reach the right person. Be interesting to see what they come back with.

I live in a city with the one of the highest concentrations of d/Deaf people and BSL users and it still baffles me how non existent deaf awareness is around here! Hopefully they'll take on board what I've said though.

Thanks for your help thanks

DIYapprentice Wed 19-Jun-13 12:15:24

Op, that's just horrible. I spent a couple of years studying Auslan in Australia, and just like BSL it needs a LOT of study and practice to become fluent in it - I was never more than an enthusiastic amateur and would only ever have tried 'interpret' for someone if there was a dire need for it.

And sign language (as in signed English) just isn't a fluent language, like BSL is. It lacks nuance, subtlety, emotion, etc.

The absolute height of rudeness for them not to talk directly to you.

onedev Wed 19-Jun-13 12:31:27

I'm another who's angry on your behalf - I hope they deal appropriately with your complaint - shocking way to treat anyone. Good luck.

parttimer79 Wed 19-Jun-13 12:42:26

YAabsolutelyNBU. I'm very glad you complained.

Like some others I've worked on a project with people with hearing impairments and would never dream of addressing their interpreter rather than the person I am conducting an interview with, it is utterly rude and inappropriate.

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