Published on: 21 March 2024

Making it easier for our Deaf and hard of hearing customers

Many of us find managing our money tricky. Imagine if you also had to do it in another language. That is what many of our Deaf and hard of hearing customers have to do every day.

So we're proud to be the first building society to launch British Sign Language (BSL) translations of our web pages, in partnership with Signly.

Using Signly, our Deaf customers will now get easier access to essential financial information and support and be able to make more informed decisions.

“British Sign Language is a rich, visual language. The recent BSL Act introduction which legally recognises it as a language of England, Scotland and Wales, and the upcoming launch of the BSL GCSE show progress, but there remain barriers. We recognise that for BSL users, accessible communication formats are not always available, so we are proud to launch this new service as part of our commitment to the Deaf community, to improve access to vital financial information. Crucially, we work with Deaf charities and people with lived experiences to help inform what we do.”

Kathryn Townsend, Head of Customer Accessibility at Nationwide

English is often not a Deaf person's first language

According to the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID), 1 in 5 people in the UK are Deaf or hard of hearing. For many of them, British Sign Language (BSL) - not English – is their primary way of communicating.

BSL is a distinct language with its own vocabulary and sentence structure. This can mean communications written in English are often hard to understand, if not impossible.

Our partnership with Signly will help bridge this communication gap. Together we'll make it easier for Deaf people to understand our products and services and get support in their preferred language.

How to use Signly

Signly needs to be switched on before it can be used. You can turn it on by visiting our online accessibility page on your computer, phone or tablet.

Turn it on and a translator will appear at the bottom of your screen. You can then select, tap or swipe text on a page where a translation is available and it will be signed to you in BSL.

As a first step, our key help and accessibility pages have already been translated. If you're on a page that hasn't been translated yet, the translator will tell you and you can request one.

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