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Dionne Marie Thomas

BA (Hons) British Sign Language (2011)
PGDip BSL / English Interpreting & Translation (2013)

“I have been on a very long journey to become a qualified interpreter. I started to learn British Sign Language (BSL) in 1999 at Liverpool Deaf Centre and got hooked! I then progressed through the levels attending UCLan part-time for 3 years before doing an undergraduate degree in BSL from 2007 - 2011. I then continued onto postgraduate study to complete the qualifications for my career in interpreting.

I now work as a fully qualified sign language interpreter and I am also the Director of my own translation business, Diverse Signs Translation Service. The journey has taken over 12 years to become a reality and I had no idea at the start it would take so long or require so much hard work. However, I am a determined person and despite having two children during the course of my studies and working within the Deaf community, I ploughed on to successfully achieve my PGDip in BSL / English Interpreting and Translation."

"I’ll never forget my tutors and lecturers. I have known some of them for over 10 years and they have played a major role in developing not only my practical skills, but they have helped to mould my attitudes towards Deaf people and the issues they face. I have had so much fun with the deaf studies team and I owe everything I have become to their hard work and open hearted nature. I know I haven’t always been the easiest student!

Since graduating I’m really proud to have set up my own business. I’ve learnt how to run, market my business and work with new people. I am totally loving being my own boss and enjoy the challenge of directing my own future. I am open to new ideas and partnerships which makes the future uncertain but also exciting.

My advice to anyone thinking of studying would be to take opportunities that are available, be open to working in new areas and failure makes you stronger. The University offers so much support both during and after study that it would be impossible for nothing good to come out of your time at UCLan. Take up the challenge and see where it takes you.”