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Issue:- 26 September 2014

Local sign language interpreter shortlisted for prestigious award

A Liverpool based British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter has been shortlisted for a high profile national award by UK charity and leading awarding body in deaf communications, Signature.

Ray Williams, 24, from Liverpool, has been named as one of four contenders in the Communication Professional of the Year category at the 2014 Signature Annual Awards, in recognition of his contributions to the field of deaf communication and language access services.

The awards honour individuals, organisations and community groups that are striving to break down the barriers of communication between deaf and hearing people.

Ray, whose parents are both deaf, was brought up using both spoken English and BSL. He knew from a young age that he wanted to become a BSL interpreter in order to improve communication between hearing and deaf people.

After spending a year as a Communication Support Worker at a media company in London, which saw him interpret programmes for Channel 5 and CBBC, Ray achieved his goal of qualifying as a Registered Sign Language Interpreter (RSLI) in 2011.

He also wanted to support families similar to his own, so he became heavily involved with the activities of CODA UK and Ireland (Children of Deaf Adults), which provides information, guidance and events for CODAs of all ages. Ray is now a director at CODA UK and Ireland and a board member of CODA International Inc, dedicating his time to interpreting, fundraising and driving the organisation forward.

Ray said that:- "I am incredibly passionate about providing high quality interpreting services to individuals and organisations that need them and breaking down communication barriers. I've been lucky enough to work with hundreds of deaf parents, volunteers and professionals over the last 3 years, and I hope to continue to make a difference in the deaf community. It's an honour and a privilege to be nominated for this award and recognised for the work I do."

Jim Edwards, Signature chief executive, said:- "The Signature Annual Awards is a great opportunity to acknowledge communication professionals like Ray, who is described by his colleagues as being inspirational and motivational. His clients are equally complimentary, highlighting his professionalism, confidence and flexibility. Ray is excellent at what he does and is skilled in interpreting even in heavily technical business environments. Additionally, the fact that CODA UK and Ireland has gone from strength to strength in the time that Ray has been a director is testament to his hard work and commitment."

Ray will join shortlisted entrants in categories such as Organisational Achievement, Community Spirit, Teacher of the Year, Learner of the Year, Young Learner of the Year and Centre of the Year.  The winner will be announced at a prestigious ceremony at Durham Cathedral, on 10 October 2014.

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