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What is a Cued Speech Transliterator (CST)?

To ‘transliterate’ means to represent a language – eg English, in a different ‘mode’ eg visually, through cueing it, rather than orally through speaking it.  This is different from ‘interpreting’ which is representing a first language in a second separate language.

Cued Speech Transliterators are people with a high level of fluency in Cued Speech who are trained to give equal access to English (or another spoken language) for a deaf child or adult.  They will silently repeat with cues the spoken message of the people around the deaf person.  Their role is to make sure that all the auditory information (including environmental sounds such as phones ringing) that a hearing person would be receiving is made visually accessible to the deaf person through Cued Speech.


This can be done verbatim and at a speed to match the speaker’s style and pace or it can be adapted to match the receptive skills of the deaf person as appropriate, for example, some may require a slower delivery or only certain words clarified visually.

Educational professionals such as learning support assistants can often add transliterating skills and qualifications to their role.

The Transliterator should comply with a professional code of practise in the same way that other communication professionals do such as spoken or sign language interpreters.

Full access to English is vital for young deaf children learning language, and Cued Speech will give that access in nurseries, pre-schools and schools.  Using a CST can be equally important at the other end of the learning spectrum as shown by an assignment to support a student at a university open day in a physics department.  The CST could represent the physics jargon and concepts (without understanding them herself) without difficulty, and could support the student as the group walked around the university site.  The student had full access at all times.  No other support could have provided this.