Health Care Interpreter Service

Health Care Interpreter Service

Health Care Interpreter Service (HCIS)

Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) Health Care Interpreter Service (HCIS) is the major provider of interpreting and translating services for health care professionals in Western Sydney Local Health District (LHD), Nepean Blue Mountains LHD, Northern Sydney LHD, the Children’s Hospital at Westmead (a part of Sydney Children’s Hospital Network), a number of non-government organisations as well as some external agencies.

The aim of the service is to assist clients from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds access health services by providing professional and confidential interpreting services. The provision of this service assists in facilitating communication between CALD consumers and the health care providers.

Services are available in over 120 languages, including AUSLAN (Australian Sign Language). HCIS employs 52 staff interpreters/translators and has a pool of over 400 sessional interpreters. Health Care Interpreters and Translators are highly trained and accredited by National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) in languages that are available for testing. Where a test is not available, the interpreter’s prior professional experience is taken into consideration and they are granted Recognition by NAATI. Those who speak rare or new emerging languages undertake mandatory comprehensive training through the NSW Health Care Interpreter Service Professional Development Committee (NSW HCIS PDC) . This brings their skills and knowledge to the required competency level. Health Care Interpreters are also competent in the use of medical terminology and bound by a professional Code of Ethics. See AUSIT and ASLIA Code of Ethics.

On-site and telephone interpreting services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In addition, videoconference interpreting is available during core business hours only (Mon-Fri 8:30am-5pm). The full list of services provided by HCIS is provided below.

Our Services 

Health Care Interpreter Service aims to assist CALD clients to access health services by providing:

  • 24 hour on-site interpreting 
  • 24 hour telephone interpreting 
  • Videoconference interpreting (available during core business hours only). 

Other services include:

  • Interpreting at home visits (for health care providers who are visiting their patients/clients at home) 
  • Interpreting for groups in health promotion sessions 
  • Translation of patients’ health related documents 
  • Provision of information regarding clients’ cultural background to health care providers 
  • Orientation training for new Local Health District employees on how to work with interpreters 
  • In-service training sessions on working with interpreters as requested by various service users 
  • Calling clients on behalf of health care providers to advise them of a new appointment or a change to an existing one
  • HCIS also offers work experience placements for TAFE or university students in Interpreting and Translating Courses
  • Training medical students in the second or third year of Medical School is also provided by HCIS Trainers

HCIS has produced a training resource on communicating through interpreters. Check out our DVD “Working with interpreters in the Healthcare Setting”. Full details are available on our Publications page.