Health Care Interpreter Service

Health Care Interpreter Service

Booking an Interpreter

For Patients & their Families

Members of public (i.e. patients, their family/friends/carers) are not able to contact HCIS directly to book an interpreter.

The responsibility to book an interpreter lies with a health provider who is seeing a CALD patient.

At the time of making a booking at any of the public health facilities, patients or their family members/friends/carers are encouraged to remind the staff that the patient would  need an interpreter and they need to specify the language/dialect spoken by the patient.

It is also important that patients remind their GP, who refers them to a public hospital, to indicate on their referral that the patient would require an interpreter and to specify the language/dialect.


For Health Professionals

Who is eligible to make Bookings with HCIS?

HCIS is exclusively available to clients from Western Sydney, Nepean Blue Mountains, and Northern Sydney Local Health Districts, the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, St Joseph’s Hospital, a number of non-government organisations as well as some external agencies. Refer to full list of HCIS clients.

You are not eligible to use our Health Care Interpreters if your service is not listed under HCIS Clients. You can enquire about your eligibility by calling HCIS on 9912 3800.


How to Book an Interpreter

Eligible organisations can book a HCIS interpreter by calling, emailing or faxing HCIS as well as through e-orders. Below are some tips on booking an interpreter with WSLHD HCIS:

  • For all urgent requests (appointments on the same or the following day) call 9912 3800.
  • Tell the Customer Service Officer if your appointment is urgent and explain the nature of the emergency.
  • HCIS has a hotline allocated to emergencies. If you work for the Emergency Department, Birth Unit or Intensive Care Unit in any of the LHD hospitals, you would have been provided with the Emergency Hotline number.
  • All non urgent requests can be forwarded via email [email protected] or fax 9840 3789 and they will be confirmed within 24 hours.
  • Western Sydney and Nepean Blue Mountains LHD as well as St Joseph’s Hospital inpatient units can also place e-orders through eMR (electronic Medical Records).
  • When you book an interpreter, be as exact as possible about the language and dialect. Many countries have more than one official language, and many immigrants in Australia have more than one non-English language. To check what language(s) are spoken in a particular country see http://http// . For a full list of over 120 languages that HCIS provides see Languages Available
  • Be as specific as possible, e.g.: 
    • “Bengali” or “Hindi” or “Punjabi” or “Tamil” or “Urdu” NOT “Indian” 
    • "Spanish" or "Portuguese" NOT "South American" 
  • Give your name, position, and contact numbers. If you are visiting a patient at home provide HCIS with your mobile number.
  • Give the exact location of where the interview will be held and the time preferred.
  • Be prepared to negotiate the time and date.
  • Ensure that you book the interpreter at the right time, and that the duration is realistic - including time for briefing and debriefing if this is relevant. Remember it will take a little longer when you are working with an interpreter.
  • If you need an hour, don't accept a half hour appointment and expect the interpreter to stay once they are with you. Negotiate to a day or time when you can book the full hour that you need.
  • Try to co-ordinate as many health care providers as may be needed to give or obtain information from the patient/client. Allow sufficient time for them all. Check interpreter availability with HCIS before confirming the appointment with other health care providers.
  • State any special requirements - for example a male or female interpreter, etc.
  • In case of a home visit, advise HCIS of any possible risks.
  • To arrange an In-Service training session, contact the Professional Development Coordinator or Call Centre Coordinator.
  • If you experience difficulties in arranging bookings, ask to speak to the HCIS Call Centre Coordinator.


It is advisable to give the Health Care Interpreter Service as much notice as possible, due to high demand for health care interpreters. However, we do our best to accommodate all requests for interpreting services.