Now you're speaking my language

21 Mar 2017

WSLHD Health Care Interpreter service (HCIS) provides more than 110,000 interpreting sessions per year to clients, their families, and health professionals.

There are people who interpret the "top five" languages - Arabic, Mandarin, Cantonese, Persian and Dari.

And there are the people who interpret in less common languages such as Uyghur, Rohingya, Fullah, Lingala and Twi.

Staff at centre

WSLHD HCIS is one of five HCIS in NSW, providing services in 120 languages by 57 staff interpreters and 320 contractors, catering to more than 140 Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities in western Sydney.

WSLHD Health Care Interpreter Service manager Gordana Vasic said the service was recognised as a world leader in community interpreting. 

"NSW HCIS services are structured to ensure 24-hour coverage in all public health facilities in NSW," she said.

"Interpreting is done face-to-face or over the phone, and is crucial in supporting our clinical services," she said.

"I urge all health professionals to book an interpreter through us and decline offers from family members to interpret for their loved ones as it breaches the NSW Health policy."

"85 per cent of interpreting is done face-to-face and 15 per cent over the phone," she said. 

"As the demand for interpreters is growing it is necessary to utilise their services efficiently."

"WSLHD HCIS is proactively working with a number of clinical services on identifying inefficiencies and reducing the wasted time. 

"HCIS is also exploring alternative ways of providing more cost effective services such as video interpreting and phone interpreting."

Within WSLHD, Westmead is the largest user of the service (63%), followed by Auburn (14.4%), Blacktown (9.4%), and Mt Druitt (2.2%). 

The remaining 11 per cent is used by WSLHD community based services.

To book an interpreter call us on 9912 3800, email WSLHD-hcis@health.nsw.gov.au or fax 9840 3789.

This year NSW HCIS will be celebrating a significant milestone - 40 years of serving the culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities of NSW.