FAQ / Interpretation / FAQ

Translation / Interpretation FAQ

 1.      What language support services are available to your cutomers?

We provide a telephone interpreting service, which includes over 240 languages 24 hours a day; this connects users to a professionally qualified interpreter using a phone.

Whilst telephone interpreting is a quick, easy and on-demand service to use, there are certain complex and sensitive appointments that the face-to-face interpreting service may be more appropriate for.

All documents can also be translated from/into more than 200 languages.

The Trust has access to 233 BSL interpreters.

We also have access to REMOTE interpreting, giving you access to video interpreting in all spoken languages and BSL. (British Sign Language)

2.      Is there a guideline or protocol for language support services?

 There is no formal written policy in relation to language support services at Language Direct. However there is a detailed page that is available to all with guidance on how to access services.

3.      Where in the world are the interpreters based?

We care for the environment, the carbon foot print and the rest of the bad things we humans do to mother earth when we travel. Hence Face-to-face interpreters (including BSL) are recruited as locally as possible.

We also believe in keeping UK jobs within UK for people from UK. Hence even the remote / telephone and video interpreters are all recruited within the country. Additionally, foreign interpreters might be great with the languages, but they will never be the same with the our local English accent, vocab and the rest of it.

4.      Are there any restrictions on the amount of interpreters used at appointments?


5.      Do you service interpreting requirements in-house or do you outsource to a third party company?

Language Direct never outsources to a third party.

6.       How many languages do you translate patient information into?

 240+ languages available for translations

7.       What training do interpreting services staff have, both before being hired and throughout their employment?

All interpreters used by the Trust have been tested, verified and security cleared by our supplier. The supplier operates a rigorous recruitment and testing process.

Applicants are required to meet one or more of the below criteria or an equivalent in order to begin the face-to-face interpreter recruitment process:

  • Hold an industry recognised accreditation, for example NRPSI (National Register of Public Sector Interpreters), DPSI (Diploma for Public Service Interpreting), Community Level Interpreting, Met Police Test
  • Be a full member of one of the leading associations such as the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) or Institute of Linguists (IoL)
  • Hold a first or postgraduate degree (or equivalent academic qualification) in Interpreting
  • Hold a first or postgraduate degree in the relevant language
  • Demonstrate at least two years of interpreting experience The supplier also ensures that all linguists:
  • Are native speakers of the target language where possible
  • Have demonstrated the ability to interpret into the mother tongue in a style and register appropriate to the subject
  • Possess a thorough knowledge of NHS and healthcare institutions, culture, attitude and practices and those of the target audience

In order for telephone interpreting candidate to be considered for work with the supplier, the organisation typically requires the linguist to have a minimum of two years professional experience and a college or post graduate degree. The supplier recognises a range of professional qualifications and memberships as part of its recruitment and selection process for telephone interpreters. These include:

  • DPSI (Diploma for Public Service Interpreting)
  • Community Level Interpreting
  • Metropolitan Police Test
  • First or postgraduate degree in interpreting
  • First or postgraduate degree in the relevant language
  • Federal court certification (US)
  • Consortium states court certification (US)
  • Membership of the NRPSI (National Register of Public Sector Interpreters)
  • Membership of one of the leading associations such as the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) or Institute of Linguists (IoL)

Recognition of previous qualifications and experience forms the basis for the comprehensive, multi- stage selection process. Face-to-face and telephone interpreting candidates who meet the initial qualification and experience requirements are required to take part in a structured process which includes:

  • Detailed interview designed to test the candidate’s English language skills
  • A formal Interpreter Skills Assessment, testing all aspects of target language and interpreting skills

Candidates who are successful at both stages are then invited to complete an induction stage which includes training on a broad range of key elements of interpreting, including technical interpreting skills, customer service skills, conduct, responsibilities and administration.

All interpreters are security cleared by an independent professional agency before commencing any work.

Ongoing coaching, mentoring and quality monitoring also form part of the ongoing management of interpreters.

8.       What language services have you provided during the COVID19 pandemic?

Telephone interpreting was our main method of interpreting, and video interpreting was made available for those requiring sign language and remote consultations.

9.       What is your fill rate of requests coming in over all services?

Language Direct boasts of nearly 100 % fill rate. Thanks to our vast number and geographical spread of professional linguists we have recruited the last 25 years. The exact number is not recorded.