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Information on Interpreting Services

Please click here for Interpreting Services Out of Hours contact information

To go directly to the NI HSC Interpreting Service section of the site, please click here. (Interpreting Services HSC page needs created to add this in)

Use of Interpreting Services in General Optometry Practice

Why Use an Interpreter?

There are ethical, legal and business reasons for providing an interpreter to a patient who does not speak English as a first or competent second language. Access to an interpreter using one of the approved providers below is free of charge to Health Service patients (not private patients).

Friends, relatives or other persons should not be used as interpreters unless in for very routine administration tasks such as setting up an appointment.

For further information please see the following guidelines:

BSO Guidelines on Working with Interpreters for HSC Staff & Practitioners

Deciding whether to use Telephone or Face to Face Interpreter

Telephone Interpreting Services are provided by The Big Word. Face to Face Interpreters are booked in advance through Northern Ireland Health & Social Care Interpreting Service (NIHSCIS). For guidance on which is appropriate for your patient click on the following link:

Telephone v Face to Face Interpreter

Telephone Interpreting Services: The Big Word

For details on how to access a telephone interpreter, to set up an access code for your practice, for language codes and other tips please refer to the following:

The Big word – Updated guidance and contact details (Nov-19)

Historical Information

How to Access The Big Word Telephone Interpreter Service

Language List

Tips for Using a Telephone Interpreter

Face to Face Interpreting: NIHSCIS

An NIHSCIS face to face interpreter is currently booked by emailing a booking form to . You should give as much notice as possible and NIHSCIS will aim to confirm availability via email 1 week before the appointment.

Optometry Interpreter Booking Form

To book an interpreter Out of Hours please call 028 9056 5656   –   028 9615 8200 (from 11 December 2019).